The Castell de Peralada Foundation is closer to one of its goals: a permanent open-air auditorium in the Gardens of the Castell de Peralada. The Foundation has commissioned architects to design a new building to include an auditorium, a multifunctional rehearsal hall to host artistic residencies and a future dramatic arts hall to support music. Phase One of the new space will represent an investment of more than €4 million and is expected to open in the summer of 2024, which marks the start of a three-year period culminating in the fortieth anniversary of the Festival. During the course of those three years, Peralada will be a leading venue for artistic works of international stature. Peralada, 20 February 2023 The town of Peralada will welcome a new development that will stimulate cultural activity and enhance the cultural infrastructure of the Alt Empordà. Siblings Isabel, Javier and Miguel Suqué Mateu have been working for many years to provide a new performance space that would enable the Castell de Peralada Festival to programme musical and dramatic works that go beyond the Festival itself. The development "recovers the past to move into the future," in the words of Isabel Suqué, President of the Festival de Peralada Foundation, who also highlighted the fact that "this is a step we needed to take now to position the Festival and Peralada Resort as a leading artistic venue over the coming decades on the international scene. As creators of indelible memories, this was the moment for us to commit to a new building within the Park of the Castle that would be environmentally friendly, contemporary and socially transformative so as to position ourselves at the epicentre of European culture." A comfortable facility that fits into its environment The construction of this new facility of 6624 square metres with open-air seating has been awarded to Jordi Marcé Arquitectes. The budget for Phase One is €4 million. There are three blocks in the development: a space for backstage and offices; a performance block with a rehearsal hall and a space for press and audio-visual content creation, and a stage with a maximum of 1566 seats with an integrated dramatic arts hall with exhibition space. The building will be constructed where the Festival has been celebrated until now since it last moved in 2010. The space will provide audiences comfort and convenience for the enjoyment of memorable experiences. In parallel, the scheme envisages new acoustic studies so as to improve the sound quality of the space and adapt the acoustic to the new design – key to staging opera and voice performances in the open air. The Castell de Peralada Festival will be the first summer festival to stop using a demountable scaffolding structure and move to staging performances in a permanent bespoke auditorium. "The scheme is based on integration of the architecture with the Park gardens and sustainability to deliver a comfortable facility for our audience and the artists who deliver our programming. We also want the building to match the standards of excellence, quality and prestige of our cultural offering. The new facilities will, in addition, increase the economic benefit that the Festival generates for the region," said Miguel Suqué Mateu. The development is another demonstration of the Peralada Group's commitment to the town and to the Alt Empordà. "This new auditorium is without doubt yet another demonstration of my family's very strong connection with Peralada and the Alt Empordà, and of our desire to bring to the area leading cultural facilities that go some way to fill the gap that exists outside the major cities and so position the Castell de Peralada Festival in the vanguard of the map of festivals in the country and make Resort Peralada a unique destination with a unique ecotourism experience," added Javier Suqué Mateu, President of Peralada Group. The Peralada Group's goal is for the new facilities to be exemplary from an environmental and landscaping perspective. Consequently, priority will be given to energy efficiency from the solar panels that are already in operation at the castle and maximum possible self-sufficiency in a space that will significantly reduce water use in the building by reusing wastewater after appropriate treatment. The Festival is also working on a recycling plan that will make it a model of recycling. The Castell de Peralada International Music Festival will be the main user of the new facilities when the Festival is taking place. However, the new spaces that the project will deliver will allow the activity of the Festival to spread beyond the summer across more of the year. Those spaces will be at the service of the creative, artistic, educational communities and the people of the region. Beyond the activity of the Festival itself, the auditorium and its facilities will be available to other promoters, commercial events and local government in the region. The construction of the new auditorium is part of the spatial plan for the Peralada Castle approved by the Planning Committee of Girona City Council in June 2018. That plan will ensure the preservation of the historic buildings, restore listed architecture and allow cultural activities to take place with the greatest respect for the environment while replacing the existing auditorium to be replaced with a new construction that sits better in its environment. Creators of a memorable experience The new facilities will complete the extraordinary cultural, leisure and wine-tourism opportunities offered by Peralada Resort. Led by the great Celler Peralada, the first cellar to achieve LEED Gold under LEED's assessment criteria for environmental design and winner of Best Spanish Bodega at the Premios Verema 2022, Peralada Resort has undergone a total transformation to become one of the world's best resorts with a range of unique, varied experiences based around the world of wine and culture. A visit to the Festival and wine-tourism can be combined with a stay in a magnificent Five-Star Hotel where guests can relax and enjoy wine-therapy treatments in the Wine Spa and play gold on a course set in fantastic countryside. The complex offers excellent fine dining that includes the Castell Peralada Restaurant, under the leadership of chef Javier Martínez and Maître d' and sommelier Toni Gerez with one Michelin star and a Sol Repsol. There is also the L'Olivera Restaurant, where Empordà's famous chef Paco Pérez (Five Michelin stars) has refreshed the menus of the Hotel Peralada. Paco Pérez is also in charge of the Shiro Peralada Restaurant in the castle gardens and the menu of Celler 1923 in the new cellar. The Castell de Peralada complex with its great variety of function rooms and gardens also includes the Casino, which can be found in the fourteenth century castle decorated with mediaeval tapestries, gardens designed by François Duvillers and the Carmel Convent with the Castle Museum. The Museum incorporates a library that holds early printed works, glass and ceramic collections and a new space dedicated to the history of car manufacturer Hispano Suiza. Peralada, an artistic success story The Castell de Peralada Festival is regarded as one of the country's most important summer artistic events. Driven by private enterprise but with a clear public service vocation, its programming has been inspired by the international spirit of active contribution to culture, the promotion of music, with an enduring commitment to excellence, in-house production, new creators, support for composers, invitations for leading artists and companies and support for the country's young talent. That philosophy and way of seeing festivals as engines of society has contributed to the cultural enrichment of our country, particularly in terms of opera and dance. The Festival does not just produce operas – those operas are made in the region. A paradigmatic example will be Verdi’s Aida directed by Paco Azorín that will be performed at the Festival in 2024 with the Symphonic Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Sondra Radvanovsky, Piotr Berczala, Carlos Álvarez and Anita Rachvelishvili. Artistic Director of the Castell de Peralada Festival, Oriol Aguilà, said: “Paco Azorín’s Aida is a reaffirmation of an internationally leading model for festivals that has inspired many other summer events." Aguilà went on to say that "we will be able to talk about a before and an after in the history of the Festival. The new buildings will not just allow us to make a leap in terms of the quality of the facilities, but will also open the door to a much more ambitious cultural project and will most importantly enable us to break out of the summer season to offer events throughout the year with a programme of artistic residencies, the consolidation and expansion of Campus Peralada and, in due course, a dramatic arts hall in the Empordà," and he added: "we continue to work towards our clear destination as an acknowledged reference point for lovers of music and dance, whilst reaffirming an international outlook in the context of the development of programming of equal stature to venues in major cities. That includes providing a space to support creative talent at our base, continuing the legacy that Peralada has built up over its history by inviting internationally leading creators, theatre directors, composers and performing companies. Our future programming will reaffirm the two central strands of the Festival, namely opera and dance, in a space that will also be a shop window for the big names of the international music industry." A future dramatic arts hall in the Alt Empordà Phase Two of the scheme includes the construction of a new space which will be the new dramatic arts hall in the Alt Empordà The hall will be a multi-purpose space behind the seating, a space to explain the history of the Festival, but most importantly a space for opera and dance education, promotion of art through exhibitions and spaces for reflection and a space where creators can lead presentations and workshops in advance of performances. An immersive technologically advanced space intended to become an acknowledged leader here at home and a place to discover the history of the Festival, the arts, opera, dance and creativity. Through different creative narratives adapted to each audience, from guests at the Resort or visitors to the Festival, students at Campus Peralada and schools, the purpose of this new facility is the desire to serve the community and the region and explain the artistic legacy of the Festival. The hall will also strengthen our cultural collaboration with the town of Peralada and with local government across the county. Carmel Convent stage 2023 The construction of the new facility will require the Castell de Peralada Festival to offer a reduced programme in 2023. This year, for the first time, the Festival will be held in part at Easter, a format that "is here to stay," in the words of the Festival's artistic director. This part of the Festival will be held in the Carmel Church on 6-8 April. During the spring, the organisation will publish the names of the artists in the summer programme which will run over a shorter period of time and will not have large audiences. Looking towards the 40th anniversary The completion of the project will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Castell de Peralada Festival in 2026, when it is expected to enjoy widespread recognition as an event of exceptional public interest alongside business support for an event of such historic importance. The Festival is therefore looking to the future with new challenges such as internationalisation, sustainability, social inclusion and cohesion as principles underlying a cultural model that originates in the Empordà and achieves global projection. The new Castell de Peralada Auditorium is following guidance for a sustainable future in the dramatic arts mapped out by the European theatres and festivals in Opera Europe in terms of sustainability, digitisation and inclusion. For the Suqué Mateu family, who have supported the Castell de Peralada Festival produced by the Castell de Peralada Foundation, the new facility is the continuation of the dream that their parents Carmen Mateu and Arturo Suqué started thirty-seven years ago of making Peralada a leading cultural centre in the Mediterranean region.
For further information, please contact:
Ruth Abuin 696655739 / 636039245