Greetings from Kilkenny to all our friends and to everyone at Opera Theatre Company. We have been very very busy little bears over the last number of weeks. We were taken on holidays to Spain and because we were sooooo good, we were brought to the Opera. More about that in a little while.
When we came back from Spain we were taken for another little holiday to the Wexford Opera Festival. Then we had an overnight in Cork where we saw the incredible Opera Theatre Company Production of Alcina by Handel. Finally we had a lovely evening in Dublin where we saw and met and were cuddled by the most wonderful American Mezzo, Frederica von Stade. We will give you all a full report on all those adventures over the next couple of weeks.
So now back to our adventures in Spain. As you can probably guess from our tribute to Montserrat Caballé at the beginning of our blog we found ourselves in Barcelona.
Here we are at the old box office of the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona.
It is a most beautiful Concert Hall built between 1905 and 1908 for a choral group called Orfeo Catala by the architect Llius Domenech i Montaner. In 1997 the Palau de la Musica was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Every year over half a million people attend concert performances here. Many world premieres have been performed here including Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo which was on the programme the night we were so lucky to attend. We also heard the wonderful guitarist, Ronaldo Saad play Bizet’s Carmen Suite and Espana by Chabrier.
Here is a photo of the Concert Hall
The next night was even more exciting. We were overawed to find ourselves at the Liceu – Barcelona’s most amazing Opera House. We discovered that we were to see an opera called L’Arbore di Diana by a Spanish Composer by the name of Vicente Martin y Soler.
Here we are with our friend Alan outside the Liceu.
Vicente Martin y Soler was born on 2nd May 1754 and lived until 30th January 1806. This, of course, means that he was a contemporary of Mozart. In fact, at that time in Europe he was more famous than Mozart. The famous librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, who wrote for Mozart, also wrote librettos for y Soler including the opera which we saw. Another of his librettists was Catherine the Great of Russia – that’s real famous!
L’Arbore di Diana is about the Orchard which belongs to the goddess Diana. She has an apple tree that keeps a check on all the goddess’s nymph to make sure they have all been good girls. If the nymphs have been bold girls, the apples turn black and the tree hurls the apples at the poor nymphs. As you can imagine Art was not impressed with this and remained under his seat for some time. Then along came the Shepherd, Endimio and with the help of Amor wins Diana’s heart. She gets rid of the apple tree and they all lived happily ever after. Now we are just not sure if everyone is being good or bold and without the tree how can they tell. We asked our friend Alan to explain all this to us but all he said was that we shouldn’t worry our young little heads about such things and just enjoy the music instead. Anyway we enjoyed the music very much – it was a wonderful opera.
Here are Soprano, Laura Aikin and Countertenor, Michael Maniaci in the lead roles of Diana and Amor.
After all that excitement we were taken to Sitges to spend a couple of relaxing days by the beach – lovely!
On our Balcony in Sitges.
Wexford, Cork and more soon, until the next time,
Art and Music.