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Festival Castell de Peralada is celebrating its 35th anniversary, and we are looking forward to welcoming audiences again this summer. We will meet again face to face, while complying with all the necessary safety measures, with a capacity of approximately 70%. During this morning's press conference at the Peralada Gardens, Festival Castell de Peralada launched an exciting new edition for the summer nights between 16 July and 1 August. The press conference could also be streamed, and you can watch it again on the festival website. 

Festival Castell de Peralada is run by the Castell de Peralada Foundation, which has a budget of 2.7 million euros for this year’s event in order to maintain its firm commitment to the arts, the local area and cultural patronage. Isabel Suqué Mateu, president of the Castell de Peralada Foundation, explained that this year’s edition will be dedicated to her father, Arturo Suqué i Puig, who passed away on 30 April.

A festival that maintains its essence

Ballet for life or Le Presbytère is a ballet created by Maurice Béjart and inspired by the figures of Freddie Mercury and Jorge Donn. It is dedicated to those who died too young when the AIDS outbreak first shook society. From an optimistic and vibrant perspective, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, under the artistic direction of Gil Roman, will inaugurate the 35th edition of the festival on the evening of 16 July, with one of the most brilliant ballets in the history of dance, a meeting of geniuses (Mozart, Mercury, Donn, Béjart, Versace) who still shine despite their absence. The company will repeat the performance the following day, on 17 July. Dance will continue to be the protagonist of the festival, which has made the genre one of its hallmarks. The Barcelona Ballet will also perform the première of Perpectives (22 July) to inaugurate a new stage, the Castle Viewpoint. The artistic director of the young Catalan company, Chase Johnsey, defies the strict gender norms inherent in this artistic discipline. Johnsey invites us to embark on a journey through a world of struggle, dreams and transformation, based on the iconic figure of the swan and Tchaikovsky’s music. On the following day, 23 July, the festival brings together five women in tribute, five dancers whose talent and perseverance has led them to dance at some of the most important companies in the world. Monica Hamill and Iratxe Ansa direct the performance of Ballet Under The Stars with Lucia Lacarra (principal dancer at Bayerisches Staatsballett from 2002 to 2016 and winner of the National Dance Award 2005), Dores André (principal dancer at the San Francisco Ballet), Ada González (soloist at the Bucharest Opera Ballet), Maria Khoreva (soloist at the Mariinsky Ballet and winner of the first edition of the Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award) and  Iratxe Ansa (winner of the National Dance Award 2020), who will also be on stage. They will perform alongside Matthew Golding (principal dancer at the Royal Ballet from 2014 2014 2017), Xander Parish (principal dancer at the Mariinsky Ballet), Jorge García Pérez (soloist at the Basel Ballet) and Igor Bacovich (dancer, choreographer and founder of Metamorphosis Dance together with Iratxe Ansa). Together, they will perform spectacular excerpts from modern dance pieces and grand pas de deux from world-famous, iconic pieces from classical repertoire, ranging from classics like Giselle to more recent choreographies by Christopher Wheeldon and Myles Thatcher.

A concert version of Puccini’s Tosca will be performed at the auditorium on 25 July. The orchestra from Madrid’s Teatro Real  will perform one of Puccini’s most striking works under the baton of Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti. The festival has brought together the stunning voices of Sondra Radvanovsky, Jonas Kaufmann and Carlos Álvarez in the leading roles for this occasion. A concert version and a new production inspired by Handel will also be performed at this year’s festival. 30 July will see a performance of Orlando (HWV 31), the first of the three operas by the English composer of German origin based on the epic poem Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto. Dani Espasa will direct the Baroque ensemble Vespres d’Arnadí from the harpsichord, in a concert that brings together a list of acclaimed voices in the genre, including Xavier Sabata (Orlando), Sabina Puértolas (Angelica), José Antonio López (Zoroastre), Marie Lys (Dorinda) and Eve-Maud Hubeaux (Medoro). Rafael R. Villalobos offers stage direction in a plot that focuses on the love triangle between Angelica, Medoro and Dorinda, establishing links between Orlando: a biography (1928) by Virginia Woolf, and Michael Cunningham’s novel The Hours. Tenor Javier Camarena, a leading figure in bel canto opera for his generation, will bring the festival to a close with a lyric opera concert accompanied by the Gran Teatre del Liceu orchestra. With a programme featuring music by Delibes, Bizet, Donizetti, Mozart and Puccini, he will star in the lyrical gala for the 35th anniversary festival, the culmination of a programme that will finish on the night of 1 August.

Carmen Church will host two débuts by two of the most sought-after voices in opera houses around the world. The first, the Frenchman Benjamin Bernheim (24 July), is one of the most prominent tenors of his generation at just 35 years old. He will perform in a recital that combines opera arias and songs. The second concert, by the Wagnerian soprano of the moment Lise Davidsen, will be held on 31 July and will feature a programme of opera and song that demonstrates why she is one of the most well-rounded lyric opera sopranos of today. The day after hearing the gorgeous voice of the young Norwegian soprano, William Christie will perform at the head of the legendary instrumental and vocal ensemble, Les Arts Florissants in the Carmen Church, with a rendition of Handel's pastoral cantata, Aminta e Fillide on the afternoon of 1 August.

The Peralada Gardens will be the perfect backdrop for a sunset dedicated to bringing opera to a younger audience (29 July). Opera Followers is the title of this fresh and humorous recital, created by Albert Estany and featuring the voices of Olga Syniakova and Manuel Fuentes, winners of Extraordinary Prizes at the Festival Castell de Peralada Tenor Viñas 2020 and 2021 Competition. A youtuber master of ceremonies will be in charge of inviting the audience on a journey into an unknown, distant musical world, progressively moving through the musical universe.

Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright will give a solo performance on the evening of 24 July. Accompanied only by his guitar and piano, Rufus returns to the Peralada stage with “Ah! Live Again. Unfollow the Rules solo”. Sílvia Pérez Cruz rounds off the lineup with Farsa (Género Imposible) on 31 July. Accompanied on stage only by dancer Andrés Corchero, the artist from Palafrugell presents a raw, intimate space in black and white; a direct and unfiltered dialogue with the audience.

Artists off-stage:

Festival Castell de Peralada complements its cultural programme with exhibitions that aim to enrich and expand the audience’s experience. This year you can enjoy Jordi Bernadó's exhibition “What does beauty know of time?”. The photographer and creator of the poster for the 35th edition of Festival Castell de Peralada will present a series of large-format photographs at the Peralada Gardens. The exhibition will feature a sample of his work and his own ironic language, which requires time to appreciate the series as a whole and the details in each of his images.

Following the photography exhibition and launch of the book The Opera Cooks by Johannes Ifkovits and Evelyn Rillé at the 2011 Festival Castell de Peralada, the second edition has been published with an exhibition by the same name. From 1 July to 1 August, the festival website will exhibit a selection of 16 photos showing leading opera singers getting their hands dirty in the kitchen.

All the programme here.