Garden Party concert of the year, romantic music and champagne

By Beverly Russell

Pro Musica’s magic carpet to a wonderland of fantasy and music takes off on the Garden Party Concert of the Year, held in an exquisite private enclave in Colonia Guadiana, with a glistening pool, butterflies flitting among the trees and flowers and fairy lights twinkling over the stage as dusk falls. The musical program performed by the expanded Sinfonieta Potosina under the baton of Maestro Antonio Cabrero will recreate a Royal-Ascot-Opening-Day-Party atmosphere redolent of “My Fair Lady.” The afternoon has it all — glamour, beauty, romantic melodies and boatloads of champagne. During an extended intermission a hundred bottles of bubbly will be uncorked and 3,000 canapés offered to treat guests. It will be a memorable finale to the Pro Musica season.

Party Concert: Pro Musica Champagne Garden Party w/Sinfonieta Potosina. Sun, Mar 16, 5pm. Potranca 15, Guadiana. Tickets: 450 pesos,  La Tienda, Biblioteca, La Conexion, Bajiogo

 As to the music, a leitmotif of fairytales enhances the magic of the afternoon, with nearly all the pieces coming from the same era of Victorian extravaganza, and most notably composed by Johann Strauss II, (1825-1899) familiarly known as “The Waltz King.” The program begins with the overture from Strauss’s operetta Die Fledermaus (The Bat), premiered in 1874, set in Vienna, a delightful story of love and mixed identities. This is followed by three famous and popular pieces from Edvard Grieg’s Op. 23 Peer Gynt suite — “Morning,” “Anitra’s Dance,” and “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” This suite began as incidental music for Henrik Ibsen’s eponymous play inspired by a legendary Norwegian folk story of an adventurous wanderer. The third work is Ravel’s exotic Bolero which since the movie Ten starring Bo Derek hardly needs further description. To signal the upcoming intermission, the orchestra concludes the first half with Strauss’s lilting Champagne Polka, as dozens of corks start to explode. Returning to their seats from the many champagne bars and food stations set up throughout the garden, the audience will hear Strauss’s Tales from the Vienna Woods, written in 1868. This cluster of six waltzes recalls the folk music of the Vienna woods and marks the turning point in Austrian cultural history when village dances suddenly became an acceptable pleasure to fashionable Viennese society and which are still danced to this day in the famous Opera House every New Year’s Eve. The Swan Lake fairytale of a beautiful princess turned into a swan by an evil witch and saved by Prince Charming, was put to music by Peter Tchaikovsky and first performed as a ballet by the Bolshoi Company in Russia in 1877. The six pieces comprising the orchestral suite from the ballet continue the romantic mood and include folk dances in various genres. Finally, the evening concludes with the familiar The Washington Post march, one of 136 patriotic tunes by American composer John Philip Sousa, who also wrote Semper Fidelis and Stars and Stripes Forever. These rousing tunes were loved by people on both sides of the Atlantic around the turn of the 19th century when they enjoyed leisurely summer afternoon strolls by the seaside, and entertaining concerts held in whimsically decorated bandstands. As Pro Musica guests steal away into the evening from this final concert of the season they will surely take with them enduring thoughts of both then and now.

All tickets for the Garden Party concert are on sale at La Tienda in the Biblioteca, Insurgents, 25; La Conexion, Aldama 3; Bajiogo, Jesus 11 and St. Paul’s church office, Calle Cardo 6 from Mon-Fri, 11am-4pm.

Beverly Russell,, author of several books on the arts, and a new book Espacios, Jardines de San Miguel, is a resident of San Miguel and writes regularly for Atención San Miguel.

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