BUSSETO BEAR FESTIVITIES IN BIFLUVIAL HAUPTSTADT
ORIOL BUSQUETS I ROVELLONS REPORTS
The Onyar Hauptstadt was the venue for the recent Busseto Bear Centenial
Hommage. And what a fitting venue it was, endowed with the noble melodic
pedigree of its native Albeniz and its neighbour Granados! Standing proudly
between mountain and sea in bifluvial majesty, fiercely resisting the
incursions of the Gallic hordes, its grand plain mirroring the fertile
fields of the Emilian countryside, its porticoed lyric bistros abuzz with
comment and rumour, at times we felt as if we were in Busseto itself.
Albeit the scholarly erudites have so far failed to make it clear whether
the maestro himself sojourned in these lands, but the pages of his most
tumultuous score, echoing to the characters and sentiments of its mountain
valleys, make us feel that he knew this area intimately.
It is scarcely surprising that this superbly propitious natural setting has
nurtured generations of its own breed of lyric intepreters - illustrious
members of the Ecole Onyar, among whom figure Amador Famadas, Josep
Carreras, and Dalmau Gonzalez to mention but a few. Moreover, the perennial
vibrant attachment to the sardana in its vocalic mode, as well as the
habanera in lusty descant, has provided a fertile cyclical canorial nursery
of young singers destined for the lyric stage. In addition its gastronomy
and alimentary nourrishment, second to none, breeds the healthy physique
required of a sturdy Arrigo, Abigaile, or Rolando.
For these festivities, the bijou municipal theatre proved too small for a
monumental Aida, while the bullring, victim to postautonomous ethical
postures, could not be put to this use for a sumptous Alzira-Vespri
potpourri. And so, sensibly enough, the musical soirées were held in the
noble Arts Centre, so close to the Onyar itself that the Pont de Pedra
could be viewed at the interval. On show over this memorable lyric week,
were some young stars of the day, including Blanca-Esther Moreno, Josep
Fadó, and the splendidly named Manuel Viñuales Baix, who gave spirited
renderings of well and lesser known pieces of the Busseto maestro.
The presentations and ridotto social intercourse were conducted in a
strange-sounding patois, full of dark diphthongs and graceless consonantal
clusters, very unlyrical, which seemed to be designed to confuse outsiders,
and, not suprising, had been severely repressed by various military
heads-of state who could not understand it and therefore considered it
seditious - equating it in fact with communism and/or paganism. However,
after a few glasses of Gran Recosint, the excellent local vino negro, this
local patois sounded so appealing and melodious as the evening wore on that
one began to ask why more opera librettos had not been set to it.
Apparently a local composer, Felip Pedrell, a sort of ersatz dago Wagner,
had composed a Ring Cycle, featuring the Onyar in lieu of the Rhine, but
it was not clear whether his libretto had been in this striking patois
(probably it was) or in another sister idiolect of more universal dimension.
We warmly congratulate the organisers of this memorable week, confirming
the Onyar Hauptstadt as the second most important lyric venue in the