La Púrpura de la Rosa

Calderón de la barca between spain and peru

Ensemble La Chimera
Eduardo Egüez – direction

To speak of La Púrpura de la Rosa is to speak of the highest Hispanic literature of the Golden Age, it is to speak of Calderón de la Barca, of the Spanish theatre and of the refined Baroque of the peninsular courts and of the New World.

 In 1659, Calderón gave birth to the text of a new play whose name “La Púrpura de la Rosa” (The Purple of the Rose) alluded to the transformation of Venus’ blood after being harmed by a wild boar sent by Mars. The play was composed for the wedding of the Bourbon King Louis XIV with the Infanta Maria Teresa, Archduchess of Austria and daughter of the Spanish monarch Philip IV. The composer and collaborator of Calderón, Juan Hidalgo, created the music for the piece but we have no trace of it to this day. Half a century later and at a very distant location from Spain, in Lima Peru, the composer Tomás de Torrejón y Velazco put Calderón de la Barca’s verses to music with a musical language very similar to that of the compositions of Juan Hidalgo, who had been his teacher, using tonos humanos, a musical genre that characterised the Spanish Habsburg dynasty during the 17th century. The work narrates the vicissitudes of a crush between Venus and Adonis, propitiated by Love to make fun of Mars, very jealous of Venus. La Púrpura de la Rosa by Torrejón y Velazco was performed in 1701, at the court of Lima, capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

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