LA CAPELLA REIAL DE CATALUNYA
|© Andreu Coca|
Out of their conviction that the roots and cultural traditions of a country are always a decisive influence in the expression of its musical language, Montserrat Figueras and Jordi Savall founded La Capella Reial in 1987 as one of the first vocal groups to devote itself to performing music from Spain's Golden Age on historical principles and employing solely Hispanic and Latin voices.
Taking up the model of the medieval "Royal Chapels" for which the sacred and secular masterpieces were composed in the Iberian Peninsula, this new "Capella Reial", which was renamed La Capella Reial de Catalunya in 1990, is the result of over 13 years' research and performance in the sphere of early music. Together with Hespèrion XX - founded in 1974 - and with the chief aim of deepening and widening fields of research into the specific characteristics of the pre-1800 Hispanic and European polyphonic and vocal heritage, the hallmark of this group is an approach to performance with the emphasis on the quality of the vocal sound and its adaptation to the style of the period concerned - such as declaiming and expressively projecting the poetic text of the works - while always remaining true to the deep spiritual and artistic dimension of each work. Under the direction of Jordi Savall, the group pursues a busy schedule of concerts and recordings, and it has been performing from the outset in the main early-music festivals all over the world. Its repertoire and main recordings, released in over 25 CDs, covers everything from the Cantigas of Alfons X el Savi and El Llibre Vermell de Montserrat down to Mozart's requiem, taking in on the way the Song Books of the Spanish Golden Age and the works of the great Renaissance and Baroque masters from Catalonia, Spain and Europe such as Mateu Flecha, Cristóbal de Morales, Francisco Guerrero, Tomás Luís de Victoria, Joan Cererols, Claudio Monteverdi, H.I. Von Biber, as well as Sephardic songs,the music for El Misteri d'Elx, the ballads relating to Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote, and fifteenth-century Hispanic music from the time of Queen Isabella I of Castile and Christopher Columbus.
Highlights included the soundtrack for the film Jeanne La Pucelle (1993) by Jacques Rivette on the life of Joan of Arc, and the operas Una cosa rara by Vicent Martín y Soler and L'Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi, which were put on in the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona (in 1991 and 1993) and in the Teatro Real in Madrid (1999), the Wiener Konzerthaus (2001) and the Teatro Reggio di Torino (2002) and again in the newly rebuilt Liceu de Barcelona (2002), a DVD having been made of that performance (BBC- Opus Arte). It was also performed in the Palais des Arts in Brussels (2006) and in Opéra de Bordeaux (2007). That opera by Monteverdi and his Vespro, were performed at the inaugural concert of the Edinburgh Festival in 2007 by the Capella Reial de Catalunya.
As a well-established ensemble, it has been awarded many distinctions and prizes over recent years, prominent among which are the "Grands Prix de l'Académie du Disque Français" and of the "Académie Charles Cros", "Diapason d'Or" awards, "Prix de l'Académie du Disque Lyrique", "Orphée d'Or", FNAC's "Grand Prix du Disque Classique", "Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque", "Premio Fundazione Giorgio Cini (Venecia)", "Prix CD Compact", "Premio CD Compact del año", "Diapason d'Or de l'année" and two MIDEM 2005 awards for the recording Miguel de Cervantes: Don Quijote de la Mancha, a book-CD that was also nominated for the Grammy Awards in 2007.
La Capella Reial de Catalunya has been sponsored by the Government of Catalonia since 1990.