A party in 18th century Spain
It is still very unusual to find 18th century Spanish villancicos in concert programmes today. With our Sarao, we aim to give this repertoire its rightful place, focusing precisely on the very theatrical and popular aspects that made the villancico an unknown, and even repudiated, genre until very recently.
The programme comprises a set of tonadillas, jácaras and cantadas by Juan Francés de Iribarren (1699-1767), maestro de capilla at Malaga Cathedral, and by his very interesting but not so well-known counterpart at the Cathedral at Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Diego Pérez de Camino (ca. 1735-1796). We aim to conjure up the atmosphere of an 18th century celebration, with its uninhibited mixing of genres and brilliant combination of theatre, dance and music coming together to form a spectacular entertainment. The aesthetics, poetry and music of these villancicos and cantadas stem directly from popular theatre with its characteristic tonadillas and seguidillas. They combine a range of styles that go from traditional Hispanic to popular dance, the new galant style and early classicism.
Our performance strives to offer all these qualities of the work by Iribarren and Camino, with the flexibility, fluidity and vivacity that this repertoire requires. Both masters fully exploit the technical potential of the different voices and instruments, making their works very demanding for the musicians, in spite of their popular and even folksong inspiration. The performers have to be accustomed to this repertoire to offer the necessary virtuosity, lightness and clarity, and the soloists must be accomplished artists. Opera Omnia is committed to doing justice to this music, applying the same ingenuity and vitality to it as the composers did.