It was still daylight when we arrived at the 5-star Castell Son Claret, in the southwest of Mallorca, for the second in this year’s season of opera nights known as Castell Classics. This is the sixth year of these events, which are now a firm fixture in the Mallorcan cultural calendar.
We declined the offer of an electric-buggy ride from the car park up to the hotel entrance so that we could walk through the landscaped gardens – with their water feature and beautiful agapanthus flowers wafting in a gentle breeze. The flowers and greenery used in the hotel’s displays are picked from these exquisite gardens.
Although we arrived exactly at the event start time of 7.30pm, plenty of people had arrived before us and were already enjoying drinks and appetizers on the lawns. Many of the 150 guests who attended were German – in my experience, almost always punctual!
From Salzburg to Mallorca
We were there to see the Young Singers of the Salzburg Festival – eight talented young singers of different nationalities – who would perform highlights from this year’s Salzburg Festival.
After drinks and nibbles in the gardens of the hotel, we moved up to the hotel’s large terrace, where we were all seated at round tables. It didn’t take long before we were chatting to the other people at our table – some Mallorcans, some Russians. These evenings are an opportunity to meet new people with a shared interest in opera and gastronomy.
Works by Mozart, Bizet, Gounod, Puccini, Chapí, Tchaikovsky, and Bernstein made for a varied programme of largely familiar pieces – including a couple of my personal favourites. Hearing such exquisite voices on a pleasantly warm evening under a darkening sky was nothing short of magical.
The gala dinner, as one would expect from a hotel boasting two restaurants (one with two Michelin stars), was superb. Chefs Fernando P Arellano and Pep Forteza and their brigades created a wonderful dinner once again. On the menu: a snappy wafer-thin ‘coca’ of confit tomatoes, Soller prawns, and basil; medallion of spring lamb with stuffed onion and mint-scented pea purée, and the eagerly awaited ‘Selection of fine desserts’. How good were they! (Castell Son Claret has its own in-hotel bakery).
We drank La Cuvée 2014 Reserva from Bodega Gramona, and wines from Bodegas Valduero on the Peninsula.
The Castell Classics series is a cultural highlight of the Mallorcan summer and a personally recommended experience.
Unmissable in August
The final Castell Classics event of 2018 will be a fabulous climax to the season: the celebrated Egyptian opera star Fatma Said and Puerto Rican tenor Joel Prieto (who sang at the above Young Singers of the Salzburg Festival event) will perform. It will be a spectacular evening, including the garden reception and al fresco gala dinner on the terrace. The date for this Castell Classics concert is Saturday, August 11th, starting at 7.30pm.
See here for more information and to book your place(s) for the final Castell Classics event of 2018.
©Jan Edwards 2018