Hear ye! Hear ye! UC Irvine’s very own Madrigal Dinner is once again transporting its guests to King Henry VIII’s court of the 16th century, celebrating its 24th year of performance with dinners from Dec. 10 through 19. A grand experience for all those that attend, guests are treated to a seven-course feast, live music and dancing, world-famous magic and of course the company of King Henry himself along with his court.
The Madrigal Dinner is more than just a show. In fact, it’s more of a sensory immersion of another place and time, 1541 in England, to be precise.
‘It’s been traditional that we’ve called this ‘An Evening with Henry VIII,” said Joseph Huszti, director and producer of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts production. ‘We find some significant event in his life to be very specific about what is going on at the Madrigal Dinner. Sometimes it was his coronation, sometimes, [like] this year it’s a progression. Henry took 5,000 people from London and progressed to Lincoln, [England] and spent several weeks there.’
One of the most important aspects of the production is the music, performed by several of UCI’s choirs.
‘[Performing are] the Chamber Singers, a select group of mostly upper-class students; the Madrigal Singers, a select group of mostly freshmen; the Chamber Choir, a group of both freshmen and upper-class students; and the Men’s Ensemble,’ Huszti said. ‘We have a group called the King’s Musick of instrumentalists, with mostly alumni from the area that play instruments from the period: recorders, gambas, harpsichord, sackbut and brass players.’
Huszti has been working with UCI’s choirs for 28 years. He started the Madrigal Dinner after seeing several period reconstructions all over the world.
‘There are hundreds of these events held in this country by high schools, colleges, universities and church groups,’ Huszti said. ‘We got the idea to reconstruct our own