Luz Casal has been supported tonight by the Royal Philharmonic of Galicia in the presentation of its “shorter and more special” tour: a single concert in the Plaza del Obradoiro, at the foot of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, on the occasion of the Xacobeo 21-22 and that has coincided with the 25th anniversary of the orchestra. This is the only recital that the Galician artist will give this year, waiting for an upcoming album that she has worked on during the pandemic. Casal was received by 1,250 people, the maximum capacity due to sanitary measures. Those who did not get a ticket – they sold out in an hour – could enjoy the show for free through a digital transmission by the Department of Culture. The show started with an arrangement of You are everything, with the support of the ropes wrapping a Casal Light dressed in stars. The singer greeted the audience in Galician, with a simple “boas noites e benvidos”.
Around 60 musicians stood before the audience on a stage more than 20 meters long, to keep safe distances. In addition to the 53 interpreters of the philharmonic orchestra, the members of the band that has accompanied the artist in recent years participated. The platform occupied the entire side of the square, covering the stairs by which pilgrims normally see the cathedral for the first time, at the end of their path. At eight thirty the doors were opened while the disorderly sound of the Philharmonic musicians, oblivious to the movement of the people who began to occupy the thousand plastic chairs, was listened to, faintly. Like a small window to an auditorium preparing for a rehearsal. Meanwhile, the most enthusiastic and fortunate attendees began to fill the ranks in small groups.
One was made up of Ana, 46, with a small 4, and Emilio, 43. They were aware of how lucky they were: “We got the tickets at the end, constantly reloading the page. They almost escaped us, ”said Ana. It was worth it, they are very fans of Luz, she explained, they see her every year and they attend the Festival of Light, which the singer organizes in her native Boimorto. Those who were not lucky enough to Ana were not willing to miss the concert. About thirty people were organized outside the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, in front of the stage. Among them is Sara, who whispers her age: 55 years. “It looks perfectly. We didn’t get tickets because we didn’t find out, ”he said as he cut a piece of pizza and settled under the thick chains that separate Costa do Cristo street from the entrance of the luxury hotel.
The day before the show, Casal explained to EL PAÍS that the concert was thought of as a “dialogue of two worlds that have their peculiarities”. The arrangements have added other “sounds” to enrich a repertoire that was already very diverse: “It is a very supportive exercise, you feel like you are a participant in the space of the other,” he added. Paul Daniel, director of the Real Filharmonía de Galicia, agreed with this description and was very satisfied with the singer, who rehearsed with the orchestra from the first arrangement. “It is a pleasure to work with artists like this, to make a family of sound”, he assured. Before the concert, the Briton described Luz Casal as a star in every way: “She will shine and the Philharmony will be like a shining constellation around her.” The director also praised César Guerrero’s arrangements, which managed to integrate the 60 musicians to perfection, according to Daniel: “Many times in this type of project, the orchestra ends up becoming an accessory that sticks to the back wall. This time it is not like that ”.
And the show worked. The director has fought a lot for the orchestra to go beyond the limits of auditoriums and classical music. He has collaborated with other artists such as Uxía, or the jazz trio Sumrrá. Working with Luz Casal has been one of her main aspirations for at least three years. “Very open and versatile artists are needed. In that sense, Luz has been exceptional and has participated in rehearsals even from day one. When we were learning music, she did it with us ”, concludes Daniel.
Both agree that they have had a lot of time to rehearse, which has been essential for a project of this magnitude to be able to get underway with the quality expected from both Casal and the Real Filharmonía. “We were determined that this was a true symphonic creation, built between all of us,” explained Daniel. The singer agreed and valued the experience as an opportunity to feel very welcome, because it allowed her “to become one more musician, although with a more relevant role as a soloist.”
Casal only presents this show this summer, while preparing what will be his next album. “The concert is special, of course,” he said, and explained that before the pandemic began, he had already decided to dedicate these two years to working on new material. This activity was briefly interrupted during confinement, when the artist lent her ear to those in need. In confinement, the singer made headlines for her evening talks with fans: she called dozens of people every day to speak “with people who are alone.” There were more than 2,000 telephone conversations, in which he shared the “situation, fears, anxieties”, but without delving into sadness, but to give away some “hope, encouragement or consolation”, he said.
Now his objective is to focus on finishing off the work that has already begun and that has been undoubtedly influenced by this experience: “I have a song that came out of there, with a very positive character and, as a revulsive. I also have a couple of songs that are truly optimistic. “