Preview of Casa Margarita at the Holywell Music Room
If you are looking for a something a little different this weekend, then Casa Margarita, an exploration of 20th-century Spanish song, might just fit the bill. This is a pot pourri of songs by the likes of Granados, de Falla and Obradors, carefully selected and arranged to tell the moving story of Spanish singer Margarita. The show has been arranged by mezzo-soprano Nicola Harrison (above), who sings the part of Margarita. As a leading exponent of Spanish song, she is eager to pass her enthusiasm to others, and Casa Margarita gives her the opportunity to do just that.
“It’s a repertoire that people avoid and are quite wary of,” she says. “But it’s very exciting, and very challenging. It’s so astonishing and passionate, full of highs and lows, and I think it’s absolutely wonderful.”
The songs are linked by a narrative — to be performed by actor Paul Ansdell — and Nicola hopes that this will stop audiences from focusing on printed translations.
“As a singer in a foreign language I’m impatient with pages and pages of translations, and audiences shuffling away at them. The audience gets distracted by the translations instead of listening to the music. So we’ve done away with that by having a narrative that tells the story of Margarita.
“The songs are all from song cycles, and I’ve picked selections that fit my story. They go through the development of a young girl, and it goes through optimistic phases and uncertainty and loss.”
Casa Margarita is just an hour long, with a ten-minute interval, and includes accompaniment by Guy Newbury (piano) and Gerald Garcia (guitar).
“Overall you get a real flavour of Spain, but a real cross-section of the repertoire,” says Nicola. “It takes you on a journey, and you come away changed.”
Casa Margarita is at the Holywell Music Room on Sunday. Box office: 01865 305305.