An essential part of the Marbella summer, the Starlite festival has already kicked off with concerts by Spanish pop legends Oreja de Van Gogh and Ella Baila Sola. With two months to go, a line-up for all tastes and a bonus of exclusive DJ sessions, Starlite is a post-COVID entertainment must – after all, it’s set completely outdoors with a stage that is carved into the slopes of Marbella’s La Concha mountain.
Article by Anastasia Sukhanova
For classical music aficionados
If what you’re looking for is a classy experience, there is plenty to choose from. For starters, the Starlite stage will be graced by no less than one of the “three tenors”, Placido Domingo (August 18th). A prodigy child of two Zarzuela singers and a native of Madrid, Domingo is now 80 years old but still as energetic as ever. Having fully recovered from COVID-19 in March 2020, he is now touring through Saint Petersburg, Ljubljana and Italy. When it comes to Domingo, one is always in for a surprising concert repertoire: from the most demanding classical opera baritone roles to modern pop music covers, his voice is one that will stay in your memory forever.
The rock star of violins and an enfant terrible of classical music, Ara Malikian (August 28th) leaves no one indifferent. Born in Lebanon of Armenian descent and based in Spain, the classically trained cellist has a massive following as diverse as his cultural and musical heritage, which spans from intriguing fusions of Bach and flamenco to klezmer music and Boy George specials – after they have toured together, naturally. Get ready for an extravaganza featuring jaw-dropping outfits, disco-fit lighting and an occasional heart-wrenching classic.
Get all the drama of a Saint Petersburg cultural experience without the actual drama of getting there: Starlite offers an astonishing dance performance of “Swan Lake” by Irina Kolesnikova & St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre (July 23rd). A nominee of the Critics’ Circle of the UK as a finalist for Best Female Dancer in the National Dance Awards, Kolesnikova will undoubtedly offer a strong performance in a ballet that everyone should see at least once in their life.
For pop & rock lovers
The Best Is yet to Come – a fitting title of Bonnie Tyler’s 2021 album, fresh off the shelves, that will be the backbone of her Starlite performance this year (August 14th). Tyler’s work has earned her three Grammy Award nominations and three Brit Award nominations, several albums that are among the best-selling of all time and globally recognizable singles such as It’s a Heartache and Total Eclipse of the Heart. There’s nothing like 80’s rock, especially performed in the welsh singer’s husky voice, to make for a perfect summer evening.
Another Welsh singer, Sir Thomas John Woodward OBE, known professionally as Tom Jones, will perform at Starlite on August 16th. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to music in 2005 and raised to TV stardom by his coaching role on the talent show The Voice UK, Tom Jones has just released his 41st studio album, Surrounded by Time. The collection of covers debuted at number one in the United Kingdom, making Jones, 81 years old, the oldest male to earn a number-one UK album, and charted within the top 25 in five other countries.
To top it all off, one of Starlite’s concluding concerts is from the Bootleg Beatles (September 1st), a Beatles tribute band founded in 1980. The band has earned worldwide recognition, having headlined the Acoustic Stage at Glastonbury Festival, performed for Queen Elizabeth at her Golden Jubilee Party at Buckingham Palace back in 2002, sold out Hyde Park and shared stages with Rod Stewart, Bon Jovi, David Bowie and Iggy Pop.
For a truly Spanish experience
Look no further than Estrella Morente’s concert on August 9th for a truly Andalusian night. Born to flamenco singer Enrique Morente and dancer Aurora Carbonell in Granada, Estrella has performed with her father since she was seven and has flamenco running through her veins. As if this wasn’t authentic enough, 20 years ago Morente married bullfighter Javier Conde, with whom she has two children. You might even recognize her voice as she was behind Penélope Cruz’s flamenco song in the 2006 film Volver.
A native of neighboring Almeria, David Bisbal (August 23rd) is the sweet voice of Spanish pop. As of 2019, he has sold more than six million records in Spain and America, getting 69 platinum albums, 20 gold and two diamonds. His recent collaboration with Carrie Underwood for a new single, Tears of Gold has marked his debut on the English-speaking stage, promising a rapid accent to international fame.
Estopa (August 19th) is one of the most successful Spanish bands that perform rumba, flamenco and pop rock. Creators of their world renowned Rumba Rock, the Muñoz brothers will fill the auditorium with their unmistakable rhythm and catchy lyrics presenting their latest Fuego tour.