The Auditorium of Lyon Turns Brexit into Music

Published: 2018/04/25

The ONL’s 2018-2019 Season Shapes Up to an Eclectic Mix


For its 2018-2019 season, the Auditorium of Lyon has an eclectic program ranging from traditional classics to James Bond and Star Wars, and even a nod to Brexit.


The director of the Auditorium of Lyon announced during the 2018-19 season presentation on Tuesday, April 24 that a special concert will be held on the occasion of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

the Auditorium of Lyon by Part Dieu

The Auditorium of Lyon is preparing for its 2018-2019 season, complete with odes to Brexit and James Bond. ©David Duchon-Doris

“It’s a loving approach, with a little humor. It’s about saying goodbye to our British friends, but not so long, not forever,” said Aline Sam-Giao, the concert hall’s director since 2017.*

A few days after the official date of the UK’s exit from the EU scheduled for March 29, 2019, the National Orchestra of Lyon will give two performances (April 4 and 6) of a concert called “Brexit!

Under the direction of the young English conductor Ben Glassberg and Austrian cellist Kian Soltani, the orchestra will play Tomas Adès’s “But All Shall Be Well;” the cello concerta of Edward Elgar, a composer beloved in Britain but played much too little in France; and the overture of Hector Berlioz’s “Béatrice and Benedict,” taken from Shakespeare.

“The concert will end with Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony, at the end of which the musicians will stop playing progressively, as they leave the stage one by one,” said Sam-Giao.

This program is a nod to the Auditorium’s former artistic director, Christian Thompson, a native of Great Britain.

The Auditorium of Lyon concert hall

The 2018-2019 season will include 168 concerts from the great classics to the modern day. ©David Duchon-Doris

The ONL brass and percussion ensemble will also give a concert called “Brass save the Queen,” on March 17 at the Radiant-Bellevue, as part of the Brexit program. It is a 100% British presentation to sum up three centuries of music, from baroque to musicals (Händel, Langford, Elgar, Hazell), and pay tribute to the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.

During the 168 concerts scheduled for 2018-2019, the Auditorium will pay tribute to said classical composers like Berlioz and Haydn. But the Auditorium still possesses an “eclectic” program, “with the desire to surprise and innovate, always under the requirement of quality.”

For the Fête des Lumières (December 6-8) the ONL will turn to the music of James Bond films (Monty Norman, John Barry, Bono, Duran Duran…).

In January and February, the Auditorium will host a Star Wars film concert with a screening of “A New Hope” and “The Empire Stikes Back,” with John Williams’s “in vivo” music played by the ONL.

Located at the foot of the Part-Dieu tower, the Auditorium of Lyon attracts 237,000 spectators each year.


*quotes have been translated from French