The Community Arts Music Association, CAMA, will present a remarkable “Masterseries” concert at the Lobero Theater at 8 p.m. Thursday.
The event bears the evocative title, Christopher Columbus: Lost Paradises, which is followed by the subtitle/description, “Lights and Shadows in the Age of Columbus: History and Poetry in dialogue, with Arabo-Andalusian, Jewish and Christian music of Ancient Hesperia until the discovery of the New World.”
Under the overall direction of Jordi Savall — master of the viola da gamba and champion of all the beautiful music we have never heard — the production will star soprano Montserrat Figueras; narrator Manuel Forcano (Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, Latin and Nahuatl); narrador Nestor Serrano (English translated from Spanish); the five-member vocal ensemble, La Capella Reial De Catalunya; and the nine-piece ensemble, mainly instrumental, Hespèrion XXI.
The program provides a chronological tour of the Western Mediterranean in the15th century, principally offering musical-textual snapshots of the significant dates in the life of Christopher Columbus. It begins with a prophecy from Seneca’s tragedy, Medea (with a text quoted and translated by Columbus in his Book of Prophecies), and ends with a passage by Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, about the Chacona, “This mulatta indian who comes to us from the Indias.”
The year 1492 has three-fold significance in Spanish history. Not only was it the year in which the monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, sent Columbus to find a new route to China, in the course of which he found a New World. But it was also the year in which Granada, the last Islamic city on the peninsula, fell to the Spanish armies of the “Reconquista,” and the year in which the Spanish Jews were expelled from their homes.
No matter how esoteric, not to say obscure, this concert might seem, it is certain to be a mesmerizing, haunting evening, full of gorgeous music and poignant words. The name Jordi Savall is the key and guarantee of its success. Savall is perhaps best known to American audiences — except that fanatical minority devoted to baroque and pre-baroque instruments and music — for his work on the soundtrack of the film Tous les matins du monde, which starred Gerard Depardieu as the 17th century French composer, Marin Marais. He is truly in a class by himself.
Tickets to Lost Paradises are $45 and $35, and are available from the Lobero Theatre box office Web site or by calling 805.963.0761. They are also available from CAMA at 805.966.4324.