Archive for September 14th, 2018

September 14, 2018

Some news from Spain LXVII

On a sunny bright day in the Morbihan breton, its time for me to bring you up to date on my beloved Spain. Some of the latest and a bit of history I like.  We have 82F and sunny at Madrid right now.

One of my favorite , I read since birth, has a happening, here is the story.

A statue in the district of the Letras(  letters), in the beautiful  Plaza Santa Ana in front of the Teatro Espanol ,(Spanish theater) which in its time was the place that would occupy the old Corral of the prince. In the spring of May 1681, with the definitive absence of the lustrous presence of Pedro Calderón de la Barca, one of the greatest writer/poets of Spain leaves in inheritance a monumental literary work matter of study in thousands of universities all over the globe

He witnessed three reigns, neither one more nor one less (that of Felipe III, that of Felipe IV and that of Carlos II). He suffered from the Europe of the Thirty Years War, the slow decline of a tiring monarchy of resources invested in poor investments, and probably one of the most complicated moments in the history of our country. It synthesizes in short, that contradictory 17C, in which we still remained installed in the belief that we were the masters ,that it was so, but already with gray and with many fronts that we approached to the shipwreck announced of the unforgettable nation. Calderón of the Barca, soldier, priest, poet, playwright, etc. was the critical consciousness of a time that evoked the knell of bells with worn clapper.

Encyclopedic illustrated, he reincarnated several times in his beloved Cervantes. A friend and contemporary of Velázquez clung to the Baroque as a lover or ballast marked by blood and fire for the creed he practiced, a religion closed to new and unventilated that would condition his enormous creativity out of respect for suffocating principles. In this orbit of literary, artistic and scientific creation, he coexisted in space time with the conspicuous Góngora, with the ubiquitous and scathing Quevedo, the enormous philosophers Hobbes, Descartes, Baruch ,Espinoza, Locke and other enlightened ones touched by the genius and a talent beyond doubt.

Calderon born in the labyrinthine city of the cats, Madrid, in a winter apotheosis by the recurrent snows and the heavy cold , dawns one day January 17 of the year 1600. It coexists with the distance of rigor, with Felipe III and its hustler Duke of Lerma. His mother left him in this  strange place in 1610 and a deeply authoritarian father sends him to the Imperial College of the Jesuits, regardless of a direct education and a responsibility that he did not want to assume in the raising of his three children. The universities of Alcalá de Hénares and Salamanca, gave him an order and a sense that protects him in his doubts and reorients him to the first celebrity that sprouts in it in a natural way. The theater lives in it and his rhetorical persuasion is of an undeniable and overwhelming power, innate and unquestionable. Soldier in his youth (he was part of the campaign against the rebellion of Catalonia in 1640), and cleric in old age, in his younger years appears wrapped in several brawls, he was an excellent swordsman, and probably following a challenge to hardly punish an accusation of homicide and the breaking of a convent of nuns, one does not know with which intentions. His enormous fondness for the profane history perhaps the true one, and the canonical one probably that of the half-truths, its rapprochement with the natural and political right were the tools with which he would face his vast literary creation coupled with the fascination generated by the comedy of Lope de Vega, his great artistic reference, which at that time swept the corrals of the capital. Calderon is basically a comedy writer.

For 1623 he already has a good shot at his back and Felipe IV appoints him as the official playwright of the court. But the splendor reaches him when he leaves the militia and becomes part of the group of protected under the patronage of the Duke of Alba. It is the moment where his tremendous creativity with volcanic power emerges to devote himself to literary creation. The top work of his dramaturgy is undoubtedly La vida es sueño ( life is a dream), an incredible clash of trains between the freedom of the individual and the borders of the reason of State. In 1636 it receives the accolade of Felipe IV with the concession of the habit of Knight of the Order of Santiago it is not known whether to placate the ire of the cold winter in Madrid or to protect itself from the thick prevailing theological substance. This rise in internal reformism and the empowerment of Spanish projection with more emphasis on international policy.  It becomes Calderón de la Barca in the decade of 1630-1640 in a classic of his time installed in the international  Top Ten of literature. It is the decade of the great Biblical dramas and of honor with Los cabellos de Absalón, and El médico de su honra, etc. It is, also the time of the debate between the individual and the absolute power of the State and perhaps, in my view, when personal virtue reaches perfection in the  celebrated El alcalde de Zalamea (the mayor of Zalamea). The famous philosophical comedy depicted in the life Is dream  is probably the most universal work of this eclectic man of the world. It has been staged in more than a hundred countries, and in England it is a work of worship. And that, not to mention the historical comedy of the  mayor of Zalamea  that only in Spain between private schools and institutes, theaters of first row and micro theaters, in the year 2016 was interpreted more than a thousand times.

A bit on Calderon de la Barca in English here: Pedro Calderon de la Barca

More in Spanish: Calderon de la Barca literature

The Teatro Real  (Royal Theater) inaugurates its 22nd season in September with Faust, by Charles Gounod, in a new co-production with the National Opera & Ballet in Amsterdam. A new reading of the inexhaustible myth of Faust, original work of the romantic German Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , which began its historical journey with a cold reception of the French public in the Parisian Théâtre Lyrique in 1859 and which has been imposed little by little in the universal operatic repertoire. This new season, marked the bicentennial of the Teatro Real. Already in 1865, in this same theater, Faust (Fausto)  seduced the Madrid public, being one of the most represented operas until its closing in 1925, which would continue until the reopening in February of 2003. Therefore, one of the main subjects outstanding in the celebration of the two hundred years of the institution is to recover the artistic repertoire lost in this long parenthesis during the 20C. Gounod’s Faust moves away from the French Grand Opéra, with the beauty of the melodies, the formidable choral parts or the sarcasm in the dialogues, but with a very German style. It is very clear that the primary source of inspiration is in the original work of Goethe which precisely reached its true popularity in Germany. More info here: Faust at the Royal Theater

El Centro Cultural Conde Duque  ( Conde Duque Cultural Center)  bets on the new course to rediscover its physical space and rescue the memory of Madrid. These are the two lines that define the more than 100 artistic proposals that will take place this Fall in the municipal center, in the middle of this green space, located in the theater of the cultural center, during this week will take place concerts, sessions of Micro Open, Yoga and performance classes, among other activities. Conde Duque presents of all the People in all the World, a sample located in the vaults. The project, which starts this Wednesday and can be visited until September 29th, is an installation that uses grains of rice to present different statistics, many of them in the city of Madrid, in which a grain is equivalent to a person. 17C barracks that today houses the cultural center, is the objective of the La Ronda, a night walk with lanterns in which, together with two security guards, participants will travel the bowels  of the Conde Duque (count duke). Libraries, archives, theaters, offices… will be some of the corners that will be shown in the activity, which will be on Wednesday nights Thursday and Friday, between September 19 and 28. The entrance is 5 euros. More here: Centro Cultural Conde Duque Madrid

Malasaña, where in the years 80’s emerged, of the hand of rock bands, the first generation of what is known as R’n’B underground. The Malasaña sound cycle will rescue some of these formations, as well as emerging artists, which will offer up to ten concerts between September 22 and October 18 for a price of between 8 and 15 euros.   Different venues, see about the district here: Malasana Madrid

Traveling on the Al Andalus train is traveling in the times,  passenger moves instantly to the years of the Belle Époque. Yes, with all the comforts of the 21C. The car suites and saloon cars that today compose this palace on wheels belong to the same series as those that were built in France for the displacements that the members of the British monarchy carried out between Calais and the French Riviera. RENFE’s tourist train has different routes around the Spanish geography. The classic rides seven days in Andalusia discovering all its diversity and essence. Another option is to cover the route between Sevilla and Madrid by Extremadura, following the historical route of La Plata. More info here: RENFE AL Andalus

The culminating moment of that infatuation with it was undoubtedly the transfer in 1990 to Madrid of the Goizeko Kabi that Jesus Santos born in land of Campos, but raised in Bilbao as many other Castilian immigrants of the mid-20C had become the most prestigious restaurant of the capital of Biscay since its opening in 1982. He was the first Michelin-starred chef to move with tools and baggage from the Basque country to Madrid, and the expectation was remarkable. In the district of Tetuán, where it soon opened also another more informal food house, Gaztelupe, before focusing its efforts on the most ambitious Goizeko in the Wellington Hotel in 2000. And in 2012 the rupture was consummated: Luis Martín, chef of Gaztelupe, stayed with this restaurant and Goizeko Kabi, and Santos continued  and continues today, with the recognition of always in the Goizeko Wellington. In the current Goizeko Kabi-local correct, just decoration and rather outdated, with a profusion of electric plugs quite surprising; The tasty baby squid with three onion textures. The Canutillos of Bilbao stuffed with cream and custard return to the tradition and culminate well a meal completed by some interesting wine as the elegant pink blue oranges that Chuchi Soto elaborates in the Sierra de Gredos. Located at Comandante Zorita, 37. More info here: Kabi Goizeko Restaurant Madrid

There you yo for now another edition of your Some News from Spain episode in my blog. Enjoy Spain, everything under the sun!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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