Friday, 20 June 2008

Muerte, Danza y Ensalada

To the Chelsea Festival for I Fagiolini's programme 'Muerte, Danza y Ensalada - Death, Dance and Salad', which performed Spanish music from the 15th century, culminating in a pair of Ensaladas, the Salads of the title.

Just 4 singers, a harpist and a guy doubling on lute and vihuela but the results were magical. Each half ended in one of the long Ensaladas. La viuda and El Fuego. This latter was dramatised and included an exorcism, with 2 brave members of the audience.

I Fagiolini are a wonderfully communicative group and even though doing the concert in the sober surroundings of St. Luke's Church n Chelsea, managed to conjure the right atmosphere.

Robert Hollingworth provided enlightening and witty introductions to each group of songs. The group's diction was such that it was easy to follow the Spanish/English texts provided for the audience. Towards the end of the evening the house lights were brought up, at Hollingworth's suggestion, to allow the audience to be able to read their texts.

The only blot was that the concert was nearly 20 minutes late starting. Perhaps it was because the audience seemed unable to arrive; at the advertised starting time the church was nearly empty and people were still arriving at 7.50pm. But it might also be because the Festival ran out of copies of the texts of the songs, rather an oversight; so they had to send someone to copy more.

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