Josep Carreras and Ainhoa Arteta: A Luxury Opening Concert for the 6th Edition of the Festival Jardins Pedralbes

Last Wednesday, 6 June, Josep Carreras and Ainhoa Arteta offered an amazing concert together in Barcelona, which marked the opening the 6th edition of the Festival Jardins Pedralbes. They were accompanied by the Arts Symphony Ensemble Orchestra, composed of musician from Liceu and OBC (Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya), under the baton of David Giménez.

Photo: Festival Jardins Pedralbes (Facebook)


The proceeds of the concert, which was broadcast live by the Spanish Television RTVE La2, will support the project Para los Valientes, a Sant Joan de Deu Hospital's initiative for the creation of the largest children's cancer institute of Europe.
The full video of the concert is available either on the RTVE website (A la carta), or on YouTube.

Carreras and Arteta equally shared the program, which included mostly opera, zarzuela and songs from the popular repertoire. The tenor performed first, and it was great to see him back on stage again after a few month break, but from the very first notes of Tosti's L'Ultima Canzone it was like he hadn't stopped a single day: his voice was in a good shape, the beauty of his passionate phrasing was still there, and he even pitched an Ab with no hesitation. After that, he chose Les neus de les muntanyes from Catalan sarsuela "Cançó d'amor i de guerra", a beautiful and emotional tribute to his homeland and compatriots, and he kept delighting the audience with his masterful use of mezza voce.

On his turn, Ainhoa Arteta was very appreciated as well: she began with Isaac Albéniz's La Lontananza and Morirò, then portrayed Carmen by offering two of the most popular excerpts of Bizet's masterwork, Seguidilla and the Habanera. After that, the Basque soprano joined Carreras for their first duet, a lovely version of Satie's Je te veux, and closed the first part with ¿Qué te importa que no venga? from zarzuela "Los Claveles".

Josep Carreras opened the second part with a wonderful rendition of the Derevitsky's Serenata Sincera, as sweet as ever and most of all expressively sincere as the title says, then followed by Valente's Passione, which is without doubts another forte of the legendary tenor.

After his last solo song, The Impossible Dream by "The Man of La Mancha", it was time for the second duet with Ainhoa Arteta: their rendition of El dúo de la Africana was extremely entertaining, they looked at each other and really identified with their role besides singing it... another proof of the good chemistry between them. At the end, they received an enthusiastic standing ovation and flowers.

Actually Josep Carreras sang more in the second part than the soprano, who was predominant in the first part instead: her only solo song was La Canción de Paloma from zarzuela "El Barberillo de Lavapiés".

Besides the two singers, the Arts Symphony Ensemble offered three solo performances: at the very beginning they opened the concert with the Farandole from Bizet's "L'Arlésienne Suite", later in the first part it was time for Shostakovich's Jazz Suite, Waltz 2, and in the second part they played the intermezzo from La Boda de Luis Alonso.

At the end of the official program, not less than nine encores were offered to the audience. Carreras insisted with Neapolitan songs and have two extraordinary, overwhelming renditions of Core 'ngrato at the beginning and Dicitencello Vuje at the very end. 
After that, he opted for a Catalan sardana song, La Santa Espina, which sounded as a very clear message, as you can notice from the very first line "Som i serem gent catalana, tant si es vol com si no es vol": the audience clearly got it and reacted with a thunderous ovation in sign of approval. 

Right when you believed that the general mood couldn't be more on fire, Josep Carreras started singing Frank Sinatra's My Way. It wasn't just a sincere and heart-felt interpretation of his favourite song ever, but so much more than that. For sure, it is a meaningful song that shouldn't miss in his concert at this point of his professional career. Just force yourself to enjoy it for the amazing song it is, and avoid adapting every single line to his personal context and life, otherwise you'll be totally overwhelmed by emotions. 

Ainhoa Arteta chose two arias by Puccini, O mio babbino caro from "Gianni Schicchi" and Quando me'n vò from "La Bohème", and I could have danced all night from "My Fair Lady".

Two more duets in this part: Non ti scordar di me and the Brindisi from La Traviata, closed a very special concert that the audience has appreciated a lot, as revealed by the bravos, the standing ovations at the end of the official program and after each encore, and the huge amount of flowers and gifts the tenors received from down the stage.