Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sevilla: land of enchantment, tapas, flamenco, and performance!

Day 6: Tuesday, May 24: Spain & Sevilla

After leaving Serpa on Tuesday morning, the UGA Chamber Choir crossed the border into Spain and the magical land of Andalucía: home to flamenco, the tapas culture, and cities including Córdoba, Granada, and of course Sevilla! Here's a map of the trajectory:

Arriving ahead of schedule, the choir and friends explored the city center of Sevilla, including the Barrio Santa Cruz and surrounding areas, at leisure on their own. That night they checked into Hotel La Motilla and had a group dinner.

Day 7: Wednesday, May 25: Exploring Seville +Impromptu Performance + CONCERT

Wednesday was a busy day for the UGA Chamber Choir, as they kickstarted with a guided tour
of the city conducted by professional guide Daniel. Starting in Plaza España (pictured at right), they then explored the old Jewish Quarter, passing through a maze of streets into the Barrio Santa Cruz, the ancient heart of Seville. After a short break for a pick me up (some enjoyed espresso, others churros con chocolate), the tour continued as they learned about the Alcázar and ended by the cathedral.

Following an Incantato lunch at Restaurant El Cabildo across from the cathedral, the Chamber Choir then entered the Cathedral of Seville (one side pictured below), the third-largest church in the world and an absolutely stunning masterpiece of Gothic architecture, inside and out. The Chamber Choir came prepared with Ave, Virgo Sanctissima, a work by the native Sevillan composer Francisco Guerrero, who lived and worked in the Seville Cathedral during the 16th century. After finding an arched alcove to the right of the main altar, the Chamber Choir gathered in a circle and gave an impromptu performance of the Guerrero work. Surrounded by a hushed audience of surprised tourists, the choir enjoyed a special moment performing the piece in the setting most likely in which it was composed. The choir also performed the Kyrie of Tomás Luis de Victoria's Officium Defunctorum as an encore.

After two more hours of leisure around the city, the choir transfered back to the hotel to freshen up for our evening concert at the Conservatorio Superior de Música Manuel Castillo. At 8:30 PM, the choir walked onstage to a beautiful outdoor plaza of the Conservatory (performance picture, below. Dr. Mitos Andaya, conductor). They were joined by an appreciative audience which included a group of University of Georgia study abroad participants from the UGA en España - Sevilla program. Nothing like seeing some friendly, English-speaking faces! Go Dawgs!

Following the concert, the group split up to grab a bite to eat. For their last night in Sevilla, some had pre-booked tickets to a professional flamenco show in the Barrio de Santa Cruz; others wandered the lamp-lit winding streets to enjoy tapas and impromptu shows; while others took advantage of the bus transfer to get a good night's sleep after the jam-packed day!

Photo credit: Bonnie Krider and David Okun

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