@Luis Catarino
Mayor of Almada

 “ART ought to be free for the act of creation is in of itself an act of freedom. But it is not only the freedom of the artist that matters. We know that when Art isn’t free the people is not free. There’s always a profound and structural unity in freedom. Whenever the artist begins to lose its freedom, the people start to become colonised, and in turn justice becomes partial, unidimensional, and abstract (…)

Demagogy is the revolution’s treason. For demagogy is the art of teaching a people not to think. An African proverb states that a word always in the mouth turns to drool. We don’t want to continue to support the drool of slogans (…)

Culture is expensive. The absence of Culture always ends up becoming more expensive. And demagogy always costs immensely.”

On the 12th of July of 1975, Sophia de Mello Breyner, then parliamentary of the Constituent Assembly, writes an opinion article in Expresso where she clearly states the importance of a free Culture while also identifying the dangers that threaten it. The political context of today is very different, nonetheless some these dangers are reemerging, and it is imperative, especially in the year that we celebrate the 50th anniversary of April’s Revolution, that her words are remembered.

Not just remembered, but truly heeded, lived, adopted, embodied in each gesture of creation and programming. This year’s Festival da Música dos Capuchos programming is truly a synonym of such words.

It's a celebration
Festival de Música dos Capuchos of Freedom and as such it approaches its multiple perspective throughout the History of Music: freedom to create, freedom to interpret, freedom to break dogmas, freedom of vanguard. This year we host interpretations of extraordinary composers works such as Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Chopin, Paganini, and Shostakovich, and of renascence composers, like the Portuguese Pedro de Cristo.

Among these is also the opera “In the Penal Colony” by Phillip Glass, that once again brings forth the memory of resistance and fighting for freedom for which so many were cast in incarceration and oppression.

This year we also pay homage to António Mega Ferreira, undeniable figure of post-25th of April Portuguese Culture, for whom the latter was not to be contemplated from afar but a living force of our own being, and someone to whom I owe so much of my creative pursuit.

The Capuchos Talks, a clearly successfuland celebrated addition to the Festival, will focus on three literary figures – Kafka, Sebastião da Gama and Luís de Vaz de Camões, the latter of which we celebrate the 500-year anniversary of its birth. We will also have a diverse offer of training and awareness activities at Convento dos Capuchos.

It is precisely the Convent from which the name of the Festival derives that will host most of the concerts, talks, and activities, however, the event dwells in this Almada of ours, this territory of many, with presentations at the Municipal Theatre Joaquim Benite and Fernado Lopes-Graça Auditorium.

The Festival de Música dos Capuchosin the year of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of that which is our greatest collective achievement assumes itself through its mission of cultural democracy as a space of reflection and memory, but above all, as a place of hope.

I would like to extend a warm thank you to Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro, who is tasked with constructing and directing the Festival, and as well to the main sponsor of the event the BPI/La Caixa Foundation, and to all the other partners that agreed to join us in this project.

Artistic director of Capuchos Music Festival

In this year of 2024, as we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the April 25th Carnation Revolution, the Capuchos Music Festival is inspired by the idea(s) of Freedom throughout the History of Music.

Between May 29th and June 21st, the Capuchos Festival will bring to Almada nationally and internationally renowned musicians and orchestras for a series of unmissable concerts, at the venue that gives its name to the Festival, the Convento dos Capuchos, as well as at the Joaquim Benite Municipal Theater and, for the first time, at the Fernando Lopes-Graça Auditorium.

Renowned artists and ensembles will be present, including the debut in Portugal of one of the most audacious orchestral projects in recent years, the Paris Symphony Orchestra "Consuelo," which, under the direction of Victor-Julien Laferrière, will open the festival with Beethoven's 5th Symphony, an undisputed masterpiece and powerful evocation of the struggle against adversity and the triumph of Freedom.
Also noteworthy are the debut concerts in Portugal of other cutting-edge European musical ensembles, such as the Paganini Ensemble Vienna and the Berlin Chamber Orchestra "Metamorphosen," under the direction of Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt.

Among the great international soloists who will be featured in this edition, mention should be made of the legendary pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja, German violinist Carolin Widmann, Swiss cellist Christian Poltéra, and young Ukrainian pianist Roman Fediurko, winner of the prestigious Horowitz International Competition in 2023, who will perform works by Chopin in what will be his debut recital in our country.
The national presence will be represented by reference ensembles, including the renaissance ensemble Arte Minima and the Schostakovich Ensemble, as well as musicians such as pianist Júlio Resende, with his Fado Jazz Ensemble, conductor Martim Sousa Tavares, and violist Sofia Silva Sousa, among many others.
In terms of composition, the spotlight will be on works by Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Chopin, Paganini, and Shostakovich; works by Renaissance composers such as the Portuguese Pedro de Cristo; and Philip Glass's opera "In the Penal Colony," based on the homonymous tale by Franz Kafka.

It is also worth noting the world premiere of a new work by the award-winning Portuguese composer, based in New York, Andreia Pinto Correia, and the posthumous tribute concert to António Mega Ferreira, one of the greatest figures in Portuguese culture and thought after the April 25th Revolution.

The cycle of the emblematic Conversas dos Capuchos (Capuchos Talks), curated and moderated by Carlos Vaz Marques, will be dedicated to three literary anniversaries of 2024 - the centenary of Franz Kafka's death, the centenary of the birth of Sebastião da Gama, and the 500 years of Luís Vaz de Camões - with the presence of guests such as Alberto Manguel, José Carlos Seabra Pereira, Maria Bochichio, Nuno Amado, José Gardeazabal, and Viriato Soromenho-Marques.

In 2024, in what will be the fourth edition of the Capuchos Music Festival after a 20-year hiatus between 2001 and 2020, a series of educational and awareness-raising activities initiated in the 2023 edition will also be held: pre-concert talks called Prelúdios dos Capuchos (Capuchos Preludes) moderated by João Almeida, director of Antena 2 Classical Radio; a Visit to the cultural heritage of the Convento dos Capuchos, built in the 16th century; a Walk in the Protected Landscape of the Arriba Fóssil da Costa da Caparica, where the Convent is located; and the Capuchos Masterclasses, open classes for young musicians guided by professors from the Leipzig, Lucerne, and Helsinki Conservatories.

In this fiftieth anniversary of the April 25th Revolution, we celebrate the ideals of Freedom with a program that reaffirms the mission of the Capuchos Music Festival as a reference event, nationally and internationally, thus promoting democratic access to culture.

Our heartfelt thanks to all those who make the realization of the Capuchos Music Festival possible, first and foremost to the Almada City Council and its municipal services, to the Directorate-General for the Arts of Portugal’s Ministry of Culture, to the patron BPI/Fundação “la Caixa,” to the partners Companhia de Teatro de Almada, mbito Cultural do El Corte Inglés, RTP Antena 2, and to His Excellency the President of the Republic for the High Patronage once again granted.