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Algarve History Association: Events in December 2018

AHAOn Sunday 9 December at 4 pm at the Quintinha da Música (Covas da Prata near Tavira), Polish pianist Lucjan Luc will play music by Brahms, Ravel and Debussy. Tickets for the concert cost €25. Bookings can be made by contacting: lynne.algarvehistory@gmail.com

It was six years ago on a visit to Lisbon that we first met Lucjan Luc. He was introduced to us by Alex Stewart, Concertmaster of the Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa, and first violin of both the Lacerda Quartet and the Aeternus Trio, in which Lucjan is the pianist. As we discussed the programme for the visit to the Algarve of the Aeternus on 23 February, 2013, Lucjan enthused over the music of Franz Liszt, and about the visit made to Lisbon by Liszt in 1845. We agreed that in commemoration of that visit he would give a Liszt concert at Quintinha da Música on 1 December, 2013. Since that memorable afternoon, Lucjan has graced our series of concerts a further eight times, three times as soloist, three times as a duo with Varoujan Bartikian (principal cello with the Gulbenkian Orchestra) and twice with the Aeternus Trio.

Lucjan LucIt is a measure of the esteem in which we hold Lucjan, and his popularity with our audiences, that his concerts are always well attended, and our members request further engagements for him. As one result of this pressure, on 9 December this year, Lucjan returns as soloist to perform works from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by Brahms (Rhapsody op 79 no 1, and Sonata op 1), Ravel (Pavane pour une Infante Défunte) and Debussy (Suite Bergamasque and L´Isle Joyeuse).

Lucjan Luc was born in Jaroslaw (Poland). He obtained a first-class degree and a diploma with honours in piano and chamber music at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. At Katowice, he studied with Professor Andrzej Jasinski and the composer and pianist Eugeniusz Kanapik.

With the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra in 1992-1996, he performed over 200 chamber music recitals in theatres, universities and concert halls in all parts of Portugal. He has also performed in Spain at different music events and festivals with a number of soloists, such as clarinet player Johannes Peitz, soprano Carmen Solís, violinist Du Xuan, and the baritone Paolo Ruggiero. At present, Lucjan holds a position at the Conservatorio Superior de Música Bonifacio Gil in Badajoz.

On Monday 10 December at 18h00 in the Municipal Library Tavira and on Tuesday 11 December at 18h00 in the Municipal Library Lagoa, Regina Shrimpton will give a tempting talk on The History of Chocolate

Someone has said, “9 out of 10 people like chocolate; the 10th person always lies.” Maybe there is an element of truth in that: chocolate seems omnipresent in our lives, at most celebrations and restaurants. In this talk, we will explore chocolate’s journey across centuries, seas, and cultures. In the process, we will answer questions such as: Is chocolate an aphrodisiac? Is chocolate the same as cocoa? Is it good for our health? Is white chocolate a type of chocolate without the colouring? Does chocolate promote acne? Is 80% chocolate good for our health or is it just a bunch of talk?
We hope to see you at another evening choc-full with luscious information.

On Tuesday 18 December at 18h00 in the Municipal Library Lagoa and on Friday 21 December at 11h00 in the Municipal Library Tavira, Peter Booker will give a talk entitled: The Famous Five Algarvians.
If is difficult to name five famous Portuguese, how much more difficult to name five famous Algarvians? The Algarve is a part of Portugal whose position, in British terms, is similar to that Cornwall or even the Outer Hebrides. It is lacking in both economic importance and in weight of population and is possibly only a holiday and golf destination for most Portuguese, as well as the peoples of the rest of Europe. Yet there are individuals from the Algarve who have had an effect on the life of the Portuguese people. Who are they, and why are they important? There are poets, politicians and presidents, airmen and engineers. Peter Booker discusses five of them and shows how these individuals have affected the life of the nation.

Talks are free but we ask for voluntary monetary contributions to pay expenses of guest speakers and to help run our Association.

Irene Ainstein (top) and Olga Heikkilä On Sunday 23 December at 4 pm at the Quintinha da Música (Covas da Prata near Tavira) the Finnish soprano Olga Heikkilä will perform with Irene Ainstein (piano). Tickets for the concert cost €25. Bookings can be made by contacting: lynne.algarvehistory@gmail.com. With music by Handel, Franck, Puccini, Villa Lobos, Goundod, Dvorak, Menotti and some Christmas Songs.

English born Irene Ainstein won first prize in a Competition for Young Musicians after only a year of piano study. After the conclusion of High School, she entered the Superior School Het Twents Conservatorium where she obtained diplomas in Chamber Music, and as Accompanist and Soloist. Irene has played in a number of ensembles and orchestras and has performed in Holland, Germany, England and China. She has also made recordings and participated in
several festivals and masterclasses in Germany, England and Holland. Irene Ainstein teaches at the Conservatório Regional in Faro and continues to perform in concerts with members of the Orchestra of Algarve, with Michael Thomas of the Brodsky Quartet and with several singers as their accompanist of choice.

Olga Heikkilä posesses a lyric soprano voice of great beauty,  employed with technical skill, taste and musicality. Her varied repertoire encompasses both traditional opera and pioneering new compositions. Since graduating from the Royal Opera Academy in Copenhagen in 2013, she has made major house debuts at La Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, the Staatsoper Stuttgart and the Staatsoper Berlin. Olga Heikkilä was born in Finland and trained at the Helsinki Conservatory and the Sibelius Academy, before moving to Denmark to attend the Royal Opera Academy, where her roles included: Adina; Ann Truelove; La Comtesse (Le Comte Ory); Giulietta; Manon; Musetta; Norina; Sophie and Violetta. Prior to graduation, she appeared with the Danish Royal Opera as: Die Stimme des Falken (Die Frau ohne Schatten); Zerlina; and Azema (Semiramide). She was selected for the 2012 Mozart Academy at the Aix-en Provence Festival, where she sang: Donna Anna; Pamina and Zaide. Since graduation, she has appeared for the Danish Royal Opera as Habinnas, Criside and Scintilla (Satyricon) and as Leonora (Maskarade). She made her debut for Den Fynske Opera in the same role, returning to the company the same season for Cassandra (Lysistrata). In 2013, she made her debut with the Staatsoper Stuttgart as one of the two soprano soloists in Jakob Lenz, the role in which she made her debut at La Monnaie in 2015.