The debut in Spain of the young Korean pianist, only 19 years old, Yunchan Lim; the oratorio for five voices San Giovanni Battista by Alessandro Stradella, with the countertenor Xavier Sabata, and the choir and orchestra of the Royal Opera of Versailles are some of the protagonists of the second edition of the Peralada Easter festival, which will be held between on March 28 and 30.
A competition that, as the president of the Festival and the Castell de Peralada Foundation, Isabel Suqué Mateu, recalled today, "came to stay" and wants to contribute to "reinforcing the cultural offer on the Costa Brava outside the summer season".
The event, which closed a year ago with 95% occupancy, wants to be a meeting point between the public and artists, creators or composers, promoting international debuts without giving up the commitment to home values, which have the Peralada seal, according to recalled the director of the contest, Oriol Aguilà.
An example of this "reciprocal fidelity" with the festival is the tandem formed by the countertenor Xavier Sabata and the pianist Dani Espasa, who will be protagonists of the inaugural concert of this second Easter edition that will start on Thursday, March 28 at the Carme church. .
The Baroque formation Vespres d'Arnadí, under the musical direction of Dani Espasa, together with countertenor Xavier Sabata and the voices of Giulia Semenzato, Marta Almajano, Luigio De Donato and Juan Sancho will bring the oratorio for five voices to the festival for the first time, San Giovanni Battista by Alessandro Stradella.
A work that was premiered successfully in 1675, although it quickly fell into oblivion. It was not until the 1940s when the score was rescued and among the notable voices that performed it, the soprano María Callas stood out in the role of Salomé.
Now it is presented for the first time in Peralada. One of the alma pater of this inaugural concert, Xavier Sabata, in the role of San Giovanni Battista, thanked the festival for allowing him to "recover pearls that are hardly put in concert or on stage." Sabata highlights the "great interpretive palette" that allows him to bring out his character, with a "clear dramatic evolution" as well as the "complexity of the music, of great beauty."
A work, San Giovanni Battista by Alessandro Stradella, which Sabata assures has "never been performed in Catalonia and I would say not in the entire Peninsula in modern times," he noted.
Baroque music will continue the next day with the performance of Stabat Mater, by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, a work composed in 1736. The work, which had an immediate success, became the most edited and printed composition of the 18th century and seduced many musicians. who adapted it.
One of them was Sebastian Bach, who made a new version to adapt it to the Lutheran liturgy between the years 1744 and 1746 to which he added a voice. Under the musical direction of Daniel Tarrida, the work that will be heard in March in Peralada rescues that version that the German genius made of Pergolesi's work.
The performance will be performed by the Salvat Beca Bach soloists, Maëlys Robinne (soprano) and Lara Morger (alto) and will feature the Bachcelona Consort instrumental ensemble, which brings together musicians of different nationalities residing in Barcelona. The program also includes other religious cantatas by Bach.
The event will also host the absolute premiere of Tenebrae Responsoria, by the Reus composer Joan Magrané, a commission from the festival. A project that fuses vocal and instrumental music that has the involvement of Francesc Prat, under the baton of the Gio Symphonia, Pau Codina, on cello and soprano Maria Hinojosa.
"We have taken a baroque cliché and brought it to our times," says Magrané, who years ago pondered putting music to the responsories of Thursday, Friday and Holy Saturday, or doing it only with one of the three days.
The show is part of the 'Vespres de Tenebres' label that the festival premiered last year, a proposal that Oriol Aguilà recalls is also here to stay. "Every Good Friday we will have Vespres de Tenebres," he says.
One of the sensational pianists of the moment, the young Korean Yunchan Lim, who at only 18 years old became the youngest winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, held in Texas, will make his debut in Spain at this festival. During his performance on March 30, he will perform Les Études by French composer Frédéric Chopin.
The closing of the festival will be performed by the choir and orchestra of the Royal Opera of Versailles, which will transfer to the Carme church part of the experience that is lived during Holy Week in Versailles. Under the musical direction of Chloé de Guillebon and the solo voices of Lili Aymonino and Johanna Amzal and the choir of the Royal Opera, the French ensemble will perform a program that includes works by François Couperin, Louis-Nicolas Clérambault and Marc-Antoine Charpentier.
The castle gardens are incorporated this year as the setting for the programming and will host the family-friendly Cercant show in the spring, a show that combines the Easter tradition with art and dance.
Some giant rabbits created by the Australian artist Amanda Parer, a specialist in large sculptures and lighting elements, will be the backdrop of a party, aimed at all audiences by the CobosMika dance company that will make attendees dance to the rhythm of the Consecration of Stravinsky's spring. A show "with a final surprise" as explained by its promoters.