December 21, 2014

Da Camera at the Mermaid

 

PHOTO COURTESY DA CAMERA SOCIETY

Da Camera at the Mermaid

Alla Francesca performs regularly in the most important festivals and concert halls in France and throughout Europe.

The Da Camera Society Presents ‘Alla Francesca’ at the Mermaid on Dec. 16.

The Mountain Mermaid will host the world-class chamber ensemble, Alla Fransesca, in two holiday concert performances on Dec. 16 at 2 and 4 p.m.

The Da Camera “time machine” is ready to whisk patrons back to the chivalrous days of knights and troubadors when Chamber Music in Historic Sites presents the ensemble in its Southern California debut of holiday music by the knight, songwriter and first French King of Navarre, Thibaut de Champagne (1201-1253).

Ancient sounds of the Medieval harp, psaltery, lute and cittern will enliven the baronial splendor of the Mermaid, a true Topanga treasure. The program includes love songs, shepherd’s songs, devotional songs, historical songs and crusade songs.

To complete the experience, the afternoon concludes with a French holiday-style reception with champagne, Buche-de-Noel and baked pears.

THE MOUNTAIN MERMAID

The performances revive a tradition established more than thirty years ago, when this building served as an informal concert hall known as the Mermaid Tavern.  Under the direction of former L. A. Philharmonic double-bassist Mickey Nadel and his wife Ann, a weaver, the tavern featured a selection of classical music, inexpensive wines and organic foods one night a week during the early 1970s.

The structure’s first role was as the Sylvia Park Country Club, erected in 1930 as the showpiece of Topanga Canyon’s largest residential development.  Its architect, C. E. Finkenbinder of Los Angeles, designed the club in the perennially fashionable Spanish style, then at the height of its popularity.

The  exterior features an arcaded entrance, an octagonal tower and espadana parapet recalling California’s missions.  Inside, the spacious former lounge boasts a high trussed and beamed ceiling, baronial fireplace and generous views of the surrounding landscape. R.S.V.P. to Bill Buerge at bill@themermaid.com, or (310) 455-3181.