Lausanne offers infinite cultural attractions
An exhibition on Van Gogh, a wild night to the sounds of Bob Sinclar, electronic rhythms under the stars, a new theatre production … in Lausanne, culture is present in all its forms throughout the whole year. The diverse and eclectic mix of venues and artistic events bears comparison with major European cities.
From Bach to Joey Starr
Music has pride of place in Lausanne and finds expression here in all of its forms.The Lausanne Opera, currently directed by Frenchman Eric Vigié, is undergoing extensive renovation and is delivering its programme at the Théâtre de Beaulieu for the 2011-2012 season.The Lausanne Chamber Orchestra (OCL), a mascot of the Lausanne Opera, enjoys an international reputation thanks to directors of high prestige such as Victor Desarzens (its founder), Armin Jordan, Lawrence Foster, Jesus Lopez Cobos, and its current artistic director Christian Zacharias. As well as its concerts in the Salle Métropole, the orchestra performs all over Switzerland and Europe. The OCL is not slow to embrace other expressions of music, having collaborated most notably with the famous Le Mad club for a blend of classical and electronic music.
Every dedicated clubber is familiar with Le Mad, situated in the avant-garde Flon district. This warehouse, decorated with a giant pink condom 6 metres in diameter, has dominated Lausanne nightlife since the 1980s. A veritable institution, which has introduced the Vaudois capital to acid house, Le Mad plays host to the greatest electro DJs of the moment, from Bob Sinclar to Ricardo Villalobos.
A stone’s throw from the Flon, Les Docks welcomes a procession of international groups and numerous French artists such as Julien Doré, Joey Starr, Sinsemilia and Miossec.
With some sixty venues, the heart of Lausanne beats to the rhythms of electro, hip-hop, jazz, rock, pop and salsa every night.
From tears to laughter
Around thirty venues in Lausanne are filled with dramatic expression. The Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne offers nearly 600 performances a year, not only its own productions presented in Lausanne and abroad, but also co-productions with a large number of European partners in keeping with its identity as an “Espace Théâtral Européen” (European Theatre Space).
New performance venues appear on a regular basis. The Lido Comedy and Club – a former town-centre cinema – recently opened its doors to French and English-speaking comedians for the first part of the evening, then gives the floor to resident DJs during the second part.
Capital of dance
Lausanne brings together all the strands of dance: from teaching – with 40 schools – to retraining, with distribution and production in between. Companies of international renown such as The Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Cie Philippe Saire, Cie Linga and Marchepied stage their own productions or interpret more classical pieces of choreography throughout the year, both in Switzerland and abroad.
International exhibitions and contemporary galleries
Museum provision in Lausanne is spread over more than 20 themed museums and several dozen galleries, some of which have moved into former warehouses in the Flon district and been converted into places of art and life by various designers and architects.
Among the museums whose renown transcends the borders of Switzerland, mention must be made of The Hermitage Foundation and its 600 works of art, The Elysée museum of photography, which often collaborates with The Swiss Film Archive based in Lausanne, and The Collection de l’Art Brut.
Given the city’s status as Olympic Capital, The Olympic Museum remains a must-see attraction with 200,000 admissions a year. It has moved until autumn 2013 – the amount of time needed for extensive refurbishment – to a Belle Epoque ship moored opposite the museum.
Culture within reach of everyone
Lausanne can be proud of the number of festivals it has on offer. Lausanne Estivale, which is held from mid-June to mid-September, is a free entertainment extravaganza with over 450 events, including dance, music, theatre, cinema, comedy, tours and unusual walks.
Unique in Europe, The Festival de la Cité is a programme of free open-air multicultural shows that brings together lovers of music, drama, comedy, dance and the visual arts for a whole week (end of June).
Numerous other festivals take place throughout the year, such as The Les Printemps Festival (contemporary dance), The For Noise Festival (modern music), Electrosanne (electro music), BD-FIL, The Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival, The JazzOnze+ Festival,
Metropop (modern music), The Lausanne Bach Festival and Les Urbaines (contemporary artistic creations).
Cultural provision in Lausanne is continually fed by talented young people who are fortunate enough to be able to pursue high-quality courses of study in the capital of Vaud, whatever their form of artistic expression. Let us mention here the leading schools, which are The Rudra-Béjart School for dance,
The Manufacture theatre school, The University of Art and Design (ECAL), The Lausanne Conservatory, The Lausanne University of Music (HEMU) and The School of Jazz and Contemporary Music (EJMA).
Editor: Newcom Partners Lausanne - Aurélie Moeri