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Carlos Mena and Capilla Santa María present "De lo humano… y divino" –a tribute to Juan Hidalgo– at the Teatro de la Zarzuela
Mié, 07/05/2014
Countertenor and conductor Carlos Mena is to present De lo humano… y divino (On Things Human... and Divine) – a tribute to Spanish composer Juan Hidalgo – at the Teatro de la Zarzuela, in Madrid, in the year of the four-hundredth anniversary of Hidalgo’s birth. The show, stage-managed by Joan Anton Rechi, will be performed from the 14th to the 18th of May.
Carlos Mena @ Eneko Espino
Carlos Mena @ Eneko Espino

Countertenor and conductor Carlos Mena is to present De lo humano… y divino (On Things Human... and Divine) – a tribute to Spanish composer Juan Hidalgo – at the Teatro de la Zarzuela, in Madrid, in the year of the four-hundredth anniversary of Hidalgo’s birth. The show, stage-managed by Joan Anton Rechi, will be performed from the 14th to the 18th of May.

Mena will be performing with singers Alicia Amo, soprano, and José Antonio López, baritone, and the Capilla Santa María instrumental ensemble, which includes violin, violone de gamba, harpsichord, positive organ, archlute, baroque guitar, theorbo and percussion.

On Things Human... and Divine is a stage production based on ‘human’ and ‘divine’ tonos -solo compositions- that were prominent during the second half of the 17th century. These works were either religiously inspired (tonos divinos) or of the kind known as romance nuevo (tonos humanos): brief and powerful, highly expressive musical pieces that are sometimes compressed into a few phrases. “I decided to collect an offering of Hidalgo’s tonos with the aim of emphasising a well defined musical pattern,” says Carlos Mena when writing about the production. “I wanted to reflect Hidalgo’s art in its own musical essence, rather than linking it to the development of a preconceived theatrical work” (as would have been the case if one of Juan Hidalgo’s dramas for the stage had been chosen).

On Things Human... and Divine was thus not conceived originally as drama, but does highlight the powerful expressive and theatrical aspects of Hidalgo’s music. In addition to compositions by Juan Hidalgo, who was born in 1614 and died in 1685, other works by his contemporaries are also included in the production. Special attention is paid to compositions written for keyboards and guitar, since those instruments were the basis, in Mena’s own words “of the most fertile and varied instrumental tradition of the Spanish-speaking world in the 17th century”.

The production has entailed a huge effort of musicological and philological research, and will allow audiences to appreciate these ‘tonos’ in renderings that are based on scientific criteria, reflecting the music’s original modes of performance.

The show, stage-managed by artistic director Joan Anton Rechi, is to bring the current season of lyric drama at the Teatro de la Zarzuela to a brilliant close. Rechi has recently enjoyed great success with his new production of Massenet’s Werther at the Düsseldorf Opera House.