In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, La Ritirata and Josetxu Obregón have created a programme for Glossa sallying forth on the back of music composed by Antonio Caldara and inspired by El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha.
Antonio Caldara was neither the first nor the last composer to have his compositional ingenuity sparked off by Cervantes’ timeless masterpiece. He may well have been propelled forwards by his own experiencing the Spanish soundscape within a century of the publication of the two parts of the Don Quijote: Barcelona was a working “port of call” for Caldara after Mantua and Rome and before Vienna. For the Viennese court he wrote a pair of operas (with librettos by GC Pasquini): Don Chisciotte in Corte della Duchessa and Sancio Panza Governatore dell’isola Barattaria, and from these works Obregón – like Caldara also a cellist– has put together a selection of arias.
Soloists María Espada, Emiliano González Toro and João Fernandes invest their abundant collective artistry in bringing to life a rapid series of Cervantine characters, not least the Spanish knight and his squire.
Interspersed between these vocal contributions are a series of instrumental ballets composed for these operas by Nicola Matteis, who also worked at the Viennese court. In the booklet essay Begoña Lolo and Adela Presas set the scene for Caldara’s contribution to the musical legacy of Don Quixote.
photos © Noah Shaye