La Capella Reial de Catalunya (Royal Capella of Catalonia) is a vocal group that was founded by Jordi Savall in an attempt to re-create the typical court chapel musical organization of a royal court of the Iberian peninsula in the Renaissance era and into the Baroque.
In 1974, Savall, a viola da gamba soloist, had co-founded the instrumental group Hespèrion XX (later Hespèrion XXI). Originally a quartet, Hespèrion often added other instruments as required by its repertory, which covers the Renaissance and Baroque eras in Europe. By comparison, the Capella Reial was a larger vocal group from the beginning, specializing in Iberian music. It was designed to be expansible, drawing from a pool of the finest vocal soloists in the period performance movement.
La Capella Reial de Catalunya has traveled widely in Europe, Canada, the United States, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The group has played acclaimed presentations of some of the major vocal/instrumental works of the Renaissance and Baroque eras, including the Missa Bruxellensis of Biber, Victoria's Cantica Beatae Virginis, Alfonso X's Cantigas de Santa Maria, Morales' Requiem, and Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers.
One of its landmark performances was the opera Orfeo by Monteverdi in the 1992-1993 season of the Gran Teatro del Liceo of Barcelona, a production stage directed by Gilbert Deflo. It also played on the soundtrack of Jeanne la Pucelle, a film directed by Jacques Rivette. It has recorded on various labels and has received the Grand Prizes of the French Académie du Disque and the Charles Cros Académie, the Diapason d'or of the Year, FNAC, and the Nouvelle Académie du Disque, the Orphée d'or, and the Giorgio Gini Foundation Prize of Venice.
In 1989 Savall founded Le Concert des Nations, according to plan, enlarging on the instrumental forces available to accompany La Capella Reial de Catalunya. It is named after a composition by François Couperin. Its purpose is to serve as a period instrument group to perform music from 1600 to 1850; that is, the Baroque, the Classical, and the early Romantic era. It serves as the orchestra of La Capella Reial de Catalunya when that group is performing Baroque music. It premiered on disc in Canticum ad Beatam Virginem Mariam by Marc-Antoine Charpentier with the Capella and was the orchestra for the Capella's landmark performance of Orfeo in Barcelona in 1993. In 1990, the Generalitat de Catalunya became an official patron of the Capella and the Le Concert des Nations.