Sunday, May 22, 2011

[updated] High Mass, Wine Tasting, and beautiful scenery!

High Mass at Church of the Martyrs, Lisbon
Today the UGA Chamber Choir performed during the 12:00 noon High Mass at the Church of the Martyrs in Lisbon. This basilica holds pride of place as Lisbon's first Catholic church and features beautiful paintings, altar decorations, and acoustics. The Mass was packed and the Chamber Choir had the opportunity to sing with the parish's Sunday choir.

For the entrance hymn, the choir performed Francisco Guerrero's Ave, Virgo Sanctissima, followed by Portuguese composer Pero de Gamboa's evocative Egressus Iesus secessit. During Communion, we featured the Duruflé Ubi Caritas with baritone Joshua Elder leading the incipit. After words of welcome, thanksgiving, and appreciation offered to the choir (in English!) by a representative of the church at the conclusion of the Mass, the choir ended with Franz Liszt's Ave Maria; the choir has been invited to return anytime, as their voices "showcased a piece of heaven."

Lunch & gelato in Cascais; wine tasting in Sintra

Following the Mass participation, the choir was treated to a wonderful Incantato lunch at a beach-front spot on the way to Cascais. Local specialties included cod, grilled pulpo (octopus), steak and mushrooms, and sweet and savory mango-chocolate-vanilla desserts!

Next we stopped briefly in the beach resort of Cascais (pronounced "cash-kaysh") to sample the local gelato at gelateria Santini. Afterwards we continued to nearby Sintra, passing a national
In Sintra we enjoyed a porto wine tasting, surrounded by bottles upon bottles of dark, light, dry, and sweet varieties of the Portuguese beverage.park on one side and crashing waves and hang gliders on the other!

Sintra was the summer resort town of the Portuguese royal family, and is set on a hilltop overlooking a lush valley and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Our backdrop included picturesqu
e European castles and palaces and the opportunity to purchase souvenirs of the local gastronomy (that's code for bottles of porto wine, rolls of cheese, and cuts of chorizo sausage!).

Returning to Hotel Roma in Lisbon tonight, choir and friends are preparing for the next leg--tomorrow we're off to do a choral exchange with the University of Évora and spend the night in Serpa.

Keep following for updates and pictures on when the University of Georgia meets the University of Évora!! Boa noite de Lisboa!

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