Several visitors stroll and experiment in the Universe room of CosmoCaixa, the Science museum of the “la Caixa” Foundation, until a curious girl stops before the figure of an astronaut. He walks over and presses a button that unleashes magic. The astronaut is actually the mezzo-soprano Anna Tobella who sings the traditional Joy the world by Georg Friedrich Händel when we have the information. She is joined by more than 100 people who sing and perform a rhythmic body percussion with measured rhythmic movements. It is the spectacular Christmas greeting from the “la Caixa” Foundation.
During three weekends of the month of November, the recording of this piece was carried out, which runs through the most emblematic rooms of the museum such as the Universe Room, which covers from the beginning of time with the Big Bang to the last frontiers of knowledge. In this way, this peculiar congratulation aims to connect past, present and future in a story about human evolution that, as can be seen in the video, is activating a prehistoric man.
While dozens of participants continue to join, the action moves outside, specifically to the Plaza de la Ciencia, where as the end of the song approaches, the participants begin to gather in the central square and illuminate the night with the lanterns of their mobile phones. In an overhead view, mobiles are raised to the sky and a luminous Christmas star is drawn.
After the making off full of funny, memorable scenes, of the most endearing moments that this recording has left, including birthday cake and flying kicks, to demonstrate how rewarding the experience and the intensity of it, for both amateur and professional soloists. All of them have made possible an initiative with which the “la Caixa” Foundation not only wants to underline its commitment to the dissemination of culture but also to bring music to as many people as possible at parties that still, two years later, continue marked by the pandemic.
The idea for this congratulation came from Igor Cortadellas, also responsible for the creative direction of the video in which the soloist Anna Tobella, the actor Francesco Chiarenza and the Barcelona Ars Nova choir have also participated. For its part, the musical production has gone hand in hand with Oriol Padrós, the photographic direction is by Marc Campà, the dramaturgy by Anna Llopart and everything related to body percussion and movements has been entrusted to Santi Serratosa.
The #YoCanto initiative
This particular way of congratulating the holidays is based on an initiative that the “la Caixa” Foundation launched in the middle of the pandemic with the name #YoCanto and that, in its different versions, already has more than 3.5 million views on YouTube . In May 2020, with all of Spain confined to their homes, nearly 650 people participated in a participatory choral video of the iconic song Live lifeby Coldplay. This was followed by Handel’s Hallelujah, which merged more than 350 participants with the voices of the Catalan Baroque Orchestra and the Barcelona Ars Nova choir in an incredible visual montage of the wonderful architecture inside the Basilica of Santa María del Mar in Barcelona.
In the case of the famous success of Queen Bohemian Rhapsody, which is characterized by changes in style during the melody, the project was divided into four parts with their corresponding staging and dramaturgy and each participant could choose which of them to interpret. The end result was a true technical challenge that managed to faithfully maintain the amalgam of styles that so define this musical work.
This has been the way that the Foundation, which has been working on participatory musical activities for more than 25 years, continues to offer amateur singers the possibility of being part of a professional audiovisual recording despite the pandemic.