Orchestra to present Mexican Pastorela

By Freya Bergren

The Orchestra of New Spain (ONS) will present its annual Baroque Christmas Concert at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 7611 Park Lane, on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. CDC protocols are respected at the church. Admission is free, donations are appreciated. 

Painting of Spain’s Padre Antonio Soler courtesy of Discogs.com

This year’s Christmas program brings to life a costumed and narrated version of the Mexican Pastorela, or Shepherd’s Play, featuring villancicos (carols) from 18th century Spain and Mexico. Among many composers represented, the best known to our public are Spain’s Padre Antonio Soler and Mexico’s Juan Gutierrez de Padilla and Juan Garcia de Zéspedes. In particular Soler’s stories are told with humor about community personalities, featured in metaphors to tell the Nativity story. This dramatic approach in the IberAmerican 17th and 18th centuries is ideal for Christmas concerts that the entire family can enjoy.

Conceived as a play within a musical play, the narrative sets the court entertainers of King Philip V of Spain trying to lift his troubled spirits with a hit show direct from the New World: La Pastorela. The action on stage will be a costumed musical retelling of the Shephards’ journey following the star of Bethlehem to the Nativity, accompanied along the way with colorful stories of local country folk told through villancicos.

ONS artistic director Grover Wilkins brings his Spanish baroque period singers and instrumentalists to the altar of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, joyfully decorated for the season. Stage director Jendi Tarde is responsible for the costumes, staging and narration, as well as performing as a soloist. 

“This concert season is named La Pastorela for the two programs that define it,” says Maestro Wilkins. “The first is this Christmas event introducing the concept of a Mexican Pastorela, to be followed in February with a flamenco-influenced telling of the same story about the faith, featuring rhythmic Renaissance and Baroque music.” 

Call 214-750-1492 for more information.