Monthly Archives: July 2013

Art Imitates Art: “La nuit espagnole” in Lower Manhattan

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A review from mezzo Celeste Mann in her blog “Deslumbrar” about La nuit espagnole at the DROM Theater…

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A small group of artists decided to run with the concept of multimedia performance in a show called “La nuit espagnole: Flamenco and the Spanish Vanguard” in the Between The Seas Festival in Lower East Side Manhattan (DROM) on July 24, 2013.

I attended virtually from my laptop since it was streamed live. This was not equal to witnessing this event live since the image was blurry and it was hard to see some of the performers’ expressions. They also did not capture the projections of art work on which this mélange was based. However, the sound was quite good.

The show was an interpretation in music,  dance and images of the “La noche española” exhibition at the Reina Sofia in Madrid from December 2007- March 2008. (For more information on that exhibition:

http://www.museoreinasofia.es/exposiciones/noche-espanola-flamenco-vanguardia-cultura-popular-1865-1936 )

The performers for the evening were: Anna Tonna, a lovely mezzo-soprano, Rebeca Tomás, flamenco…

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Link

LINK TO REAL TIME STREAMING TONIGHT OF LA NUIT ESPAGNOLE AT
THE DROM THEATER, IN NYC, TONIGHT JULY 24 AT 7:15 PM USA EASTERN TIME

https://www.gander.tv/event/drom-medfest-2013-anna-tonna-724-715pm-9pm

Carte Nuit Espagnole Original

Dear Friends, for those of you that cannot make it tonight for the debut of La nuit espagnole: Flamenco and the Spanish Vanguard at the DROM Theater  at 7:15 PM USA Eastern time tonight in the East Village (Avenue A, between E. 5 and E. 6), the show will be streamed in real time, here is the link. We will be posting photos and a video soon!

https://www.gander.tv/event/drom-medfest-2013-anna-tonna-724-715pm-9pm

 

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Repertorio de La nuit espagnole: flamenco y la vanguardia española

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La nuit espagnole: flamenco y la vanguardia española

24 de julio, 2013 Teatro DROM de Nueva York a las 19:15 (hora de NYC)

Para mirar la transmisión del espectáculo en vivo via “streaming”

pinchar aqui:

 https://www.gander.tv/event/drom-medfest-2013-anna-tonna-724-715pm-9pm

La nuit espagnole: flamenco y la vanguardia española es un espectáculo multidisciplinar que ilumina por medio de la danza, la canción y la pintura a los protagonistas de la cultura flamenca del primer tercio del siglo XX: los bailaores Antonia Mercé, ‘La Argentina’, Encarnación López ‘La Argentinita’ y Vicente Escudero, y los artistas de la vanguardia europea de Entreguerras que se inspiraron en ellos.

La mezzosoprano Anna Tonna, la bailaora Rebeca Tomás, la bailarina de clásico español Anna de la Paz y la pianista jerezana María de los Ángeles Rubio, junto con el guitarrista flamenco Pedro Cortés y la cantaora Barbara Martínez, nos brindan un espectáculo de coreografías originales sobre música de Manuel de Falla, Isaac Albéniz, Federico García Lorca y Gustavo Pittaluga, acompañada con imágenes de Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Frances Picabia, poesía de Federico García Lorca y fotografías de Man Ray.

Con todo ello, se intenta rememorar a estos artistas de la vanguardia europea de Entreguerras y sus creaciones basadas en la cultura flamenca de las décadas de los años veinte y treinta del siglo xx.

REPERTORIO

Córdoba, de Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)

Baile, de Julián Bautista (1901-1961)

Polo Gitano, de Tomas Bretón (1850-1923)

Seleciones de El amor brujo, de Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)

Anda Jaleo, Nana y Tarara de Federico García Lorca (1898-1936)

“Romance de Solita” del ballet La romería de los cornudos,

de Gustavo Pittaluga (1906-1975)

La corrida, de Quinito Valverde (1875-1918)

Farruca y alegrías tradicionales

Inspiración de escritores románticos (Gautier, Bécquer…) y pintores (Manet) desde finales del siglo XIX, la cultura flamenca, sus bailaores y el cante jondo ejercieron una gran fascinación sobre los compositores, escritores y pintores de las vanguardias europeas a principios del siglo XX. Estas “musas” de las vanguardias estuvieron en estrecha vinculación con la música de la rompedora obra de Manuel de Falla El amor brujo:

“Hemos hecho una obra rara, nueva, y desconocemos el efecto que pudiere producir.”

Manuel de Falla, La Patria. Madrid, 15 de abril de 1915

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Pastora Imperio en el escenario de El amor brujo, 1915

Pablo Picasso y Francis Picabia se obsesionaron con la representación plástica de la guitarra y la bailaora españolas en sus pinturas; al mismo tiempo, los artistas de la cultura flamenca bebían de las mismas aguas, reflejando las nuevas ideas y estéticas de las vanguardias del momento:

“Así una noche soñé que bailaba con el ruido de dos motores y al poco tiempo lo convertí en realidad, llevándolo a la escena de la sala Pleyel de París, en un concierto en el que presenté un baile flamenco-gitano, con el acompañamiento de dos dinamos de diferente intensidad. Yo, a fuerza de quebrar la línea recta que producía el sonido eléctrico, compuse la combinación rítmico-plástica que me había propuesto por voluntad, y que para mí representaba la lucha del hombre y la maquina, de la improvisación y la técnica mecánica.”

Vicente Escudero (bailaor), Influencia y el surrealismo en mi baile, 1948

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Many Ray, Fotografia de Vicente Escudero, 1928

La admiración de Lorca por la bailaora Antonia Mercé, “La Argentina” no es sorprendente:

“Esa española, enjuta, seca, nerviosa, mujer en vilo que está ahí sentada, es una heroína de su propio cuerpo; una domadora de sus deseos frágiles, que es la doble vista. Quiero decir que sus ojos no están en ella mientras baila, sino enfrente de ella, mirando y rigiendo sus menores movimientos al cuidado de la objetividad de sus explicaciones, ayudando a mantener las ráfagas ciegas e impresionantes del instinto puro.”

Federico García Lorca, Elogio de Antonia Mercé “La Argentina”

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En La nuit espagnole: flamenco y la vanguardia española, los géneros españoles de canción y danza clásicos sienten los clamores de los ritmos flamencos. La voz lírica se mezcla con la del vibrante cante. La danza clásico-española irá de la mano de la danza flamenca en un espectáculo inolvidable sobre el arte que inspiró a las vanguardias europeas de Entreguerras.

Caratula del disco de las canciones antiguas espanolas, cantadas por La Argentinita y con Federico Garcia Lorca al piano

Caratula del disco de las canciones antiguas espanolas, cantadas por La Argentinita y Federico Garcia Lorca al piano

Cartel Nuit Espagnole (1)

Dancer, choreographer, artist and muse of the Spanish Vanguard Antonia Mercé, “La Argentina” (1888-1936)

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“Pienso que adoro la danza porque siempre he detestado la mentira. En la danza todo es verdadero.”

I think I adore dance because I have always detested lies. In dance, everything is truthful.

Music for La nuit espagnole: Romance de Solita from “Romeria de los cornudos”

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With this curious project that I have cooked up of La nuit espagnole:  Flamenco and the Spanish Vanguard, I can finally bring out of the closet a couple of songs by classical Spanish composers that have influences of Flamenco music. Since my collaboration is with Spanish classical dancer Anna de la Paz and flamenco dancer Rebeca Tomás, we all put in the mix the various ingredients that would make up this “experimental” evening of Spanish classical dance and flamenco dance and song, that premieres on July 24th at the DROM Theater, as part of Between the Seas Festival in NYC:

Córdoba by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)

Baile by Julián Bautista (1901-1961)

Polo Gitano by Tomas Bretón (1850-1923)

Excerpts from El amor brujo by Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)

Anda Jaleo by Federico García Lorca (1898-1936)

Romance de Solita from the ballet La romería de los cornudos by Gustavo Pittaluga (1906-1975)

La corrida by “Quinito” Valverde (1875-1918) castanet solo

Traditional flamenco arrangements of Farruca and Alegrías

Our idea was to do an homage to the great flamenco dancers of the first part of the 20th century and highlight their relationship with the artists and intellectuals of the Spanish Vanguard of the time.  Anna de la Paz programmed items that were part of the repertoire of the great Spanish dancer Antonia Mercé “La Argentina”.  Anna chose “La corrida” by “Quinito” Valverde, which will be done as a castanet solo with piano, “Polo Gitano” (taken from the piano suite Escenas andaluzas) by zarzuela composer Tomas Bretón and “Córdoba” by Isaac Albéniz, all pieces that were part of Antonia Mercé’s repertoire.  I added to the mix a song from a somewhat forgotten ballet composed and dedicated to Antonia Mercé called “La romería de los cornudos”. I first heard this song, oddly enough, in a recording  with American mezzo soprano Nan Merriman and pianist Gerard Moore in a song recital album (re issued by Testament) from the 50’s of Spanish and French songs. I promptly ordered the score from Musicroom and have had it for YEARS. There is also a recording that I have not heard as of yet by Conchita Supervia with Gustavo Pittaluga himself conducting her in the orchestral version, dated 1933 (Conchita Supervia, Complete Recordings, Volume 4, Odeon).

During a chance meeting at a photo copy place in Madrid this past May with Granada-born flamenco poet Juan de Loxa, founder and past director of the Federico García Lorca House Museum in Fuentevaqueros, he clarified for me that although this ballet was composed for Antonia Mercé, who danced fragments of it in her presentations, the whole ballet was actually premiered by Encarnación López “La Argentinita“.

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Spanish dancer, Encarnación López, “La Argentinita”

Mr. de Loxa made available to me other supporting materials, including a lovely book that he edited that documented the close friendship between “Argentinita” and the poet Federico García Lorca.  The composer of the ballet is Gustavo Pittaluga, a figure from the so called Generation of ’27; known in Spanish music history books as part of the first wave of Spanish vanguard composers, his works are hardly done in Spain ( thought there is a recording of Romeria de los cornudos by Anton Ros Marbá with the Real Orquesta de Sevilla, 1996). A highly original composer, I listened to his curious orchestral piece Habanera in youtube.  Like most figures from the Spanish vanguard, he was interested in flamenco culture. The libretto of “Romería de los Cornudos” was done by the very much admired and respected writer and intellectual C. Rivas Cherif.

“Romance de Solita” is the one solo song in “Romería”, scored for mezzo soprano and orchestra.  It starts with a standard flamenco “llamada”, with extensive ornate flourishes. Solita is the town street singer, and tells the legend of the the miracles granted by the local church painting in a small village in the Sierras of Granada, the  Christ of Moclín with its legend of granting children to sterile women. The dance rhythms soon becomes evident, and it is interposed with free sections for the singer to sing the ornate flamenco like flourishes; I will sing this piece with Maria de los Angeles Rubio at the piano; both Anna de la Paz and Rebeca Tomás will present an original choreography to this piece.

Spanish classical dancer, Anna de la Paz

Spanish classical dancer, Anna de la Paz

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Flamenco dancer, Rebeca Tomás

Poem “The Spanish dancer”, by Rainer Marie Rilke

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“And suddenly she is all, all aflame,

With a glance her hair catches fire

And she suddenly tosses, with daring artistry,

Her entire dress into that fire,

From which, like frightened serpents,

Her naked, wakeful arms stretch forth crackling.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, Bailarina española (Spanish Dancer), 1936

 

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Pastora Imperio, at the premiere of Falla’s “El amor brujo”

 

 

The Spanish Fan in José Miura’s poster design for “La nuit espagnole: Flamenco and the Spanish Vanguard”

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José Miura, La nuit espagnole, 2013

Perusing the catalog of the exhibition “La noche espanola:  Flamenco, Vanguardia y Cultura Española (1865-1936)“, which took place at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid in 2008, I was looking for ideas for an image to characterize the show I’m producing with dancers Rebeca Tomás, Anna de la Paz and pianist Maria de los Angeles Rubio for Between the Seas Festival on July 24th of this year in NYC.  Flamenco culture in the early part of the 20th century and Modernism (namely Art Deco) seem to go hand in hand in every way: the choreography of Antonia Mercé with her angular gestures, the costume designs that she wore by Nestor and the set designs and back drops of Bacarisas for ballets such as Triana and El amor brujo. In an article written by Jody Blake in this “Noches Espanola”  exhibit catalog entitled Su peineta, su chal, su flor, I was most attracted by the fabulous images created by russian theatrical designer and painter Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962) for Daghliev’s Ballet russes.  I gravitated to her Spanish ladies, which were called by one of her contemporaries “Cathedrals”, because of their statuesque larger than life tall hair combs, mantillas (analogues fashion image of New York 1920’s Vogue posters that correlate New York Sky scrappers with women’s high fashion).

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Natalie Goncharova, Figurines españoles, 1916, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid

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This visual  “language”  or cue of Spanish dance accessories is noted by dance critic  André Levinson in 1925:

“I would like to allude here, although its something already past, that the symbolism of the dress of the Spanish dancers, chosen by instinct and  tradition.  Each dance has its comb, its wrap, its flower, which is a rose or a carnation; the dancers wear a mantilla or sometimes not; and the kerchief knotted or loose”.

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Natalie Goncharova, Spanish dancer

The Spanish dancer accessories gives play to the imagination of artists such as Goncharova, in terms of plastic composition and movement of the dancer, implementing another important accessory, the Spanish Fan.

I first met the Dominican artist, painter and theater designer José Miura ina production of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly ten years ago, and I had the pleasure of singing in a beautiful production of his design at the Teatro Nacional de Santo Domingo.  José, whom I consider a friend, seemingly absorbed what I had in mind by osmosis: the colors chosen transmit the Deco spirit of the flamenco posters of Modernist Spain of the 1920’s and 30’s, the cubed figures interposed with the curvy and sinuous letters of “La nuit espagnole”, that form part of the composition of Spanish fan are wonderful, and exhibit to perfection the aesthetic of Antonia Mercé “La Argentina”: the sense of juxtaposition between angular and the “S” shape swishes of arms, mantón; percussion and curves are the dramatic effect that is sought:

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In his own words, Miura comments:

The geometric principals of Russian Constructivism and its relation to graphic design, was my departing point for the realization of this poster, where I attempt to integrate the colors of the Spanish flag with that symbol that characterizes the art of flamenco, the Spanish fan.

 The dynamism of those geometric elements – the triangle, the square and the half circle, pierce to establish the importance their own space within the design, with a result that is peculiar to that time in history, the meeting of the Spanish vanguard of the 1920’s and 30’s with Flamenco.

“Los principios geométricos del Constructivismo Ruso y su relación con el diseño grafico fueron el punto de partida para la realización de este afiche donde trato de integrar los colores de la bandera española y un símbolo que caracteriza el arte flamenco que es el abanico español.

El dinamismo de los elementos geométricos-el triángulo, el cuadrado y el medio círculo-pugnan por establecer la importancia de su espacio dentro del diseño, con un resultado tan peculiar como el que significó para la historia el encuentro de la Vanguardia española de los años 20’s y 30’s y el Flamenco.”

The music and dance show “La nuits espagnole: Flamenco and the Spanish Vanguard” opens on July 24 of 2013, presented by DROM and Between the Seas Festival in New York City

Cartel Nuit Espagnole (1)