Open-air musical performances of works by Mozart and Jean-Jacques Rousseau will be staged on St Peter's Island on Lake Biel from August 3 to September 8. The performances will highlight Rousseau's forgotten musical talents and his influence on the young Austrian composer.
Although he was a celebrated composer, Rousseau is remembered more for his influence on political and religious thought in the 18th century than for his musical talent.
The back-to-back performances of Rousseau's opera, Le Devin du Village (village fortune teller), and Mozart's Bastien und Bastienne, composed 16 years later in 1768, highlight the impression Rousseau made on the teenage Mozart.
Le Devin du Village is the story of a love affair between two peasants, who, after being separated, are reunited by the fortune teller. Some of the arias Mozart wrote in Bastien und Bastienne detail the extent to which he was influenced by Rousseau's work.
A number of exhibitions relating to Rousseau and St Peter's Island, where he spent a summer in exile, will accompany the performances.
Much of the island is a protected nature reserve, reached by a long land bridge. Rousseau described the two months he spent there in 1765 as the "happiest time of my life".
The room in which he stayed at the island hotel has been set up as a memorial.