L'Orfeó Català is intimate and exciting

L'Orfeó Català is intimate and exciting

For 110 years, the Sant Esteve Party has been the great celebration of Catalan Orfeó. This time, as many as three new hymns were premiered, the genre to which the evening was devoted: O Jesus di ma Infantesa, based on a poem by Joan Maragall and music by Josep Ole y Sabate; The Four Seasons by Jordi Cornudella, with text by Dolores Miquel; and the suite Un ram de nadales by Joan Vives which closed the programme. Arrangements signed by Mariona Vila and Elisenda Fàbregas, one of this season's guest composers, are also premiered.

Fragments of oratorios such as Handel's “Messiah”, Mendelssohn's “Elias”, and Pau Casals' “The Birth” – on the fiftieth anniversary of his death – were highly acclaimed, as were works such as those of the Norwegian Ola Gelo (with his “Wonderful Land”) and Darius. Lim, Akram Eli Phoenix, and Daniel Elder. Orfeó dedicated a special remembrance to the singer Marta Juanola, who died in November, and to the palace's architect, Luis Dominique y Montaner, on the centenary of its founding.

The graceful show was directed by Adria Aubert, lighting by Danielle Jenner, choreographed by Ariadna Casals, and presented by Laura Rosell, with input from meteorologist Tomas Molina, impeccable interjections by the Cosmos Quartet, played by organist Joan Segui, and clarinetist Joan Rocca, percussionist. Marc Capiro and pianist and composer Albert Genovart. The Catalan Orfeó is joined by the Youth Choir, Girls' Choir, Children's Choir, Middle Choir, Junior Choir and, of course, the Palau de la Música Catalana Chamber Choir. Together, some 300 performers bid farewell to El Cant de la Senyera, as the audience stood – chanting “Independence” – until El noi de la mare imposed a final, delicate point.

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