It is an exciting day for us at Zêzere Arts. Today we announce the formation of a festival chorus as part of this year’s Festival of Opera, Song and Singing. Singers are offered the amazing opportunity to spend a week living and performing in the Convento de Cristo in Tomar. It is made possible with the support of the Convento de Cristo and the government of Portugal.
It is the stuff of dreams. The Convento de Cristo in Tomar is one of the most spectacular buildings you will ever visit. It was the centre of activity of the Knights Templar at the height of their power in Portugal. The whole region is influenced by Templar history. Within the walls of the castle and convent it is easy to imagine yourself back to those times.
If you are reading this, it is probably because you love to sing. Most of us who love to sing the great music of the past also love to be able sense the people who first sang and heard it. Years ago I sang a new mass setting at Salzburg Cathedral. When we arrived we were shown down to the choir room to rehearse. My over-riding sensation was that I was in a room Mozart would have rehearsed in. That sensation lasted as we went up to perform, heightened by the fact that on this occasion we were singing new music, just as Mozart’s singers would have been.
If you are free to come to Portugal for a week in August you can stay at the Convento and spend your days rehearsing and performing. Oh! and enjoying sunshine and good food!
You will sing in the final concert of the Zêzere Arts Festival and give a formal concert at the Convento. But there is more to this. Our brief includes the ‘animation of the space’ with musical events throughout the week. The building is full of nooks and crannies and cloisters and balconies ripe to surprise the passing tourists with live music as they visit this great place of history. You don’t come here just as a member of another large chorus. You come here to form a group of musicians whose job is bring music to life in the building. You will be encouraged and helped to form smaller groups to give informal performances.
The region will be alive over the course of the festival, with the company rehearsing and performing 3 operas and various other concerts. The festival chorus will work closely with the festival company and there will be many opportunities to sing together.
All the more formal information is on our Festival Chorus page, programming, prices, accommodation etc. I hope this whets your vocal appetite. I can’t wait! It has been a long time in the planning and we only just made it for this year. We would love you to be in the first Zêzere Arts Festival Chorus. Send me in your thoughts, ideas and questions……….