Inspired by the mediaeval vocal ensembles known as the Chapels Royal, veritable temples of music for which the great sacred and secular works of the Iberian peninsula were composed, Montserrat Figueras and Jordi Savall decided, in 1987, to recover the mediaeval institution of the Capella Reial, founded in 1297 by king Jaume II. From 1990 the Capella Reial began to receive support from the Generalitat de Catalunya (government of Catalonia) and thereafter became known as the La Capella Reial de Catalunya.
From the outset the new ensemble has been devoted to the recovery and performance of mediaeval vocal polyphony as well as that of the Golden Age in Spain and in Europe prior to the 19th century. Following the same artistic path as Hespèrion XXI, and always with great respect for each work’s profound spiritual and artistic dimension, La Capella Reial de Catalunya superbly combines adaptation to the style of the period with the delivery and expressive projection of the poetic text.
The mediaeval and polyphonic repertoire of the La Capella Reial de Catalunya today includes such essential works as Les Cantigues d’Alfons X el Savi, the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, the Misteri d’Elx, the Cançoners del Segle d’Or and pieces from the great masters of the Renaissance and Baroque such as Mateu Flecha, Cristóbal de Morales, Francisco Guerrero, Tomás Luís de Victoria, Joan Cererols, Claudio Monteverdi, H. I. von Biber and W.A. Mozart (the Requiem).
Noteworthy also is the ensemble’s participation in the soundtrack for the film Jeanne La Pucelle (1993) by Jacques Rivette about the life of Joan of Arc, and the operas Una cosa rara by Vicent Martín i Soler, performed at the Théatre des Champs Élysées (1991), at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid (1989), and L’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi, performed at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona (1993), at the Teatro Real in Madrid (1999), at the Wiener Konzerthaus and at the Arsenal in Metz (2001), at the Teatro Reggio di Torino (2002) and again in the newly rebuilt Liceu de Barcelona (2002), a DVD having been made of that performance (BBC- Opus Arte). It was also performed in the Palais des Arts in Brussels (2006) and at the Grand-Théâtre in Bordeaux and at the Piccolo Teatro in Milano, Festival Mito (2007). That opera by Monteverdi and his Vespro, were performed at the inaugural concert of the Edinburgh Festival in 2007, by the La Capella Reial de Catalunya.
His recorded works have also received numerous awards, notable amongst which are the Midem Classical Award, the International Classical Music Awards and the Grammy Award 2011 in the category of “Best Small Ensemble Performance” (Dinastia Borgia, Alia Vox 2010). Currently directed by Jordi Savall, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, is busily engaged in performing concerts and making recordings and performs at the main international ancient music festivals around the world.