The festival Castell de Peralada is a must for music every summer in Catalonia, you know there are so many music festivals in Catalonia, and probably this one is one of the most international festivals with the best in dance and lyricism ant this year they celebrate their 29th edition.
The Festival de Peralada started in 1987, the business patronage of the festival is part of the Peralada Group's Corporate Social responsibility policy. One of their aims is to contribute into the cultural and music performance world, and they do with this amazing festival.
It is a unique initiative since it is a private one but has the support of more than 50 companies that sponsor the event year after year and it is very loved by the public. The concerts vary year after year but there very known names, from Tom Jones to Juan Manuel Serrat, ballet performances, opera etc...
Have a look at how the Festival looks like in the video below:
The festival runs every year at summer time from July to August, in 2015 you still have time to book your tickets and enjoy music in a privileged location. These are some of the dates and performances that will take place in this 2015 edition.
Costa Brava has put together a web page this summer where you can check all festivals in Costa Brava that take place this 2015, it is categorized by genres and you can also see them in the calendar, so you know what's on when you would like to attend. There are 74 festivals categorized by 9 genres, and 330 unique venues, discover Catalonia as a local and find experience Catalonia festivals, discover them!
The tragedy of Otello, the moor of Venice by Verdi
The truth is that since I saw the film Pretty Woman I always wondered what would be my first impression about watching an Opera. It is said that opera can only create in you two feelings: love or hate. It was defenitely love for me, there are so many things into play: words and songs, the scene with all the performance and the feelings that the singers transmit with their voices.
Otello is a moorish captain in Venice, and the main character of the piece that also involves his lovely wife Desdemona, his loyal lieutenant Cassio and Iago, his trusted but unfaithful ensign. Iago works against Otello but making him gain his trust,
The bariton, Carlos Álvarez represents Iago, he was my favorite, very expressive and amazing voice. Gregory Kunde was Otello and Eva-Maria Westbroek (Desdémona), two voices that seemed one in their duets. Otello has a bit of everything, love, passion, jealousy, treason, and death, very Shakespeare kind of story.
Otello has been accompanied by the choir of El Gran teatre del Liceuwho have sung in the different acts of the piece of stage. Impressive set design, minimalist but there has been thought put into it, versatile for different locations and scenes. What caught my eye is that the set design is Km0 as we call it, it has been created in workshops from l'Empordà and Alt Empordà, near the area.
In the end of the piece, everyone was ecstatic, and there were loud applauses, and not only that but also you could here people's feet hitting the floor as a signal of enthusiasm and a good sign of the approval by the audience.
If you would like to see Otello, you still have a chance, in February 2016 they will do the performance in Teatro Calderón in Valladolid and in summer 2016 in Macerata Opera Festival in Italy. Don't miss out!
Castell de Peralada as a venue
The Peralada castle is an incredible venue to hold any kind of event, from a wedding to a music festival. The castle that can be seen nowadays comes from a renovation done on 19th century when the Renaissance facade was done. In Peralada a first castle was built by the viscounts of Peralada, but it was destroyed on 13th century, the remains of the original structure can be seen in the upper part of town.
On the 13th century a new castle was built outside the line of the new walls and it is the origin of the one that still stands today, that has gone through some renovations in 19th century that give the appearance of today. In 1923 the family Mateu are the owners and not all the castle can be visited, there is a Casino hosted inside the castle and you can see it from the inside.
The Museum of Peralada offers visits to the library, the gardens, and the museum. During the months of July and August, the gardens of the castle remain opened due to the Festival de Peralada so it is a good occasion to visit them and for free!
The gardens of the castle are very interesting, designed by François Duvillers on 19th century. There are 158 types of plants and trees. In the same gardens there is a family of white storks that live in the gardens, they are beautiful animals and are around the lake near the castle most of the time.
For those who don't know, Peralada is a famous brand of wine, they offer full experiences related with wine apart from the festival and their Casino. They keep the winemaking tradition alive of the area that already started in the 14th century with the carmelite monks who lived in the area. The family Mateu produces Empordà wines that have unique qualities thanks to the Empordà soil.
There are tours around wine making, you can go around the Malaveïna vineyards, access the 5000 barrel room and the medieval cave where wine was made in ancient times. Peralada offers a full experience with wine and luxury activities, they have a hotel called Hotel Peralada Golf & Wine Spa, a luxury hotel with a spa focused on wine treatments.
How to get to Festival de Peralada
The festival has a detailed page on how to get there from France and different parts in Catalonia.
By train: You can get the AVE to Figueres from Madrid, Zaragoza, Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida or Girona. Figueres station is 15 minutes away from Perelada and there is a regular bus service into town and also a taxi service.
By Bus: There is a shuttle bus service on performance days at the auditorium. The bus will leave Barcelona (Rda. St. Pere, 21) at 6 pm and will return from Peralada when the concert finishes. The price is 35€ and there are limited places, so make sure you book in advance.
By car: we got there by car, it is by far the easiest way, and I would recommend you to stay somewhere near by since the performances are at night and if you need to go back to Barcelona or another destination that is far it might be a tiering trip back. Stay for a night an discover the area, there are plenty of things to do.
Disclaimer: I was invited by Costa Brava Girona Festivals, but as always the opinion is my own.