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Authentic Baroque Instruments Featured in Local Concert:

Have you ever seen a hurdy-gurdy from the Baroque era? There will be more than one of these violin-like instruments on stage in Santa Monica on August 16 at 2:00pm, when La Señora Research Institute presents “Renaissance to Baroque” a one-hour concert played on authentic period instruments. It’s a family-friendly event, and kids with musical passions are sure to be intrigued by the post-concert discussion of instruments from the Baroque era.

Hosted by La Señora Research Institute in Santa Monica Canyon, the concert will be held at the historic Mojica Hacienda, a Spanish Colonial estate built in the 1920s by Mexican opera singer and Hollywood movie star Jose Mojica, who aimed to recreate his family’s ancestral Mexican home in Santa Monica. La Señora Research Institute has been hosting events at the hacienda for nearly four years, furthering their mission of documenting the Rancho era of early California. In the early 18th century the Mexican government gave land rights to “the place called Santa Monica” to Francisco Marquez and Ysidro Reyes, and in 1839 Marquez built his first home close to where the Hacienda Mojica now stands. It was part of a 6,000 acre ranch known as Rancho Boca de Santa Monica, and was the first homestead in the area.

La Señora Research Institute’s Music Director, Briony Buys, said the concert will give people a chance to witness the historic house and hear rarely played Spanish Baroque music.

“The musicians will play music by several Spanish composers at this concert, which is not something you usually see at Baroque concerts,” Buys said. “You usually see music by English, French and Italian composers when you see a Baroque show.”

Composers represented in the show include Jean-Baptiste Lully, Henry Purcell, Nicolas Chédeville, Diego Ortiz, Jean-Joseph Mouret, Antonio Valente and Giovanni Paolo Cima. So, it’s not just about Spanish composers, but they are well represented here. Buys is particularly thrilled to have Alexandra Opsahl playing the cornetto and recorder after coming off of a tour in France.

“Alexandra specializes in Baroque music and she will answer any questions the audience has about her instruments and the music,” Buys said.

The concert is just one of several events that La Señora Research Institute will present this year. They also present film screenings and garden tours relating to the hacienda’s history and that of  former Santa Monica residents such as Marion Davies and Christopher Isherwood. 

“The room in which the concert is being held was built by Jose Mojica as a concert venue, so it’s a great opportunity to see these period instruments being played in a Spanish Hacienda that was made to accommodate this type of performance,” Buys said.

The concert will be held Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. at Mojica Hacienda, home of La Señora Research Institute, 565 Dryad Rd, Santa Monica. Admission: non members $45; members $35; students $20; children (11 years and under) $15. RSVP by August 12 to events@lasenora.org or by calling 310.454.0706.

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