On July 26, 2022, the premiere of a festival took place that meant a whole historical event of great artistic-cultural significance: The Musical Argar. The first classical music festival for the Argaric Culture, which was presented at the epicenter of this thousand-year-old Culture, in El Argar de Antas. The event presented multiple and interesting firsts and premieres that are worth remembering at the start of 2023.
-What leads a singer like you, who has stepped on the biggest operatic stages in the world, to sing at El Argar?
-None of this would have happened if my roots were not in the town of Antas. Not only my roots, but the origin of my family. My grandfather emigrated to Cuba a hundred years ago and his father was a very relevant and beloved mayor of this municipality during the years of the Republic. Everything that I have embodied in two very special projects: the recital My roots and the festival The Musical Argar for the Argaric peoples. Going back to the roots to offer my experience of more than twenty-five years as a professional is a wonderful dream that culminates, without a doubt, in this project that was born to contribute to the dissemination of the best music and a prehistoric culture like the Argaric. The success of the premiere confirms that it was worth betting on and gives me the strength to continue.
-It is the first festival in the world that promotes the art and prehistoric culture of El Argar. For those who don’t know him, tell me about an event that is not only about music.
-The attendees of the festival last summer were able to live an extraordinary experience at all levels. On the stage, located on the old bridge of Antas at the foot of the Argar – spectacularly illuminated for the occasion -, the best of the international repertoire in six languages was heard over two days: songs, arias and Lieder by Spanish composers (José Padilla, Fernando Obradors, J. Castro Chané, Xavier Montsalvatge, A. Guinovart, M. Ortega), Czech (A.Dvorak)germans (W. A. Mozart)Italians (G. Schicchi)Cubans (Ernesto Lecuona, Rodrigo Prats, E. Sánchez de Fuentes)brazilians (W. Henrique, H. Villa-Lobos)French (G. Bizet, G. Fauré)…
– A fancy poster.
-The public that witnessed this historic event not only enjoyed the voices, the splendid piano by David Casanova López and the music of the great composers of history, but also immersed themselves in the vibrations of the place where modern man began to become an organized and hierarchical “society” in the Europe of four thousand years ago. The Argar Musical is a total sensory and cultural experience and, of course, an ideal platform to attract quality tourism to Antas and many other enclaves of this Culture.
-You are clear in your mind that after the start of the Festival you want to bring the best Spanish voices to Antas.
-My concert opened a gap and marked the starting point of a series of concerts in which we will have the immense pleasure of having established artists (many of my most beloved and admired professional colleagues) and, of course, emerging talents.
-The Festival has as one of its great objectives to transmit to the youngest the Culture of Argar de Antas.
-That’s how it is. Among the activities of the festival are planned guided tours of the Argaric sites by young guides. At the premiere last year in Antas, a visit was offered to the students of the singing course by our beloved Don Gabriel Martínez, a teacher in the field who became ill and the visit unfortunately could not take place. The town bridge was a symbol of the cultural bridge between the past and the present, from which to project into the future.
-Last July the I Course of Technique and Interpretation of Lyrical Singing was held in the Chapel of the Convent of the Nuns of Antas. Is the promotion of young lyrical values fundamental?
-There are so many great voices of world lyric that Andalusia and Spain in general have given, from time immemorial to the present, that the list would be endless. It is essential to help the development of young values. We are facing a cultural heritage of the first order and singing is the most difficult instrument, as well as the most direct and emotional, which requires a long time for its consolidation and its technical and expressive maturity.
-Teaching is also present at the Festival.
-It was precious for me to offer these first singing classes in Antas. Teaching in all its forms excites me, but especially in the master classes, in which I give everything in a few minutes and I have to be half a “magician” to understand what is happening to whoever is in front of me. I couldn’t dedicate myself continuously, but I do really enjoy the wonder of opening new horizons to whom I have the pleasure of meeting in my courses.
-Experienced moments of emotion with the students
-The words of thanks from the young singers, whom I have been able to enlighten a little with my instructions at a given moment in their careers, as was the case of the students participating in this first course at Antas, move me. That is the true motivation that inspires me to continue with the Festival’s Lyrical Singing Course, which I have dedicated to the memory of Celia Viñas.
-It has also been proposed to create a bridge with Latin America and bring young singers from those countries to the Festival. His ties with Cuba are key to betting on this exchange of wisdom between Latin Americans and Spaniards.
-The bridge here again symbolizes something vital, which is the crossroads of roads and cultures. Specifically, between Spain and Latin America. In the first edition we had a young Brazilian mezzo-soprano, Fernanda Pimenta, who presented a very varied program of songs by European authors and from her country, and she received a scholarship from me for the singing course. FEMUSC in Brazil is the largest Festival-School in the world and I have had the honor of being invited to it since 2015 as a teacher and as a soloist. In 2005 I had the pleasure of offering master classes for the Victoria de los Ángeles Foundation in Barcelona and already then I awarded a scholarship to another singing student from the University of Fine Arts of Paraná in Curitiba.
-Last year a unique event took place. It was released on argaric poem by his brother the poet Rodolfo Häsler set to music by the Catalan composer Miquel Ortega. I imagine it was a special moment.
-Of course, it was a moment of great emotion and happiness. I offered a male voice the reading of the poem at the opening of the festival, after which I was able to sing to the Argar of our childhood the heartfelt verses of my brother. It was overwhelming and I intend to ask a poet for Argaric verses every year to be set to music and premiered at the site that gives his Culture its name. I still reserve the names for 2023.
-The typical clothing of the Argarians was also released, which is exhibited in Antas and whose destination will be the El Argar Museum. You got to wear that outfit. Do you remember that unique moment?
-Some extraordinary women from Antas, who have taken part in making the costumes of the time that are exhibited in the exhibition, were in charge of dressing me in the clothing that according to scientific studies reproduces that of the powerful women of this era. Reproduction of the silver diadem found in tomb number 51 of El Argar included. Being the first person or artist dressed in such clothing is an event that is impossible to forget.
-The Festival for a town like Antas was an absolute success with the assistance of 500 people who came from different places. In his wildest dreams, I imagine the reception the Festival would have.
-You just said it. It is impossible to imagine what the reception of the public will be at an event of these characteristics, which is taking place for the first time in the history of a town of three thousand inhabitants and surroundings. It was a strong bet. It was always clear to me that a project like this implied risk and a lot of personal effort. The greatest satisfaction was to see the final miracle. Unexpected to some extent but very clear in my mind. The impact of the premiere was great, humanly and socially speaking. It has all been positive feedback on a personal level and in the media, directly and indirectly from all who have embraced this very special experience in a sensational atmosphere.
-I imagine that you have been working for this year’s edition for some time. I could specify the dates of the Festival and give some advance of what is going to be able to enjoy in Antas.
-Fantastic surprises await the Festival this year. I can anticipate something very nice: I will start a series of concerts in the old Antas Cinema, the well-known bale cinema For all of us who, more than thirty years ago, went as teenagers to this place as a family to see movies in its winter and summer rooms. The first of these events will be a recital this spring by the tenor from Verat, with a glorious voice, Enrique Parra. Regarding the summer edition, we will have four events in August in Antas, in addition to the Celia Viñas Lyrical Singing Course, and other municipalities and provinces with which I am already in contact will be added to the program.
-An event of this level needs, apart from your enormous work, support. In this sense, which public institutions and private companies support this Festival.
-Without financial support none of this would be possible. The support of the Junta de Andalucía is seen as a reality in 2023 and we hope to be able to name interesting private, local and national companies linked to a cultural event of this category. A festival of this magnitude is a social and economic shock. Getting companies to invest only a tiny part of their profits in society is essential. And El Argar Musical is a social festival, which works to help value two very important Heritages, that is, to give back to humanity what belongs to humanity. In short, for the people and their economic and cultural enrichment.
-To conclude, we must highlight the acknowledgments.
-Essential is, above all, the human team that makes it possible and, in this sense, I want to thank first of all the Antas City Council, the pianist David Casanova López, Erudita Comunicación, Bernhardt Jundt (the first natural person to sponsor the festival) and the media that have supported the project from the beginning (Fundación Valparaíso, Diario de Almería, La Voz de Almería, Ideal, Canal Sur Radio y TV, Barna Fotopress, ClickRadioTV, Radio Clásica, Melómano Digital or Andalucía.com, among others). others.
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Ana María Häsler Soler: “I will start a series of concerts in the old Antas cinema at this year’s Festival”
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