Houston Ballet and Jonas Kaufmann, new names for the Festival Castell de Peralada

Houston Ballet and Jonas Kaufmann, new names for the Festival Castell de Peralada

On 2 July, Houston Ballet will herald the start of the 34th edition of the festival, which will also see performances by the great German tenor Jonas Kaufmann on 9 August, alongside soprano Maria Agresta, in an evening with the best arias and duets by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini.

On 2 and 3 July, with different programmes, North American company Houston Ballet, currently the fifth largest ballet company in the United States, will appear at the Festival Castell de Peralada as part of the European tour to mark its 50th anniversary. Under the artistic direction of prestigious choreographer Stanton Welch, Houston Ballet will raise the curtain on a new edition of the festival on 2 July with Triple Bill, a show in which the company will display its versatility and stage identity through three ballets: the programme will open with Clear, an abstract ballet by Welch with music by Bach and costumes by leading fashion designer Michael Kors, created in 2001 for the American Ballet Theatre of New York after the 9/11 attack. An explosive choreography of huge emotional impact brimming with spectacular pirouettes, leaps and impressive spins. The evening will continue with In Dreams, a fantastic and impressive dance created by Trey McIntyre to the music of Roy Orbison, and will end with Nosotros, a choreography set to Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 by Rachmaninoff, also by Welch. A brilliant celebration of classical technique displaying the present and future stars of the Houston Ballet in a stunning work of classical technique. On the second evening, 3 July, the Houston troupe will present Son de l’Âme. Also with choreography by Houston Ballet’s artistic director, and with the pieces for piano of Frédéric Chopin, the ballet was premièred on 31 October 2013 at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris and featured virtuoso concert pianist Lang Lang. Son de l’Âme is a unique collaboration between dancer and music that is coming this year to the Festival Castell de Peralada. A sublime and traditional work with the musical basis of Chopin: nocturnes, ballades, waltzes, etudes, etc. performed live by a pianist, highlighting the company's transformation, raising the level of classical technique combined with renewed energy and excellence.

On 9 August, acclaimed tenor Jonas Kaufmann, a leading star on the world opera scene, will perform at the Castle Park Auditorium, in a lyric concert format. The Bavarian tenor, who has never wanted to limit himself to any one repertoire, returns to the Festival Castell de Peralada with a programme that will alternate orchestral pieces with some of the best arias and duos in the Puccini repertoire. For the occasion, the German tenor will feature the participation of Italian soprano Maria Agresta and the trusted baton of conductor Jochen Rieder at the helm of the Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès. In 2015, Kaufmann conquered Milan's La Scala with one of the most eagerly-awaited performances of his career: a concert of arias by Giacomo Puccini. The performance was immortalised in An Evening with Puccini directed by Brian Large and produced by Arts Alliance.

These two shows are in addition to the festival’s advance news announced in late August: the première of a new festival opera production, Verdi’s Aida (5 and 7 August) with the great international voices of Sondra Radvanovsky, Piotr Beczala, Anita Rachvelishvili and Carlos Álvarez; the recital by tenor Brian Jagde (6 August); and the return of William Christie and Les Arts Florissants with a brand-new programme of motets (8 August).

The programme for next year’s festival is in response to the organisers’ wish to reward the loyalty of its dance and lyric audiences. The aim of this new advance news of the programme is the internationalisation of the cultural event through attracting an audience of music-lovers, while seeking to boost the Empordà-Costa Brava abroad.