Review: The Queen comes to Granada

Review: The Queen comes to Granada

Antonio Moral’s final festival as saviour-director of the Granada Festival opened this weekend with two bangs.

The rarely-sighted Kirill Petrenko gave an explosive Bruckner fifth with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, a performance which ended with the young players jumping up and dancing the paso double. If this was Petrenko’s first interpretation of a Bruckner symphony, you would never have known such was his deft calibration of the composer’s incapacity to finish a phrase without remembering something else he wanted to include.

The 70-minute open-air reading at the ancient palace in Alhambra was leisurely and summery. The opening night was notably devoid of puffed-up patrons and dignitaries. This was Bruckner for the people, by the people. I have never seen so many musicians smile so often, and so inwardly, during a Bruckner symphony. Petrenko, normally a shy man, partied with the players past three in the morning.

Moral, 68, is leaving Granada after turning the festival around from pinchpenny provincialism to a prosperous culture magnet that attracts the world’s top performers, and more. Hearing he was leaving the job, Queen Sophia came by second night to show her personal appreciation. This time, the national dance company of Spain did the paso doble.

Amazing nights in the gardens of Spain, ole!


photo: Beckmesser

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