Thursday, December 22, 2022

Spiritus: splendid psychedelic immersion in famous Portuguese chapel

Clerigos Church and its magnificent cathedral host a light-filled wondrous show, "Spiritus."

Gorgeous lights highlight windows and offer nature imagery
and accentuate the church's large windows and baroque architecture.




PREPARE TO immerse your senses as you simultaneously celebrate an architectural wonder.
This unique opportunity unfolds in a stunning show in an historic Portuguese church, Clerigos.
Clerigos Tower aglow at night, a proud Porto landmark.

In its sanctuary, "Spiritus" -- an inventive light and sound show --  examines with imagination the connection between man, nature and the heavens.
We hurried from a city walking tour as dusk fell, to the lovely Baroque church in the city of Porto. Our "compass" was Clerigos Church with its impressive 75-meter-tall bell tower, the Torre dos Clérigos. As we hurried several blocks from our bus to the show, we could see the tower getting closer. It was fun to observe it from various vantage points and as evening fell and muted clouds blanketed the city. The immense Torre dos Clérigos towers over its surroundings and is a central point on virtually all views of historic Porto. The baroque tower was designed by Italian artist and architect Nicolau Nasoni in the mid-eighteenth century.
Famous Clergios Church and Tower are worth a visit.

Nasoni lived and worked in Porto for fifty years, designing many beautiful structures in Porto and throughout the north of Portugal. He was a busy man, also creating the loggia on the Porto Cathedral, the Episcopal Palace, Palace of São João Novo, and the Palace of Freixo, all proud landmarks of Porto. As we turned corners and navigated narrow streets and alleys, the tower remained nearly always in view. No wonder it was placed where it is -- on a high point in the city where all eyes are drawn to its magnificence.

The small but fascinating museum at Clerigos is
enjoyed by Cookie with insights from a docent.

The interior of Clerigos Church Clérigos Museum
 exhibits a collection of sacred art and liturgical
 objects dating from the 13th to the 20th century.

WE HAD tickets in hand -- an advantage in moving through a line at the box office and toward the entrance of this popular production. The queue was long but moved quickly with visitors from around the world. People were quiet and respectful as we entered the cathedral to take our seats. Then a young man with a sonorous voice gave a brief introduction to what we were about to behold. He explained that the innovative multimedia show would "transcend the walls" and promised a spiritual and emotional journey in this lovely and much loved Baroque church.
Then the lights dimmed and a wonderous light show appeared.  Spiritus is an audiovisual experience, pairing light, music, and architecture in the heart of the church. Created by OCUBO, an internationally known Portuguese art studio, the 
experience uses its religious location to carry the spectator on a spiritual and emotional journey. The work is inspired by the poem “In the end, the best way to travel is to feel,” by Álvaro de Campos, respected Portuguese poet.  One need not be religious to appreciate the splendor. 
CLERIGOS was built in 1753 and has been a national monument since 1910, much loved by the people of the city. It inspired the urbanization of the city, and is a landmark of the town. It was begun at the request of the Brotherhood of Clerics, with architect Nasoni commissioned to design a bell tower to dominate Porto's landscape. 
The Clerigos light show, "Spiritus," moves many deeply.
It was completed 10 years later, in July of 1763, with the placing of the iron cross on the top, and the image of St. Paul in the niche above the door, its construction was finished. Since 2014, the Church, Tower and House of the Brotherhood are a museum. Do make time to visit it when you book the show. It is small -- just a few rooms -- but filled with antique furniture, sacred art and centuries old liturgical objects
Families and couples regularly make a pilgrimage to the tower, climbing the 225 steps to the top. The show and museum add dimension and can also be enjoyed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, too.


Jefferson McDonald, Matthew McGloin are a hit
in Northcoast Rep's "Two Pianos, Four Hands."

BEST BET: "2 Pianos, 4 Hands" is a “must see” at Northcoast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach, Calif. It’s a dazzling love letter to the world's most versatile and difficult instrument. Two gifted musicians deliver classical war horses laced with comedy and pathos. Part slapstick, part highbrow, the show features Jefferson McDonald and Matthew McGloin whose flawless technique was honed in years of study. While their artistry amazes, the show's physical humor and impersonations make it more than a mere concert. Themes honor the hard work a classical career demands, conflicts with parents and coaches, and the challenges of devoting one's life to a passion. In the style of Victor Borge and Anna Russell, the actors weave parody and slapstick with flawless Liszt, Chopin, Beethoven, Bach and Mozart -- with tuneful nods to Rodgers and Hart, Dave Brubeck and Billy Joel. This perfect pitch production hits the high notes while tickling the funny bone -- all on a pair of 88s, through Jan. 1. Tickets at:; 858 481-1055.  

A colorfully clad Martinique woman prepares a holiday
cocktail for us on New Year's Day. Fresh fruit -- delicious!
UP NEXT: Holiday time is in full swing as a New Year approaches. We  find holidays make a lively time to explore new places, holding old habits dear while making room for new traditions. We'll share favorite places and activities for celebrating the flip of the calendar to 2023. We have a suggestion for our readers, too: How about making a resolution to travel, shake up your routine, broaden your worldly experience, take the trip you've long wanted, make new friends on another continent? Come along, remembering to explore, learn and live.  Catch us weekly for a fresh spin on travel, the arts, nature, family and more at: 
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  1. We are building a home near this lovely city and while we love the United States, we find the people, sights, food and history fascinating. Thank you for this insightful piece.

  2. We are alone this holiday season and looking for inspiration. Your story provided it. With lovely photos. Thank you.

  3. Wow ... didn't know if this church in two visits.... Will not miss it next summer.