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The Archduke’s festival

This past Friday 27 July the music ensemble Vespres d’Arnadí, with the soprano Mariví Blasco and the actor Elies Barberà, premiered the production "La festa de l’arxiduc” (The Archduke’s Feast), a concert-performance which will soon be travelling to other festivals and venues. Based on pieces from the large amount of music created in the period of the War of Spanish Succession (1700-1714) selected and transcribed by the musicologist Josep Dolcet, the conductor Josep Lluís Guardiola wrote and directed the story of a fictional baroque feast put on by a Valencian aristocrat for Charles of Austria (Charles III). But the defeat at Almansa and the subsequent taking of Lleida by the supporters of Philip V (1707) lead to the cancellation of the fiesta and the introduction of French influences alongside the Italian and Spanish styles of the first part of the production. The press has lauded this unusual initiative celebrating the three-hundredth anniversary of the two abovementioned historical events, and which was the centrepiece of the concert to honour the memory of Ernest Lluch organized each summer by the Torroella de Montgrí Music Festival, and which was preceded by the conference by Joan Francesc Mira on the historic context of the music heard in the production. Four of the works in the production are published or are being prepared for publication by Tritó: the 18 Anonymous 18th-Century Catalan Dances, Suite III by Charles Desmazures, the Overture from Dafni, by the Baron of Astorga; and Cantate sur la prise de Lérida, by Jean-Baptiste Stuck, which was performed for the first time since its rediscovery.