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CONVENT OF SANT DOMINGO

Carrer de Guillem Cifre de Colonya, s/n

THE CONVENT OF SANT DOMINGO IS THE SETTING FOR THE POLLENÇA FESTIVAL

THE CONVENT OF SANT DOMINGO WAS BUILT BY THE DOMINICAN FRIARS BETWEEN 1558 AND 1616. EVERY SUMMER, THE CONVENT HOSTS THE FESTIVAL OF POLLENÇA, ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MUSIC FESTIVALS IN THE WORLD.

This cloister was built by Dominican Friars (1) between 1558 and 1616 in order to bolster their presence in Pollença, having initially settled in the Oratorio del Roser Vell. The Dominicans occupied the church and the cloister until 1833, when the site was disentailed (2), and a few years later the Spanish government ceded it to Pollença Town Council. Since then it has had many uses, including as a hospice, Guardia Civil barracks, a school and a museum.

The church of the cloister has a basilica floor plan (3) and ten side chapels, each adorned with a period altarpiece. The most striking example was created between 1651 and 1662 by Mallorcan sculptor Joan Antoni Oms and is dedicated to the Virgen del Rosario, patron saint of the Dominicans. The painting dates back to the fifteenth century and comes from the Roser Vell shurch, which can also be visited in Pollença.

Next to the church is the pièce de résistance of this building: a Baroque-style (4) cloister which was completed in 1616. Well known for the beauty of its four arched corridors, it has also been the venue for the Pollença Classical Music Festival since 1962. This event, created by the famous British violinist Philip Newman (5) and held annually in July and August, regularly attracts eminent figures such as the soprano Montserrat Caballé, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and the Orchestre National de France with Lorin Maazel as conductor.

(1) Dominican Friars: The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, is a Catholic religious order founded by Spanish priest Domingo de Guzmán in 1216. Its members, the Dominican Friars, advocate to a life of preaching peace to the people, having taken vows of poverty, austerity, chastity and obedience. Famed Dominicans from throughout history include Thomas Aquinas, Vicente Ferrer and Bartolomé de las Casas.

(2) Disentailment: Throughout the nineteenth century, Spanish liberal governments carried out a process of expropriating, nationalising and privatising many of the properties that the Catholic Church had amassed across the country. The aim of this was to boost public coffers, which were suffering heavily due to wars and the loss of colonies.

(3) Basilica floor plan: A type of architectural floor plan that dates back to Roman public buildings. It consists of a main nave separated from other lower naves by rows of columns, allowing churchgoers to focus on the chevet of the church, which is usually an apse where the high altar is found. Access to the church is via the nave itself.

(4) Baroque-style: A term identified with a cultural movement and artistic style dating approximately from the seventeenth to mid-eighteenth century, characterised by excessive ornamentation. In fact, the concept was coined by its critics using the French word 'baroque', one translation of which is 'extravagant', referring to what they considered was an excess on the part of certain artists. As a style, it followed Renaissance and preceded Neoclassicism, first catching on in Italy and then spreading to the rest of Europe.

(5) Philip Newman: Born in Manchester in 1904 and son of one of the greatest singers of the time, Philip Newman studied violin in his home city and in Brussels, where he soon excelled for his magnificent performing talent that would later lead him to rub shoulders with the greatest musicians of the era, such as Pau Casals, Yehudi Menuhin and Igor Stravinsky. He unexpectedly passed away in his beloved Mallorca in the summer of 1966, shortly after his final public concert at the Festival de Pollença, where he was requested by a journalist to play 'Recitative and Scherzo-Caprice' by Austrian composer Fritz Kreisler.