“The armed man” at the Festival Grec de Barcelona
During July and August, when many seek to escape the scorching heat of the city for more temperate regions, the City of Barcelona holds the Festval Grec de Barcelona year after year for those who remain at home. The cultural festival takes its name from its main venue, the Teatre Grec, an open-air theatre on Barcelona’s landmark hill, Montjuïc. The Teatre Grec, built in the style of an ancient amphitheatre for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition, provides a unique and impressive experience for audience and participants alike. The open-air performances begin after the onset of darkness, creating a magical atmosphere as the heat of the day yields to the cool of the summer evening.
As part of this year’s festival, Carl Jenkins’ “The Armed Man” was performed on July 13 by the long-standing Banda Municipal de Barcelona and the Coral Càrmina under the direction of Salvador Brotons. This same work had been performed in 2011 by the Coral Càrmina together with the Audite Nova Choir in both the Basilika Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona and in the KKL Luzern. Continuing this collaboration, two singers from the Audite Nova Choir were pleased to accept the invitation to travel to Barcelona and join the Coral Càrmina for this year’s summer performance at the Festival Grec.
In contrast to last year’s performances, this year’s concert came closer to the essential theme of the work – the armed man as a figure of fear – by including the original video projections from the first performance in 2000 in London. Deeply affected by scenes from all the armed conflicts of the twentieth century combined with the urgency of Jenkins’ music, the audience, which warmly applauded in the beginning, quickly fell silent. This pensive atmosphere was only dispelled by the concluding number, “Better is Peace”, with its message of reconciliation and hope. After the last notes had died away under the night sky, the audience responded with an enthusiastic ovation for the orchestra, chorus and soloists, who in their turn acknowledged the enduring applause with an encore from “Better is Peace”