IN THE PUREST PERALADA STYLE
Today saw the announcement of the programme for the 36th Castell de Peralada Festival, which this year will take place 8 July-6 August. The programme for the Festival contains a total of eighteen events that can be enjoyed between the Parc del Castell Auditorium, the Carmen Church and, for the first time, the Nou Celler de Peralada (“New Peralada Winery”) following its recent opening. The Nou Celler will be a space for creation and artistic cross-fertilisation.
The Castell de Peralada Festival, organised by the Castell de Peralada Foundation, has a budget this year of €3.7 million to continue its firm commitment to the arts, to the country and to cultural patronage.
Dance at the Festival, a constant
Renowned German dance company, the Bavarian State Ballet (also known as the Ballet of Opera Munich) will open the 36th Festival on 8 July with a varied programme under leading international choreographers such as Liam Scarlett, Sharon Eyal and George Balanchine. The Ballet was founded in the 1990-1991 season as an independent department of the Bavarian State Opera. It has cultivated a rich repertoire that spans from classical ballet productions to modern dance and has a company of dancers of great versatility, quality and technique. The following day, 9 July, the Ballet will again take to the stage at Peralada with a second Triple Bill with pieces by David Dawson, Alexei Ratmansky and a performance of the legendary Rubies by George Balanchine. With the aim of opening the Festival up to other stages and spaces for creative cross-fertilisation, the Festival will this year inaugurate a new performance space at the Nou Celler Peralada with the spectacle Rodin by the Sergio Bernal Dance Company. On the evenings of 20 and 21 July, dancer Sergio Bernal will present a spectacle inspired by three great Rodin sculptures with the intention of humanising his pieces through the art of movement. Ciada Rossi, dancer with the National Dance Company, will appear with Bernal in one of the evening’s three choreographies. Dance, which continues to be one of the artistic genres most iconic of the Festival, will bring down the curtain on this year's Festival on the night of 6 August with On Before, a spectacle that stars legendary Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta. Created by Acosta in homage to his mother shortly after her death in 2010, the spectacle draws on a whole suite of choreographies by world-renowned artists such as Will Tuckett, Russell Maliphant and Kim Brandstrup, alongside Acosta’s own choreography and, finally, with the work of Cuban choreographer Raul Reinoso. At Peralada, Acosta will be joined by Laura Rodríguez, from the Acosta Dance company, and vocal group O Vos Omnes.
Three operas, an evening with Josep Carreras and the story of Maria Callas
It is well known that lyrical singing and voice are the great passions of the Festival. Over the thirty-five-year span of its history, the Festival has amassed a collection of memorable evenings with the most outstanding lyric voices of each time. On 13 August, tenor Josep Carreras was the star of one of the most iconic Peralada evenings when he chose the Festival to take to the stage again after his recovery from leukaemia. A concert that was broadcast by forty TV channels around the world. On 3 August, the tenor will take to the stage at Peralada once more accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, an occasion on which the Festival will confer its Medal of Honour on him.
This summer will see the resumption of operatic production with Purcell’s The Fairy Queen (22 July), under the musical direction of Dani Espasa and stage direction by Joan Anton Rechi. Inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Rechi leads us deep into a wood, a dream space through which authors and composers pass half-way between reality and dream, seeking the inspiration to bring the greats back to the spectacle. A homage to opera, to theatre, to the great dream nights of the Festival which will see the appearance of great Baroque artists such as Arnadi’s Vespers and specialist Baroque singers such as Xavier Sabata, Ana Quitans, Judith van Wanroij, Mark Milhofer, Thomas Walker and Nicolas Brooymans and vocal group O Vos Omnes directed by Xavier Pastrana. The Spanish Royal Theatre will be back this summer at the Peralada Festival before bringing its season to a close. The company of the Madrid powerhouse will perform, on 29 July, Hadrian, the contemporary opera (in a semi-staged version) by singer and composer Rufus Wainwright with libretto by Daniel McIvor. The voices of Thomas Hampson, Ainhoa Arteta, Xabier Anduaga, Vanessa Goikoetxea and Ruben Amoretti will be heard against the backdrop of 300 Robert Mapplethorpe photographs. The following day, 30 July, the Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Theatre will be back with Verdi’s Nabucco (concert version) under the baton of Nicola Luisotti and with soprano Anna Pirozzi (Abigaille), George Pétean (Nabucco) and Dimitry Belosselskiy (Zaccaria) in the principal roles.
Carmen Church will this year host four high-voltage recitals. There will be house debuts this summer for young mezzosoprano Emily D’Angelo (23 July) with her ethereal yet earthy voice, Sony Yoncheva (2 August), one of the most acclaimed and interesting performers of her generation, and young Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, one of today’s most complete lyrical-dramatic sopranos and the Wagnerian voice du jour (4 August). The roll of women's voices in the chapel is completed by soprano Ermonela Jaho (5 August), acclaimed for characteristically profoundly visceral interpretations of her roles. Jaho won the hearts of the Festival’s audience with her interpretation of Madame Butterfly in 2017.
The Carmen Cloister will be the stage for the concert Sfogava con le stelle by Raquel García-Tomas (27 July), considered one of the leading creators of today. The audience will be able to hear for the first time three Baroque-inspired works by the composer in dialogue with Bach and Monteverdi interpreted by Cosmos Quartet, Noelia Rodiles and the voices of Lydia Vinyes-Curtis and O Vos Omnes.
Actress Monica Bellucci will give voice to Maria Callas through readings from letter and documents written by the soprano. Directed by Tom Volf, and with music interpreted by Gio Symphonia under the direction of Francesc Prat, 15 July is the date for Lettres and Mémoires, a show in which Callas explains in her own words the true story of her life.
Joan Manuel Serrat will start his tour of Catalunya Vici de Cantar (“Singing - My Vice”) 1965-2022 on 16 July at Peralada. The artist with the highest number of performances at the Festival and recipient of its Medal of Honour in 2011, will say goodbye to a faithful audience who have followed him for more than thirty-five years. Polyglot group Pink Martini will bring their small universe of joy to the Festival on 23 July with a uniqur concert in Catalonia with appearances by China Forbes and Storm Large, the group’s vocalists. On 4 August, the versatile and internationally renowned composer Lucas Vidal will present Karma, an electronic work that seeks to break the mould of the traditional concert to build bridges between worlds so apparently distant as classical and electronic music.
With the aim of encouraging the able young people of the country and supporting artists and groups as they gain profile, in 2016 the Festival introduced artistic residencies, with which it seeks to give greater visibility to those young artists with involvement in two or more spectacles at the Festival in a single year. This year the artistic residency is held by Ensemble O Vos Omnes. Founded in 2011 by director and composter Xavier Pastrana, today O Vos Omnes is one of the best-known ancient music vocal groups in Catalonia. This year, the group will take part in the new production of the opera The Fairy Queen, the concert Sfogava con le stelle by composer Raquel Garcíá-Tomas, and the spectacle On Before by Carlos Acosta.
Previous artists in residence at the Castell de Peralada Festival are Marco Mezquida (2019), Xaiver Sabata (2018), Gemma Coma Alabert (2017) and Sara Blanch (2016).
Art in the gardens
The Castell de Peralada Festival widens its cultural offering with exhibitions and displays intended to enrich and broaden the experience of its audience. This year saw an exhibition of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe that was open to the public at the Palau Robert throughout April. Flowers and People is a visual dialogue with Rufus Wainwright’s opera Hadrian in collaboration with the Mapplethorpe Foundation of New York. Curated by Jorn Weisbrodt, stage director of Hadrian, the exhibition will show twenty images by the American photographer from 8 July to 6 August in the gardens of the Castell de Peralada.
In the Library at the Castle from 10 May until the end of September visitors can see the exhibition Celler Peralada: A dream come true. RCR Architects, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Nou Celler Peralada. A display of sketches made in the process of creating a family dream that started more than twenty years ago when the idea was first born.
Summer Campus is back with in-person activities
In 2021, Campus Peralada started a programme around the question: What is the role of dance today? With the end of social distancing due to the pandemic, there has been a series of workshops, actions and activities around the region where the body and dance have been centre stage. Following the same theme and including other artistic genres, Summer Campus will be holding activities to facilitate contact with the artists in the Festival's programme.
Peralada's town square will be filled with dance with a giant barre open to all with the Bavarian State Ballet. Pupils for dance schools around the province of Girona will have the opportunity of participating in a masterclass with dancer Serio Bernal and to attend dress rehearsals for the Bavarian State Ballet and Carlos Acosta's show. Acosta will be coprotagonist in generally streamed conversation called “Acosta&Acosta”, in which he will be talking with Yonah Acosta, a dancer at the Bavarian State Ballet. There will also be an online conversation between Michael Stout, President of the Mapplethorpe Foundation and Jorn Weisbrodt, stage director of Hadrian, in which they will discuss the exhibition of Mapplethorpe photographs Flowers and People which can be seen in the Gardens at Castell Peralada during the Festival. Lucas Vidal will also be involved in the Campus this summer in a format to be determined.
Peralada, a midsummer night’s dream
Dancer Sergio Bernal is the image of the 2022 Festival and features in this year’s publicity. The dancer, a statue who lives in the gardens at Peralada, dances into the world of dreams and shows us the different corners of the Peralada Gardens. A magical, dream-like space that each summer undergoes a transformation and where the nights are full of dreams. In that space, we are shown the colours, the textures and the sounds that are born in its leafiness, and the audience is moved. The Festival seeks in this way to be a space of freedom, a space where the arts can flow together, a space in which everything is possible and all we have to do is dream.
Tickets go on sale
Tickets for the 36th Festival will go on sale on 20 May at 1 pm at www.festivalperalada.com and by phone on 902 374 737.