On Monday February 6th the pupils of the "4ème 3 class" of the Gustave Flaubert secondary school in Paris' 13th arrondissement, in the first year of the Dix mois d’Ecole et d’Opéra programme, met Philippe Fénelon at the Palais Garnier. It was an opportunity for them to ask him questions about his career as a composer and his current work at the Paris Opera: La Cerisaie (The Cherry Orchard). During this rich exchange the children expressed what the idea of a Cherry Orchard represented for them.
« My heritage is my past. My story has made me strong. Thanks to my
heritage I have become who I am. My plot of land is our home. I will
always have a place to go because my plot is a gift from my great
grandmother whom I never knew and who gave me my second Christian name.
The finest gift I can offer my children is my love, my strength, a home
and the history of my family which will become their history. I shall
speak to them about women, and yet more women since it women that
brought me up and taught me all I know. »
« My Cherry Orchard is Africa, a poor yet happy country where people love their lives in spite of suffering. »
« I shall never forget one of the most beautiful places in the world, one of the forests towards the south of the Congo and the pleasure of seeing my great-great-grandmother offering me a necklace that had been in the family for more than five generations and that I am proud to wear and pass on to my children and the future generations. »
Elizangela Dos Santos
« My Cherry Orchard is the place I go every year, Brittany, where all my family has always come together and where we always shall. It's where I feel happy and I often think about it. »