Friday,February 24, 7:30pm at Trinity Center for Urban Life, Philadelphia
Saturday, February 25, 7:30pm at Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia
Sunday, February 26, 3:00pm at Christ Church Christiana Hundred, Wilmington
A pre-concert talk with Christa Patton and Damon Bonetti begins 45 minutes prior to each concert.
Inspired by the heroine of the romance La Bella Çelia, who broke all Ten Commandments for love – and didn’t regret it – Piffaro teams up with Damon Bonetti, co-founding artistic director of Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, to create a program that intersperses music and text to evoke the passion, drama, and humor of an evening in a Golden Age Spanish Theater.
The program was created by Piffaro’s Christa Patton and opens with the beautiful Çelia confessing startling news to her priest: she has broken all Ten Commandments for love. The musicians, along with actors J Hernandez and Amanda Robles, then commence probing that dangerous and delicious emotion as it was understood by composers and playwrights of 17th century Spain.
Guest artists on this program include countertenor, Drew Minter; soprano and “national artistic treasure” Julianne Baird (New York Times); J Hernandez, winner of the Phindie Critics Choice Award for Best Performance by a Supporting Actor; and Amanda Robles, a New York-based University of the Arts graduate.
Spanish artists proudly refused to adopt foreign fads whole cloth, instead developing a unique indigenous style of their own. Musical selections include ballad-like romances, liturgical music (the Church permeated Spanish life), dances, secular “pop” songs known as tonos humanos, and music composed for the stage by composers like Juan Hidalgo, harpist at the court of Philip IV and father of Spanish opera. All of the musical forces that found their way onto the Spanish stage will be present at this concert: harp (king of instruments in Spain), guitar, shawms to sound the blazing glory of the Spanish Church, and choirs of dulcians, whose name literally means “sweet.”
Texts from plays by Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, and Pedro Calderón have been selected by Bonetti, whose Philadelphia Artists’ Collective specializes in rarely performed classical plays. Excerpts will be interspersed with music and spoken in Spanish with English supertitles.