BWW Review: FALLA & FLAMENCO. FASCINATING RHYTHMS at The Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl presented Siudy Flamenco Dance Theatre and Los Angeles guest artist, dancer Manuel Gutierrez with percussionist Diego Alvarez and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for an evening of fabulous Flamenco music and a production of El Amor Brujo.
With the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Palio Bortolameolli, the first half of the evening began, playing an extraordinary Ravel piece, "Alborada del gracioso," or "Morning Song of the Jester" that was a perfect intro for the evening ahead. Originally composed as a piano piece, it became part of a full length composition entitled "Miroirs" and has a definite Spanish influence to it, akin to the seguidilla. Different sections went from a wide sweeping melody by the string and wind instruments, to pizzicato violins and harps hinting of Flamenco rhythms and a descriptive bassoon solo passage that led to an intricate full-sounding, rich ending.
Next, "Selections from The Three-Cornered Hat," by the composer of the evening, Manuel da Falla. Based on a comical novella, Falla orchestrated this masterfully, utilizing every instrument in the orchestra it seems, who each had their own sections where they were highlighted, and each represented a style of Flamenco, such as the fandango, and seguidilla. The wide screens that flank the Proscenium of the Hollywood Bowl, enhanced our view of not only the orchestra and it's sections up close, but flashed written information and visuals about the piece.
Seeing the musicians in close-ups on the screens as they play really helps you feel involved in the performing of the piece. And the beautiful lighting at the Bowl helps make the evening even more memorable.
The second half of the evening was also another composition by Manuel da Falla. This time the orchestra was joined by the performers of the Siudy Flamenco Dance Theater. The Artistic Director, Dancer and Choreographer, Siudy Garrido portrays the lead character, Candelas, in this ballet.
Inspired by Flamenco pioneer Pastora Imperio, Manuel de Falla, who was known for his Folk and Classical Spanish music composed El Amor Brujo, which was first performed in the Teatro Lara, Spain in April 15, 1915. El Amor Brujo reenacts the legend of a young widowed gypsy haunted by the ghost of her jealous husband. To free her from his unwanted attention, Candelas and Carmelo, her new lover, must exchange a kiss of perfect love. In a series of dances the ghost first frightens the couple, in the Dance of Terror. A love that is tested throughout a disjointed tale of betrayal, magic, spells and deceit, loosely interpreted as "Love Bewitched." With this work,"Falla was able to bring Flamenco Into a classic context, establishing a roadmap for orchestral flamenco," Siudy Garrido states.
The Braceo of the performers is so artistically done, and the incredible footwork is lightning-fast and accurate - but there is so much more to the performances than that. It is the emotion, the fervor and the intensity that give this creation its soul. To be a flamenco artist is to possess all of these things during a performance, using the technique of the notes, the movement or the song to enrich the emotions. It is a thrilling scenario to witness.
The part of Candelas' soul was sung beautifully and passionately by Argentina Lopez, the Ghost performed by guest artist George Akram, Siudy Garrido, soloist, Candelas, Manuel Gutierrez, soloist, Carmelo, and featured dancer, Lucia, by Anali Alcantara. The Flamenco ensemble included Jose Luis de la Paz, guitar and Diego Alvarez, percussion. All were an integral part of this enactment - all brought their passion to the work on many levels.
The costuming was effective as they entered, all in black, to mourn the passing of the husband, and, although sometimes hindering views of the footwork, gave a certain aire of foreboding, looming danger to this section. It is an empowering, strong women's section.
The culmination of the story comes when Candela, Siudy Garrido, performs a stunning solo, Ritual Fire Dance, in a flaming red dress. A most compelling show of artistry, sensual yet fierce, in despair, yet reverent. She pulls out all the stops in her interpretation as she lunges, arches, battements, double pirouettes, and works her skirt, her Braceo, Cadenas all exemplary.
Manuel Gutierrez, as Carmelo, is quite the arresting figure on stage. His brilliant solo carries a weightiness with it, something beyond the romantic lover, having religious implications as he dances with the rosary. When he and Candelas pas de deux it is glorious. The Dance of the Game of Love was intense and passionate, and the ending with all the ladies using their peach shawls as capes made for a rousing finish.
The costumes were also Designed by the Artistic Director, Siudy Garrido. The Corps de Ballet included the Company Dancers Anali Alcantara, Claudia Gonzalez, Adriana Olivares and Daniela Rosi; Pre-Company Dancers Annabella Amanau, Valeria Matamoros, and Company B DancersAndrea Gonzalez and Carolina Celeste Torres.
It was certainly a treat to witness this composition on a grand stage, with full orchestral accompaniment, and such vivid and captivating performers.
Photos by Migdalia Salazar