In Ajaccio, the year 2021 will be Napoleonic or it will not be.
While the upheavals of the pandemic plunge the world of culture into complete uncertainty, the imperial city is preparing to celebrate with great pomp the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon.
Read also: Almost two centuries after the death of Napoleon, the imperial epic still fascinates
This commemoration sounded obvious, as the city which saw the birth in 1769 of “Napoleone Buonaparte” still bears
“the indelible imprint”
of its passage, according to its mayor Laurent Marcangeli.
The evidence is nevertheless jostled by the multiple restrictions and the lack of visibility faced by the municipality in establishing its program of celebrations.
"We should have tied everything up and announced for at least two months, but we didn't want to have to cancel everything at the last minute,"
sighs the city councilor.
In addition to shows and conferences, several events must mark festivities this year.
The restored version of
, the film by Abel Gance, expected in November, should thus be presented in preview in the imperial city.
The celebrations of May 5, the anniversary of the Emperor's death, could be articulated around a re-creation of the
“return of the ashes”
and a concert by the Ensemble Matheus, under the direction of the conductor. Jean-Christophe Spinosi.
The orchestra hopes to be able to
“paint the portrait of the Emperor in music”
, focusing on the pivotal year 1809, which marks the end of the Austrian campaign.
All of these events, it is said, are supposed to be videotaped.
Sign that the doubt still reigns on the possibility for the public to attend.
The virus has also pushed the town hall to review its method:
“We work as if everything was going to take place.
Then we set deadlines, every month, and then every two weeks, to see if we amend the program or if we cancel an event ”.
A "weapon of mass attractiveness"
A "weapon of mass attractiveness"
The stake is more important than it seems for the municipality.
“Napoleon's first stop is in Ajaccio.
We must use this as a political and heritage weapon ”
, claims the mayor.
In this city where the economic weight of tourism represents nearly a third of the resources, the attractions around Napoleon are generally acclaimed by vacationers, with positive spinoffs for the surrounding businesses.
At the time of the coronavirus,
“the weapon of massive attractiveness”
could well lose its strike force.
Last year already, the town hall was forced to cancel the traditional
Last year, the Napoleonic days had to be canceled.
Pascal Pochard-Casabianca / AFP
The health crisis has also led to the closure of Ajaccian museums.
The Palais Fesch and the Maison Bonaparte have nevertheless planned to present exhibitions this year in connection with the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon.
“We act as if.
Otherwise we don't do anything ”
, confides Jean-Marc Olivesi, curator of Maison Bonaparte, where the Eagle was born.
This will notably be the scene of an exhibition devoted to the importance of the ancient model in the artistic and political language of the Empire, developed in partnership with the Fesch library.
Part of the heritage collection of this library should also be digitized and put online this year, on the model of the Gallica platform of the National Library of France.
In the longer term, the municipality is preparing an ambitious museographic project dedicated to the child of the country, within the walls of the town hall.
, assures the mayor, which will combine new technologies and pieces of history in a didactic course.
If the project has fallen behind due to the pandemic, it is still relevant.
And no question that it turns to Bérézina ...
Cinema, theater, music ... The student journalists of
IPJ, the Practical Institute of Journalism of the University of Paris Dauphine
, offer their perspective on cultural news.