Maria Luz Alvarez sings her way from Madrid to Manitoba
Posted by Andrea Ratuski, SCENE Producer | Friday May 11, 2012
Maria Luz Alvarez rehearsing with musicians in Winnipeg (Karine Beaudette)
Maria Luz Alvarez was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. In her native country, she made a big career singing mostly early music. She also recorded a dozen CDs for a number of labels in Europe.
At the time, she never imagined making a long pilgrimage of her own, until 2003, when she met a jeweller who lives in Thompson, Manitoba. Since 2005 she has been a permanent resident of Canada and is happily settled in Thompson.
Moving from a large city in Spain to a small community in Northern Manitoba certainly changed her life. "But, I must say I like nature very much," she admits. "And in that sense Thompson has a lot to offer. If you like the outdoors, it is a beautiful place. It has a slower pace of life and I really like it.
Maria Luz Alvarez (Karine Beaudette)
"And it's full of really nice people. They welcomed me with an open heart."
Naturally, living in a community that is so remote means her performances, especially in Europe, are becoming as rare as a pearl. That's why it's doubly exciting that she will have a chance to shine with Camerata Nova.
The program includes music inspired by a popular pilgrimage to the shrine of the Black Madonna at the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat, near Barcelona. Alvarez and Camerata Nova will perform songs from the monastery's collection called the Llibre Vermell.
"That monastery still exists and is still very important," Alvarez explains, "so it is close to home!
"The music is fabulous. It gives you insight for that time and what people were singing. And I've always been fascinated by that."
While Alvarez may have given up the globe-trotting lifestyle of an international singer, Manitobans are all the luckier for it. On May 11 to 13, she will be in Winnipeg to perform with Camerata Nova and members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in their program of music revolving around the idea of pilgrimage through the ages. The concert is a co-presentation with Virtuosi Concerts.
Watch a preview of the concert:
Camerata Nova prepares for "From the Middle Ages to Manitoba" (Conrad Sweatman)