Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ Opens Granada Festival in Tribute to COVID-19 Victims

By Chris Ruel

The 69th Grenada Festival opened its 32-day extravaganza of music with a solemn performance of Mozart’s “Requiem” at the Granada Cathedral.

Soloists soprano Katharina Konradi, countertenor Carlos Mena, tenor Xabier Anduaga and bass-baritone Carlos Álvarez joined the Grenada Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Andrea Marcon.

The Archbishopric of Granda co-produced the performance with “la Caixa” Foundation. “la Caixa” is leading social work among groups left unprotected during the ongoing pandemic. Concert proceeds will be donated to Cáritas Diocesana and the Food Bank of Granada.

Running through July 26th, the Festival highlights 136 pieces anchored by the works of Beethoven. The composer’s complete catalog of Symphonies and Concertos will be presented in honor of his 250th birthday. The Festival program also includes compositions by Bach, Mozart, and Debussy.

Spanish compositions feature heavily in the line-up with 35 works penned by composers whose music was influenced by the Alhambra. World premieres of two Festival-commissioned works by Alfredo Aracil are scheduled, as well.

Newly installed Festival director, Antonio Moral, organized the program in a mere 15 days. Moral expanded and extended the Festival, completely redesigning the events because of the pandemic. Most concerts will occur outdoors in historic venues within the Alhambra and the old town of Granada.

Director Moral stated in the press release that the “Granada Festival was founded in 1883 and is, therefore, one of the oldest in Europe. We will show from this summer on, how Granada will become a key player in the international Festival landscape thanks to an attractive program and the incomparable setting of the Alhambra with its astounding variety of venues.”

Beginning on Sunday, June 28th, the Digital Granada Festival will be filmed in various venues across the city with the concerts streaming on the Festival’s website. The Digital Festival will showcase six soloists: guitarists Pepe Romero and Cañizares; flamenco singer Rocío Márquez; pianist Javier Perinales; viola de gamba player and conductor Jordi Savall; and violinist Fabio Biondi.

Seventy-seven artists — 60 from Spain — are slated to perform, including soprano Nadine Sierra and baritone Carlos Álvarez. Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman will lead the Orquestra Ciudad Granada’s performance of Beethoven’s five piano concertos from the bench. Russian pianist Igor Levit will make his Festival debut with a special recital at the Patio de los Arrayanes, playing the composer’s final three sonatas.

Famed conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim will make a special appearance, performing Beethoven’s Sonata No. 31 op. 110, as well as the “Diabelli Variations,” op. 120 during a benefit recital. Monies from the recital will be donated to the Red Cross to assist victims of COVID-19.