Festival de Música Antigua de Mahón
by Gloria Vanni
«I have a dream: I would like to bring early music to the Teatro Principal De Maó».
This is how, I remember, Alexander Hopkins greeted me at the end of our interview, in October 2020, president of the cultural association La Galatea, internationally renowned luthier and creator with Maria Antonietta Muggianu, his soprano wife, of the Festival de Música Antigua de Mahón.
A festival which, thanks to its tried and tested organisation, last year
stood up to the pandemic and its creators, given the great demand, had to double the shows on the programme. Therefore, I am not surprised to discover that on Sunday 21 November 2021, at 7 p.m., the Teatro Principal De Maó will host a 90-minute show entitled ‘Ingenious Labyrinths‘ with Xavier Díaz (baroque guitar) and Pedro Estevan (percussion).
It is the closing concert of the 9th edition of the Festival de Música Antigua de Mahón, scheduled from 6 to 21 November 2021, six events plus, as usual, a two-day masterclass for young artists from the island. And excuse me for getting caught up in Alexander’s dreams and enthusiasm and starting from the end instead of the beginning, but… Xavier Díaz Latorre, the great master and internationally recognised artist of baroque music, is one of his idols!
Shall we go back to the beginning? So, first of all I would like to remind you that this year’s festival is once again being held in the Sala d’Audiències del Carme, on the first floor of the Claustre del Carme.
If you want, you can book – I recommend it! – by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +34 633 436 600. Then, apart from the appointment at the Mahon Theatre which costs 10 euros (tickets on sale from 5 October), entry to the concerts is free. However, it is customary to support the festival with donations, a voluntary contribution at the end of each show.
Free entry also on Saturday 23 October, at 12 noon, at the Talaiot in Trepucó (Camí de Gràcia, Trepucó, Mahon) for the opening show of about 20 minutes with press conference.
The theme of the 9th edition is archaeology. The idea comes from Alexander, who as a luthier and lover of Italian and Spanish baroque music continues to study and decides to build two examples of the Saxon lyre. «Archaeology understood from different points of view, as confirmed by our meeting with the British archaeologist, adopted from Menorca, Dylan Cox.
As well as studying archaeology in Egypt, Syria and Great Britain, he is also an artist who plays the Celtic harp. A synthesis of his work is scheduled for Saturday 13 November, at 7 p.m. », says Maria Antonietta Muggianu.
Musical archaeology on the 6th of November in Mahon (Claustre del Carme) and on the 7th in Ciutadella (Iglesia del Socors, Carrer des Seminari 9). With the guests of the first show, Alessia Luongo and Manuel Pernazza, two Italians who do commedia dell’arte from the 1600s and are investigators of this genre. He is a specialist and heir to the character of Pulcinella. They created the Compagnia dell’arte and their show “Pulcinellarte” is an amazing mix of acting with puppets and music with Mario Garau (colascione) and Alexander Hopkins (guitar). As was the case in 2019 with the famous Italian soprano Elisabetta Scano, the festival also moves to Ciutadella and the magical combination of Italy and Menorca is repeated thanks, among other things, to ancient music.
The festival continues on Sunday 14 November in Mahon, again at 7 pm, with two French artists, Thierry Meunier and Jean-Marie Poirier. Lute scholars, they form the group A Due Liuti and offer a concert on the 1500s with an unusual and uncommon repertoire for two.
On Saturday 20 November, the stage of the Sala d’Audiències del Carme will be taken by Patricia Romero: the talented artist from Es Mijorn Gran will accompany the voice of soprano María Victoria Vicente on the harpsichord. It is a concert/recital about the use of the harpsichord at the Spanish court.
Sunday 21 November, grand finale with Xavier Díaz Latorre and Pedro Estevan at the Teatro Principal De Maó: got tickets? As I write this article, I’m thinking that the festival’s tenth anniversary is just around the corner, and who knows what the passion and creativity of Alexander Hopkins and Antonietta Muggianu will come up with for 2022. They have only whispered about more concerts throughout the year with a highlight in November and, since dreaming big costs as much as dreaming small, we just need to arm ourselves with patience and wait to be surprised. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the IX edition where, among sponsors and supporters, there is also Casa Bonita Menorca because union is strength!
To find out more, consult the La Galatea website
and updates also on the Facebook page