Arriving at Castell Son Claret, the 5-star country house hotel just outside Es Capdellà in southwest Mallorca, will lift the heart of anyone with a passion for gorgeous gardens – particularly ones featuring water. You drive through splendid metal gates, along the straight palm-tree-lined drive (illuminated after dark) towards the castle-like hotel building. If you park your car in the car park (rather than use the valet service), you walk up through the spectacular gardens, which are the source of flowers and foliage for all this hotel’s floral displays. It’s a wonderful start to a visit here …
An Italian operatic evening
Our latest visit was last Saturday, for one of the hotel’s summer events: a concert by six soloists of the Accademia Teatro alla Scala (Milan) and an Italian-themed gala dinner. I’d seen Castell Son Claret’s gardens earlier in the season and they looked lovely then. In July, with the agapanthus (its name comes from the Greek for flower of love) swaying gently in a light breeze, the scene was set immediately for a romantic evening.
The evening began on the lawns with an al fresco buffet of appetizers. The hotel’s chefs – led by 2-Michelin-starred restaurant Zaranda’s Fernando P Arellano – were stationed at tables around the garden, offering arancini, truffled mortadella, antipasti, Italian cheeses and breads, and folded-and-filled Italian flatbreads (piadina) cooked on a Feurerring fire ring. Bubbles (Bellavista Alma Cuvee Brut) flowed freely as Castell Son Claret staff moved among the guests topping up glasses.
The stage was set …
From the gardens we moved to the huge terrace at the front of the hotel’s main building, where large round tables had been set up in front of a stage on which a gleaming grand piano was located. After a welcome by the hotel’s general manager, Björn Spaude, the musical element of the evening began.
After five operatic pieces, we had the main course of our Italian-themed dinner: beef brasato with Barolo and radicchio risotto. The slow cooking had left the meat succulent, soft, and rich with the flavour of the Piedmont wine in which it was braised. Delicious.
The talented soloists returned to the stage for the next instalment of operatic solos and duets, which was followed by a dessert of semifredo al crocante, and then coffee and petits fours served with limoncello. Following the final set of operatic pieces, the audience called for more, so we were treated to two classics: ‘Brindisi’ (‘The Drinking Song’) from La Traviata and the Neapolitan song that everyone knows, ‘O sole mio’.
Although opera isn’t my first love when it comes to musical genres, this was a truly magical evening. The combination of talented young singers (and accompanying pianist Jeong Un Kim), beautiful operatic pieces, excellent Italian dinner with three different wines from winery Bulgarini (I was driving, but I’m told they were good), the interesting people we met on our table, and the exquisite setting of Castell Son Claret added up to a night we’ll remember for a long time.
Opera buffs may like to note the names of the young singers who came to Mallorca for this concert, as I’m sure they all have promising future careers: mezzosoprano Chiara Tirotta; tenor Azer Rza-Zade; soprano Jihyun Cecilia Lee; baritone Modestas Sedlevičius; soprano Federica Lombard, and tenor Sehoon Moon. Compositions by Donizetti, Rossini, Mozart, Verdi, Leoncavallo, Cilea, and Puccini were on the programme.
Castell Son Claret hosts its next operatic night on August 13th, when the best young singers from the Salzburg Festival will come to Mallorca to perform under the stars. As with the evening described above, a cocktail reception and gala dinner are included. For more details, and to book, visit the hotel’s website.
Unless watermarked, the photos in this post were kindly provided by the hotel. These photos must not be reproduced without seeking the permission of Castell Son Claret.