Peralada festival kicks off with a top-notch ballet festival

The 31st edition of the event, which ends on August 17, will combine classical music, opera, and modern music, and feature productions such as Puccini’s Madame Butterfly 

Ballet dance company Béjart Ballet Lausanne performance at the 31st Peralada festival 1
Ballet dance company Béjart Ballet Lausanne performance at the 31st Peralada festival 1 / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

July 7, 2017 02:48 PM

Ballet, classical music, opera and modern music will meet in Peralada this summer. The 31st edition of the Festival Castell de Peralada, which will bring together national and international performances in the Northeastern Catalan town through August, 17, kicked off on Thursday with a performance by top ballet company Béjart Ballet Lausanne. Around 1,700 people witnessed a show full of sensitivity and delicate moments in an emotional, personal and intimate atmosphere, with simple staging and almost no lighting. It was the fourth visit of the Swiss group to the outdoor Empordanese venue.

The performance had two parts, the first of which was a tribute to the group’s founder and one of the most well-known ballet dancers in history, Maurice Béjart, who died in 2007. The choreography, titled ‘t’M et variations…’, astonished and moved the audience as dancers performed a scene following the rhythm of a song only made up of noises. The second part, ‘Béjart fête Maurice’, was a sample of intimate choreographies created by Béjart between 1977 and 1993, including ‘1789… et nous’, which was performed for the first time in Paris for the bicentennial of the French Revolution.

Thursday's ballet show was the first one this summer in Peralada, which will host 25 performances. Some of the highlights include classical music singers Gregory Kunde (August, 6), Iréne Theorin (August, 2) and Ainhoa Arteta (August, 4), and opera productions will also have their moment with Puccini’s ‘Madame Butterfly’ (August 7 and 9), ‘Dido i Eneas’ and ‘La straordinaria vita de Sugar Blood’.

Béjart Ballet Lausanne will also perform this Friday, while a choreography of ‘The Beauty and Beast’ by Frenchman Thierry Malandain will be on stage in July 28. Modern music concert-goers will have the opportunity to enjoy some shows, such as Brian Ferry (July, 21), Franco Battiato (July, 22), Katie Melua (July, 25) James Rhodes (August, 11), Malú (August, 10), Jarabe de Palo (August, 15) or Diego ‘el Cigala (August, 12). 

The Peralada festival is held in the gardens of the iconic castle in the town, close to painter Salvador Dalí’s birthplace, Figueres. Some of the most famous operas featured at the event in the past include The Barber of Seville, Otello, The Magic Flute, La Traviata, and Don Giovanni. International well-known solo artists such as Catalans Montserrat Caballé, Josep Carreras, Jordi Savallor, and Joan Manuel Serrat have taken part in the festival in past years, alongside Woody Allen, Diana Krall, Chucho Valdés, Plácido Domingo, Paco de Lucía and directors Lorin Maazel and Daniel Barenboim.

This week another Catalan festival, Vijazz, will be held in central Vilafranca del Penedès, where this Friday to Sunday, jazz, wine, and cava will meet in a unique combination. A stage with jazz music will be surrounded by dozens of stalls where people can sample sausages and around 300 different kinds of wine and cava in the capital of Penedès, a region famous for such drinks. Enjoying food while listening to international-level music is what thousands of people expect to find in this town this weekend for the 11th year in a row.