The 52-year-old Belgian hopes the festival will become a major international opera venue. He told Bloomberg that Aix will inaugurate its new 1,400-seat theater next year with Wagner's Die Walkure, staged by Stephane Braunschweig and conducted by Simon Rattle. The 2007 lineup, of which two-thirds is set, will also include Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro with Daniel Harding conducting.
Aix-en-Provence will continue to highlight Mozart operas, says Foccroulle. He also plans to add Baroque and contemporary works, and perhaps commission an opera by George Benjamin, according to Bloomberg.
Foccroulle takes over from Stephane Lissner, who was responsible for this year's programming. The 2006 festival, which runs from July 2-22, opens with a Wagner's Das Rheingold staged by Braunschweig and conducted by Simon Rattle. Other productions this summer include Mozart's The Magic Flute and The True Story of P_richole, based on Offenbach's opera.
Foccroulle, who was appointed president of Opera Europa in January, was head of Brussels's La Monnaie/De Munt opera house for 14 years. He has also had an active career as an organist, making more than 30 recordings and performing as soloist and as a member of Ricercar Consort.