The 18th Credomatic Music Festival, featuring 40 top-notch classical musicians, is set to kick off a series of concerts around the country Aug. 2.
“We will have concerts in churches and other locations across the country,” said Jordi Antich, music director of the festival. “In Costa Rica there is a very important history of this kind of music since 1900,” added Antich, who is a member of the music faculty at the National University (UNA).
“This is one of the only countries in the world where the most important building is a theater.”
Antich was referring to the National Theater, where shows will begin Aug. 9, after a week of concerts at hotels and churches outside of San José.
Among the artists performing is Tica soprano Iride Martínez, who has graced the world’s finest stages with her voice. She will sing at the National Theater Aug. 16, and will perform free shows Aug. 10 at Hotel Chalet Tirol in Heredia, north of the capital, and at San José’s Metropolitan Cathedral Aug. 17 to close the festival.
“We’re very proud to have (Martínez),” Antich said. “She is very important, because she has had the most success of any Costa Rican in the history of music. She has performed in the best opera houses in Germany and Italy.”
Besides Costa Rica’s opera queen, fans will have the opportunity to hear who’s causing a buzz in Europe and North America’s classical scenes. Among them are acclaimed Italian pianist Francesco Libetta, German group Berlin Brass and U.S. group Aspro Dolce. Colombian a cappella group Vocal Sin Tiempo is one of the sole Latin Amerian acts.
“This is serving as a window to the world (for the Costa Rican audience),” Antich said. “One day you can see (Libetta), the next a group from the United States. We are turning (San José) into a metropolis of music.”
Antich is excited about the concerts that will take place outside of the capital as well, at such atmospheric locations as beach resort Reserva Conchal in the northwest Guanacaste province and Heredia’s aforementioned mountain Hotel Chalet Tirol.
He described the festival’s growing presence in different regions as a slow but persistent expansion.
“The first (event) was only six or seven concerts in San José,” Antich, who created the festival, reflected. “A little bit at a time we brought it to other parts of the country. As tourism developed, we have been able to expand further as artists could stay in nice hotels instead of going back to San José the night of a concert.”
The private sector certainly has helped this annual event take hold and flourish.
Besides financial group Credomatic’s considerable help, many hotels offer free lodging for the artists. The musicians themselves are unpaid, taking the festival as an opportunity to vacation and play in a top-class concert.
“This festival intends to reach the largest number of people with the highest level of art,” Antich said. “The musicians are of the absolute highest level. It’s like going to a top concert in Europe or the United States.”