Via Aeterna, on the way to Mont-Saint-Michel

In the constellation of festivals organized by René Martin (Les Folles Journées in Nantes and in the regions, and its variations around the world, La Roque-d’Anthéron, the Grange de Meslay), Via Aeterna occupies a unique place. To the initial project proposed by the Bayard group at Mont-Saint-Michel, the organizer preferred another configuration. A demanding and popular event in a multitude of surrounding villages, distilled over three weekends, which converges on the last day at the summit of Mont-Saint-Michel. In imitation of the path of the “miquelots”, the pilgrims who, for centuries, have been heading towards the abbey surmounted by the golden statue with a flaming sword, the ultimate goal of their long journey.

“Mont-Saint-Michel, you can see it from everywhere, justifies the organizer. It stands like a majestic landmark, shining in the sky like a star. The festival turns around before reaching it, its final destination. We approach it, like an intimate, personal quest, like a pilgrimage. » René Martin does not hide that he is a Christian, nor that he loves sacred music, with the desire to share it in majestic places. For its 5th edition, Via Aeterna has previously migrated to eleven towns and several churches, from Granville to Cancale on the coast, from Pontorson to La Lucerne-d’Outremer inland.

An exceptional quality of silence

“We have the privilege of accessing lost places that enjoy an exceptional quality of silence. » Among these, the Premonstratensian abbey, one of the oldest, of La Lucerne-d’Outremer, now restored. An architectural gem from the 12th century, a setting for a sumptuous concert with the Ricercar Consort by Philippe Pierlot, around the works of Buxtehude. To the great joy of Father Guillaume Antoine, the new rector, in charge of the material and spiritual restoration of the place. “Sacred music, he points out, remains the oldest and largest repertoire. It is a major challenge today to pass on this immense heritage which continues to grow. »

René Martin programs the 26 concerts of Via Aeterna, taking into account the acoustics of the premises. La Lucerne-d’Outremer, the old stud farms of Avranches, the various churches in the region, the priory of Ardevon, with their wooden barrel framing, before the majestic height of the abbey church of Mont-Saint-Michel . At the end of Saturday’s concert at the priory of Ardevon, Maryline Orvain and Jacqueline Mell, two faithful spectators, expressed their enthusiasm. “This festival, very varied, very accessible, does good after the pandemic. It brightens up our fall in magical places. And what a pleasure to see these artists come to us. » Enthusiasm shared by the musicians: “Via Aeterna offers us the opportunity to discover extraordinary places, the passion of the public, attentive, warm, and the wonderful welcome of volunteers”testifies cellist Astrig Siranossian.

Hundreds of volunteers

At this time when all sectors of activity are going through a recruitment crisis, there is nothing like mobilizing local energies. Arnaud Parent, consultant in human resources in the civilian sector, leads this legion of a hundred volunteers. “Not everyone is a music lover, he insists, but all are sensitive to the gift that these exceptional concerts represent at home, in such close proximity to the artists. They so often have the feeling of being far from everything. »

According to him, their motivation is linked to the attachment to these exceptional places. ” In our region, he said, the stones have been singing for thirteen centuries. » Via Aeterna perpetuates this tradition of sacred song in a land from which the “micelots” once left enriched with this celestial food. The spectators of Via Aeterna follow in their footsteps.

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