The programme for the 31st Castell de Peralada Festival has been announced; an edition with 23 shows to be staged between 6 July and 17 August.
Once again, the Festival showcases its passion for dance. The Béjart Ballet Lausanne will be opening on 6 July with a performance that the Swiss company has created to pay tribute to its former maestro and founder to mark ten years since his death. The ballet Beauty and the Beast by Malandain Ballet Biarritz, with live music from Tchaikovsky's score by the Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi, comes to the Catalan stage for the first time. Straight from Havana, the festival will close with the début in Spain of Carlos Acosta's new Cuban company, Acosta Danza.
This year, the Festival hosts three operas. The premiere in Spain of Dido and Aeneas by Purcell, in a semi-staged version, by prestigious Paul Agnew directing the 22nd Ambronay European Baroque Academy. The world première of the new opera by composer Alberto García Demestres, La Straordinaria vita di Sugar Blood in concert version, and the première in Spain of a new Madame Butterfly with stage direction by Joan Anton Rechi, in a co-production with the Deutsche Opera am Rhein. A new opera staging that comes to Peralada with a star line-up headed by Ermonela Jaho (Cio-Cio-San), Bryan Hymel (B.F. Pinkerton) and Carlos Álvarez (Sharpless). Gemma Coma-Alabert (Suzuki), who will be the Festival's Resident Artist this year, and baritone Carlos Pachón (Prince Yamadori), winner of the Castell de Peralada Festival Extraordinary Prize at the 2017 Francesc Viñas Singing Competition, complete the voice section with the Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu. Dan Ettinger will be conducting the Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao in the orchestra pit, which will mark the début in Spain of this young conductor.
The Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and its prestigious conductor, Tugan Sokhiev, will be making its début at the festival with the performances of Prèlude à l'après-midi d’un faune by Debussy, Pictures at an Exhibition (with orchestration by Ravel) by Mussorgsky and Four Last Songs (Vier letzte Lieder) by Strauss. For the occasion, acclaimed soprano Iréne Theorin will be performing the German composer's songs.
The recitals by tenor Gregory Kunde and sopranos Pretty Yende, Ainhoa Arteta and Julia Lezhneva, will feature on four evenings of the best lyric singing in the Carme Church. The same stage will also host the Festival début of pianist Ignasi Cambra.
France's most international actress, Juliette Binoche, will be reciting Vaillé que Vivre accompanied by pianist Alexandre Tharaud in a show in French in which both artists will be remembering Barbara, the grande-dame of French chanson. Also, the rock star of classical music, pianist and communicator James Rhodes, will be making his Festival début with a piano recital for the general audience.
During the Summer of Music, singers Katie Melua, Bryan Ferry, Franco Battiato and Malú will be performing the greatest hits of their careers in exclusive performances in Catalonia. Pau Donés and his Jarabe de Palo will be stopping off in Peralada to celebrate the band's 20th anniversary and Diego “El Cigala” will be presenting his latest album, Indestructible, a tribute by the maestro of Salsa fusion.
Musicals are back at Petit Peralada with the family musical of the year: Geronimo Stilton, Gran Retorn a Fantasia, the new musical, a musical that invites audiences to dream.
Two free events that will make music ring out again on Peralada Town Square. Tututs!, by the Cobla Bisbal Jove and actor David Planas, and Hipstory from the urban dance group, Brodas Bros, are the two new events for family audiences.
This year, the Festival will be holding an exhibition of unseen photographs by French artist Francette Levieux, entitled Béjart fête Maurice Levieux photographed Maurice Béjart's career on numerous occasions, capturing the emotion, technique and talent of this great choreographer. The exhibition will be held at Barcelona's Palau Robert and run from 12 June to 2 July, and then at the Peralada Castle Gardens from 6 July to 18 August.
Once again, as part of its Corporate Responsibility policy, the Castell de Peralada Foundation will be working with the Alzheimer's Evening for the ACE Foundation, a private organisation devoted to diagnosis, treatment, research and support for people with this illness and other forms of dementia.
To ensure that visitors travel comfortably to the Castell de Peralada, there will be a festival bus service operating for the third consecutive year. On days with performances at the Peralada Castle Gardens Auditorium, there will be a bus service from Barcelona to Peralada