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Given its rapid growth, St Prex Classics sought a way to open the festival to an even larger public, while preserving the natural splendor of the Vieux Bourg setting. The challenge was to combine this listed medieval monument with a contemporary design for an open-air extension, that could be covered if necessary, and which maintained the existing intimate and extraordinarily stimulating atmosphere for performers. In collaboration with the EPFL, St Prex Classics conceived ‘Luna’, an ideal solution in which technological innovation and historical heritage are in perfect harmony. Thanks to the support of Vale International SA, this new architectural emblem has been inaugurated on August 23 2012.


From its launch, St Prex Classics has experienced extraordinary growth. While in 2006 the budget was 200,000 Swiss francs, this year it will exceed one million. In 2006, 160 tickets went on sale, but there will be 9302 for the coming edition. Looking for a way to satisfy this extraordinary public interest, the festival’s organizers turned to the EPFL, which was how ‘Luna’ was born. The new structure makes it possible to welcome more spectators while allowing St Prex Classics to stay faithful to the enchanting Vieux Bourg and to continue showcasing this national heritage site.


‘Luna’ also has the advantage of offering the performers more space. This allows young talents to develop by playing with a big orchestra, and dancers to carry out technically demanding routines even when sharing the stage with musicians. This will be the case this year, when superstar Svetlana Zakharova will dance to the music of Vadim Repin violin.


The ‘Luna’ stage structure is in two parts. The first, which is in the open, is made up of a 17-meter-wide stage with tiered wooden seating for 700 spectators, based on the Ancient Greek Epidaure theatre famous for its exceptional acoustics. Hanging above the structure is a revolutionary, 25-meter-wide dome. This second part of the design can be suspended at up to 50 meters above the stage, but in the event of bad weather, it can be lowered to protect performers and public. Visible from far around, this ‘moon’ has becomed the architectural emblem of not only St Prex Classics, but of the whole region.


The study carried out by the EPFL cost 20,000 Swiss francs and the construction of ‘Luna’ 2.75 million. This sum was raised in just 6 months – an extraordinary feat – thanks to the contribution of Vale International SA, the principal backer of this spectacular stage setting, together with the Romande Lottery and the OAK Foundation.


Without doubt ‘Luna’ has given new impetus to the St Prex Classics. The festival is becoming THE late-summer cultural and artistic gathering on the shores of Lake Leman, bringing fresh vitality to the whole region around Saint-Prex. The local authorities (the Saint-Prex district, ARCAM and the Vaud canton) got it right and they have all decided to support generously the development and professionalization of the event.


Vale International SA has been St Prex Classics’s main partner since its launch in 2006. Today, as the main backer of the ‘Luna’, Vale is enabling St Prex Classics to move into a different dimension. By choosing to support such an emblematic project for the region, Vale wants to work “towards leaving a durable cultural heritage for future generations,” according to Renato Neves, chairman of Vale International SA.


Hazeline van Swaay, founder and director of the festival, says she is “delighted that an international company of the size of Vale, based in Saint-Prex, has made it possible for St Prex Classics to grow. Vale is sending out a strong signal, and, I hope, will inspire other members of the business community to do the same for the region’s development.”

Communications sur Luna :


Photomontages ©Studio Tanuki

Pictures ©Gregory Batardon

Side view ©EPFL/ALICE