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Christopher Columbus: "Lost Paradises"

If you've ever wondered what interesting morsels are contained in the journals of Christopher Columbus, or what music was prevalent at the time of his voyages, this program will enlighten you. "Lost Paradises" explores Columbus' journeys and their impact on the Iberian Peninsula, through spoken word, music and song. Hesperia — the area of the Italian and Iberian peninsulas once thought of as a paradise where different cultures, particularly Jewish and Muslim, peacefully coexisted — declined at the end of the 15th century, when the Christian conquest and subsequent religious intolerance either forced Jews and Arabs to convert or led to their death or expulsion. These tragic proceedings engendered a wealth of lamentational music and poetry while coinciding with the travels of Columbus, whose discovery of a paradise inspired the flowering of a new artistic renaissance. Founded and led by esteemed viola da gambist Jordi Savall, the early-music ensemble Hesperion XXI joins forces with Savall and soprano Montserrat Figueras' choral group, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, soloists Begona Olavide (voice and psaltery) and Driss El Maloumi (voice and oud) in this fascinating evening that utilizes the Arabo-Andalusian, Jewish and Christian music of ancient Hesperia, along with the writings of Columbus and others, to bring this rich, turbulent century of change alive. Disney Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Wed., Feb. 13, 8 p.m.; preceded by a 7 p.m. Upbeat Live talk by composer, flutist and Cal State Northridge professor Daniel Kessler; $35-$88. (323) 850-2000 or www.laphil.com.


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