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Aleix Palau | 30 March 2022

Festival Llums d’Antiga opens L’Auditori’s spring season

The festival will run from 20 April to 5 May, with six concerts in three of Barcelona’s most fascinating medieval buildings: the Chapel of Santa Àgata, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi and Sant Pau del Camp Monastery.
More than 60 concerts have been programmed for L’Auditori’s spring season, featuring major symphonic works, chamber music, newly created works, early music and educational activities as part of a new edition of Cantània.

Festival Llums d’Antiga opens L’Auditori’s spring season

The Llums d’Antiga Festival, organised by L’Auditori and held in different historic buildings around Barcelona, will shortly be returning to the city. The medieval venues for this fourth edition are the Chapel of Santa Àgata, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi and Sant Pau del Camp Monastery.

These superb buildings will host a total of six concerts from 20 April to 5 May, with the participation of leading experts in early music. In this edition, Carlo Gesualdo will feature prominently, and works by the composer will be performed by two of today’s most highly acclaimed vocal ensembles: Exaudi Vocal Ensemble and Graindelavoix.

The festival will be opened by Albert Recasens’ La Grande Chapelle. Jordi Savall will explore the art of variation and improvisation in 17th century European chamber music. Le Consort, with soprano Emmanuelle de Negri, will invite the audience to discover the melodies of the French Baroque period and, to close the festival, the Zapico brothers –the leaders of the ensemble Forma Antiqva– will perform duets by Steffani accompanied by countertenor Carlos Mena and soprano Eugenia Boix.

The programme of the Llums d’Antiga Festival coincides with this season’s theme at L’Auditori, with Love and Hateas its focal point. Also featured at Llums d’Antiga are this season’s two guest composers –Joan Magrané and Bernat Vivancos– in keeping with L’Auditori’s cross-cutting approach to its artistic programme, with the world premiere of a work by Magrané, commissioned by L’Auditori, and the Spanish premiere of a work by Vivancos.
The opening concert by La Grande Chapelle, under the direction of Albert Recasens, focuses on 16th and 17th century lamentations in music from the Iberian Peninsula, mainly by disciples of Palestrina, such as Tomás Luis de Victoria, Alonso Lobo, Pedro Ruimonte and Portuguese composer Manuel Cardoso.
Jordi Savall will make his debut at the Llums d’Antiga Festival with Hespèrion XXI and a repertoire made up of lachrimae, lamentations and folias from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The concert will feature some of his regular musicians, such as Xavier Díaz-Latorre on the guitar and theorbo, Andrew Lawrence-King on the Baroque harp and Pedro Esteban on percussion. A concert of music that has close ties with popular music, it is also a journey into the art of variation and improvisation and their different forms and traditions.
The theme of Love and Hate will be reinforced in a performance by the magnificent soprano Emmanuelle de Negri and the Le Consort ensemble, conducted by harpsichordist Justin Taylor, who is returning to the festival, through a journey of discovery into the poetic universe of 18th-century French Baroque music.
One of Spain’s leading countertenors with an extensive, solid career, Carlos Mena, accompanied by soprano Eugenia Boix and Forma Antiqva, will offer a programme of music by Agostino Steffani. In addition to the virtuoso vocal skills that are required, a high degree of sensitivity is also needed to make the audience relate to the emotions and feelings conveyed by the lyrics.
Two leading international vocal ensembles, Exaudi Vocal Ensemble and Graindelavoix, will be returning to L’Auditori to pay tribute to Carlo Gesualdo. In the first case, the programme will be made up of madrigals by the Italian composer, while Graindelavoix will perform his Tenebrae Responsoria. Both ensembles are equally at home performing early and new music. Indeed, Exaudi Vocal Ensemble, directed by James Weeks, will perform the Spanish premiere of Nigra es, pulcra sum by Bernat Vivancos, while Graindelavoix will perform the world premiere of Miserere by Joan Magrané, a work commissioned by L’Auditori de Barcelona.

The spring season
Over 60 concerts have been programmed for the final leg of L’Auditori’s season of music between 1 April and 16 July. The spring season includes major symphonic works, visits by prominent artists such as pianist Nikolai Lugansky and Jordi Savall, and a performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Mozart’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.

The Barcelona Symphony Orchestra will perform major symphonic works including Symphony No. 4 by Brahms, conducted by Ilan Volkov, Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz, under the baton of Juanjo Mena, and Missa Solemnis by Beethoven. The latter will be conducted by Salvador Mas, with the participation of the Lieder Camera choir, Cor Madrigal, Cor de Cambra del Palau and a cast of singers headed by soprano Siobhan Stagg, who will making her Barcelona debut.
The music of Anton Bruckner will also be prominent, with a performance of his Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 7, conducted by Giedrė Šlekytė and Kazushi Ono, respectively. To close the OBC season, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “The Resurrection” will be staged. This will be Kazushi Ono’s farewell concert after several seasons as the orchestra’s principal conductor, and it will feature soprano Lydia Teuscher and the celebrated mezzo-soprano Mihoko Fujimura, accompanied by the Orfeó Català.
One special highlight of L’Auditori’s spring season is the world premiere of several commissioned works, such as Abglanz for soprano, choir and orchestra by Joan Magrané and Suite of Myself by Raquel García-Tomás.
Furthermore, with the arrival of summer, and for the second year running, the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra will join forces with top-ranking Spanish and international musicians and conductors specialising in Mozart to explore the German composer’s music and background context.

The Mozart Nits d’Estiu Festival will offer three programmes of music from 30 June to 16 July under the batons of Lionel Bringuier, Dani Espasa and Stephanie Childress.

The festival will include the participation of celebrated soloists such as cellist Kian Soltani, violinist Nicola Benedetti and soprano Julia Lezhneva. Music by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Gluck and Thomas Adès will delight audiences in Barcelona this summer, with concerts in Hall 1 Pau Casals at L’Auditori and at the Palau de la Música Catalana.
With regard to visits by foreign orchestras, as part of the season of music co-produced by L’Auditori and Ibercamera, the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra will perform The Emperor Concerto by Beethoven under the baton of Ádám Fischer, with Sir András Schiff at the piano.
In the programme of concerts by the Barcelona Symphony Band, special mention must be made of the symphonic dances from West Side Story, the zarzuela Cançó d’amor i de guerra with the Polifònica de Puig-Reig, conducted by Salvador Brotons, and the Carmen Symphony by Georges Bizet. The Barcelona Symphony Band will also perform the world premiere of Tres paisatges pictòrics per a marimba i banda by composer Albert Guinovart, commissioned by L’Auditori.
L’Auditori’s programme of chamber music will reach a peak with the Rachmaninoff Festival, when virtuoso Russian pianist, Nikolai Lugansky, will perform a selection of Preludes by the composer, together with his Études-Tableaux, Op. 39.

Two quartets, Hanson and Arod, will join forces for the world premiere of Ritual I for Double String Quartet by Bernat Vivancos, and Quartet Casals will perform the String Quintet by Schubert, accompanied by cellist Santiago Cañón.

In the field of modern music, one special attraction is the concert by flamenco singer Israel Fernández and guitarist Diego del Morao as part of L’Auditori’s Sessions, together with a celebratory concert by Quimi Portet to mark his 25 years in the business and a visit by virtuoso Armenian jazz pianist Tigran Hamasyan, who will present his CD Standart.

As part of the Escenes programme, Clara Aguilar will present the show L’Amour Toujours: a staged ritual of the act of love and a liturgical space where acts are embodied and expressed by scenic artists from the world of theatre. Escenes will close with Desert, a show based on a work entitled Timber (2009), by American composer Michael Gordon (1956-), premiered in Spain by the FRAMES Percussion ensemble in 2016. A new take on the original work is offered through new staging by dancer and choreographer Albert Quesada and an innovative use of sound in a unique immersive experience.

The Sampler Series will bring audiences music by Easy Alice + Song Distortions, together with 48 Variations for Two Pianos by John McGuire, played by pianists Mark Knoop and Roderick Chadwick. It will also include the Spanish premiere of Monadologie XVIII “Moving Architecture” by Bernhard Lang.

Lastly, as part of L’Auditori’s educational programme, a new edition of Cantània will be held from 20 April to 17 June. This year’s edition is entitled Clara. L’art per dins (Clara. Art Inside), a commissioned work by composer Josep Maria Guix with poems by Jordi Llavina and staging by Marc Donat.

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