Last summer there was as always a lot of music and culture both for eyes and ears. Along the Costa Brava you could see national and international stars live on the festival stages. From modern to classical, pop to rock and dance to opera, there was something for every taste and every generation. Here’s a little flashback:
Festival Castell de Peralada: La Traviata
A dream of location
As a festival location, Peralada has its very own spirit. The scenery around the palace is a perfect setting for a romantic evening: the white swans at the brightly lit fountain in front of the palace clean their plumage unimpressed at the flashlight storm of smartphones. In the background, one of the newest luxury models of a renowned car brand glitters. Festively dressed, the guests promenade to the champagne stand. The mild summer evening demands an ice-cold glass of Peralada Brut cava. It’s also a must for us every year as a relaxed attunement for an extraordinary cultural experience. This way, we enjoy the evening before the event and inspect the guests’ dresses and hairstyles with a sparkling drink in our hands. A little smile, a little criticism or admiration — and so time passes until the first call.
The celebrity of the evening : Ekaterina Bakanova
The Russian soprano Ekaterina Bakanova, performing as Violetta, gives you goosebumps. She has already won numerous competitions in her young career, including the Audience Award of the Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna and the 1st Prize of the Bilbao International Competition in Spain. She appears regularly on the international opera stages. Including the Dresden State Opera, the Arena di Verona, the Teatro La Fenice, the Teatro Regio di Parma, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. Plus, she has sung under renowned conductors.
As early as 2015, she took on the role of Violetta in Verdi’s “La Traviata” at the Royal Opera House. There she found one of her parade roles. At the Liceu in Barcelona, Ekaterina Bakanova remarkably played priestess Léïla in the opera “Les Pêcheurs de perles” by Georges Bizet this season. As Violetta, Ekaterina Bakanova was celebrated with ovations in Peralada. The audience also honoured René Barbera as Alfredo and Quinn Kelsey as Giorgio Germont with roaring applause.
An unforgettable show
Exactly at 10:00 p.m. everything starts. The overture to “La Traviata” begins. Verdi’s opera premiered in Peralada Palace Park in a new production of Paco Azorín. The production not only has a grandiose stage design, feminist claim and fantastic modern costumes, but also soloists whose singing gets under your skin. An unforgettable open-air opera evening. We are happy to have been there to witness it!
Festival Castell de Peralada: Jessie J.
A pop star up close
Jessie J., with her real name Jessica Ellen Cornish, is celebrated worldwide for her hits like “Price Tag”, “Who you are”, or “Bang Bang” (featuring Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj). The 31-year-old pop singer from Great Britain became famous with her 2011 debut album “Who you are”, which combines the Motown soul and the 90s hip-hop. Also from the four other albums and 18 singles of her discography, many songs were celebrated in the top ten of the international charts.
At this year’s Festival of Peralada Castle, Jessie J. had the honor of being one of the only pop acts locally among the otherwise exclusively classical programme items such as the famous opera “La Traviata” or the ballet “El Quijote del Plata”.
A legendary castle
The Peralada Castle, surrounded by ancient walls, is located in the Catalan province of Girona, in the municipality of Peralada. It is famous for its good wine and champagne, which offers its visitors an elegant ambience. The former castle of the Counts of Peralada gives its name to this historic complex. The ensemble also includes a past Carmelite monastery with a medieval church, a beautiful 19th century landscape park and a modern auditorium for music festivals.
Culture & music united in concert
After a short round through the enchanted grounds with a glass of champagne and nice chats, the concert took place. All dressed very elegantly, drinking (sparkling) wine and looking at the exhibited car models; the event reminded me of anything but an electro-pop concert. Jessie J. also seemed surprised by the rows of seats in front of the big stage. She announced right at the beginning that she expected the audience to dance at the concert.
The humorous and self-confident star from England gave a high-quality music show from start to finish and achieved 90% standing ovations in the end. Even the old lady, sitting behind us – at the beginning with a tense and confused mine – didn’t sit on her chair anymore at the end of the concert, but smilingly moved her hips to the rhythm of the music.
Citadel of Roses: Morat
Rising stars from Latin America
The columbian folk-pop-group was created in 2015 by four young man. Since then they released 14 singles and two albums: “Sobre el amor y sus efectos secundarios“ in 2016 and „Balas perdidas“ in 2018. The young band collaborated amongst others with well known artists like the german-spanish pop-singer Álvaro Soler and the columbian musician Juanes. Since that time they are able to celebrate enormous success, especially in the Spanish and Latin american music scene.
The live concert on 1 August 2019, took place in the citadel of Roses, which is known as one of the most important archaeological excavation sites of Spain today. 1543, it was built in the style of the Renaissance – and since 1961 it’s under preservation order.
We enter through the impressive gate “Porta del Mar” and walk across the former military fortress, at the end of which we finally reach the stage. There is a nice atmosphere: the crowd in front of the stage laughs and drinks a glass, the fans are excited about the artists come on stage. When the concert begins, the audience is unstoppable. The mix of traditional folk and modern pop has groove; the people are dancing and singing along enthusiastically.
Castello d’Empúries: Orchestra “La Chatta”
As part of the annual “Festa Major de Sant Llorenç”, a classical concert and ball took place on 9 August 2019, together with the orchestra “La Chatta” from Barcelona. The orchestra consists of 11 musicians, among them four singers – like Ingrid Morall Saez and Daniel Anglés, who sing visibly familiar in duet with each other. The singers are accompanied by two trumpets, a bass, an electric guitar, a drum set, a saxophone and a K-Board. It was a celebration to listen to the orchestra playing music, which varied between ballads, folk songs and even jazz.
A medieval location
The city of Castelló d’Empúries is located on the Gulf of Roses, where art and culture are often combined in events with nature and history. There is also the gothic church of Santa María with a romanesque bell tower from the 14th century, on the forecourt of which we had a refreshing beer before the event. The whole evening seems to be very authentic; in the village square, there are many stands where one can enjoy tapas and wine under the starry sky. Visitors are relaxed and an exuberant atmosphere prevails – viva la vida..! There are hardly any tourists. We immediately make friends with a Catalan who serves us a delicious chorizo and Manchego with bread.
The Concert & the ball
In front of the stage the chairs are already occupied by tense visitors; we stand with other spectators behind the rows of seats – in front of the bar, not bad either. So we have a good view and can dance. When the orchestra starts to play at 21h30 after a reception speech by Ingrid, there is a festive atmosphere all around. After various pieces of music, from classical ballads to the Catalan national anthem, the ball is finally opened. The people hold each other’s hands in a circle and dance the Catalan folk dance, Sardana.
When the orchestra has played its last notes, the music genre turns around 160 degrees and it continues with concerts from punk rock bands like “Crim” and “The Toy Dolls“.The visitors are in the mood and the mild summer night is still young.