From 15 October until 31 December 2022, the Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Group is inviting you to go behind the scenes of unforgettable shows in an exhibition exploring a century of concerts: Monaco On Stage – 100 Years Of Concerts.
To celebrate this exhibition, in the Quai Antoine I Exhibition Hall in Monaco’s port, we look back at 100 years of concerts in the Principality.
A project led by Alex Jaffray, composer, producer and music journalist, and Rudy Sabounghi, for the exhibition design.
It is impossible to ignore the love story between Monaco and music. This special relationship has seen Monaco host performance after performance, each more magnificent than the last.
Over the years, with its eclectic and original programming of concerts and shows, the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Group has contributed to developing art and culture in the Principality.
From Frank Sinatra to Mariah Carey, via Nina Simone and Charles Aznavour, many international stars have appeared in the Salle des Étoiles, at the Opéra Garnier Monte-Carlo or on the New Place du Casino.
Over more than a century, Monaco’s iconic stages have been a place for sharing, exchange and cultural discovery.
The greatest stars of all time
The most creative names on the international music scene have appeared on Monaco’s iconic stages. Mika, Rihanna, Jamiroquai, Elton John, Tina Turner and Johnny Hallyday are just some of those to have honoured Monaco with their presence. Through their extravagance, sheer emotion or stage sets, each artist has made their own mark on the history of stage shows in Monaco.
In particular, the Sporting has hosted some legendary and unforgettable performances, like when Diana Ross made her stage entrance twice as she didn’t have the attention of the entire room. The dinner service hadn’t yet finished and, to the amazement of the whole room, she preferred to turn around and make her entrance again.
It is impossible to speak of the greatest performances on Monaco’s stages without mentioning guitar heroes like Lenny Kravitz, Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Neil Young and Billy Gibbons. Their signature sounds have shaken the walls of Monaco’s most beautiful concert halls.
Jean-René Palacio, the former Artistic Director of the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Group, programmed many artists who then gave him their guitars. Five of the guitars from his collection have been generously loaned for the exhibition Monaco On Stage – 100 Years Of Concerts.
In nearly a century of unforgettable musical experiences in Monaco, disco balls have also glittered brightly. Among the greatest artists of the golden age of disco who have appeared on Monte-Carlo’s stages are Nile Rodgers, Donna Summer, Barry White, The Pointer Sisters, Kool and the Gang, Earth Wind and Fire and even the Jackson 5.
Monaco's dressing rooms have welcomed the greatest international stars, divas and crooners, and are brimming with memories from welcoming the greatest stars up close before they stepped out under the spotlights. At Moods, some artists would draw graffiti on the walls of their dressing room before their concerts.
The history of jazz in Monaco began in the 1950s when Aimé Barelli, the conductor, composer, singer and jazz trumpeter, moved to Monaco. Before an international audience, he played each evening at the Cabaret of the Casino Monte-Carlo and the Sporting Monte-Carlo.
From that moment on, jazz has been on the concert programme at the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Group.
It was Jean-René Palacio, the Artistic Director of the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Group for 20 years, who in 2006 introduced jazz at the Opéra Monte-Carlo when he created the Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival.
Over the last century, the instruments, rhythms and songs have evolved to create the diverse styles that we have today. Jazz is as popular in Monaco today as ever before. Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Joss Stone and Lauryn Hill are some of the contemporary names and Jazz Queens who have appeared in Monaco.
Over the last century, the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Group has welcomed the greatest stars to Monaco, thanks to its exceptional programming of concerts and shows in the most beautiful settings in Monaco, such as the Salle des Étoiles, Opéra Garnier Monte-Carlo and the New Place du Casino, unmissable venues for evenings in Monaco. On Monte-Carlo’s stages, there are no crowds or pyrotechnics. Instead, the proximity between the artists and the audience makes for intimate experiences.
Throughout the year Monaco is dancing to the beat of the many concerts which take place in its most beautiful venues. Big international stars have appeared here, some many times. Here is a non-exhaustive selection of the artists who had so much fun they came back to Monaco.