Archive for April 15th, 2019

April 15, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXVII

In continuing my saga of making known some of the things to do in my beloved Spain here I am again with some of the latest tidbits. My 77th post since Nov 2010! thanks. The weather in my neck of the woods is sunny breezy cool, no rain! and in my lovely Madrid is 17C sunny nice , this is about 63F.

The Fifth edition of the initiative Welcome to Palace! Or Bienvenido a Palacio! Locals and visitors can get to know some of these architectural gems of the region of Madrid, such as the Palace of the Dukes of Santoña, the current headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce, industry and Services of Madrid; The Palacio de Buenavista, headquarters of the Army, and the Palacio del Infante Don Luis de Borbón, in Boadilla del Monte, among others. A program that extends until January 2020 and will allow you to know for free these properties through guided tours, concerts, theater plays, itineraries and conferences.

On this occasion, the recitals will take place in the Palacio de las Marquesas de Fontalba on the 9th and 10th of May at 20h; In the Palacio del Duque de Santoña, June 8th and 9th at 12h; In the Palacio de Buenavista, June 12 at 20h, and in the Palacio del Marques de  Amboage, 17th and 18th July at 20h30. The registration period, both for guided tours and for concerts, is now open at  Bienvenido a Palacio! official site

The dramatized visits, this year will be held again in the Palacio de Fernán Núñez, headquarters of the Spanish Railways Foundation. This activity, already indispensable on Christmas will be held between December 2019 and January 2020 in Madrid. The palaces that can be visited on this occasion are the Buenavista (headquarters of the Army), the Palacio de Don Javier González-Longoria (General Society of Authors and Publishers), the Palace of the Duke of Fernán Núñez, the palace of the Marquis de Amboage ( Residence of the Ambassador of Italy), the Palace of Godoy, (Center of Political and Constitutional Studies), the Palace of the Marquis of Rafal (residence of the Ambassador of Belgium), the palace of the Duchess of Parcent  (Ministry of Justice), the Laredo Palace (Center International Historical Studies Cisneros and Museo Cisneriano), the Palace of Joaquín Sorolla (Museo Sorolla) and the Palace of Infante Don Luis de Borbón, among others.

Marclay in Compositions, one of the most ambitious samples of the artist in Spain in recent years, which can be seen in the MACBA until September 24. In The images you can play the piano, the guitar, shout, sing, whistle, clap, roll on the ground or tap, among the endless attitudes related to sound, but in each of the four screens can be seen a different clip but synchronized  with the rest as if it were a perfect music quartet.

Marclay became world famous when his film The Clock (2010) won the Golden Lion of Venice the following year and became a masterpiece of contemporary art. The 24-hour film made with thousands of fragments (Truncates tiles) of films in which watches or people who watch or wonder the time synchronized with real time, is not in the MACBA for the desire of Marclay. But , you can see Screenplay (2005), another collage with silent movie images. More info here:

The reopening of the Teatro Salon Cervantes in Alcalá de Henares is 30 years old. The building housed a theater since the late 19C, but it was in private hands. After many works and years of inactivity, the City/Town Hall bought the parcel and rehabilitated the theater, which opened its doors again on April 14th, 1989. The belief that Cervantes was born in the garden of the Convent of the Capuchin Fathers was spread like gunpowder by Alcalá in the 19C. After the confiscation of Mendizábal in 1836 the land was acquired by individuals, who built a theater on the plot in 1888 in just 29 days. They placed two commemorative plaques on the façade and got the City Council to give the street the name of the author of El Quijote, a denomination it maintains. Its bad condition forced to reform it in 1925, which provoked an important aesthetic change in the facade and in the lower floor,  the capacity was widened and the wooden boxes of the second floor were replaced by a structure of work, which is still preserved. After the Spanish Civil War,  began to project films, but also served as a ballroom, hence its current name. There was nothing to guarantee that Cervantes was born there but a document was found  in 1943 and showed that he did was born  in the Calle de la Imagen (parallel to the one that bears his name Calle Cervantes). The Birth House of Cervantes opened in 1956. The Local was conditioned in 1979 as a bingo room, but years later they abandoned it. In 1985 the City Council acquired the property. The Teatro Salon Cervantes, currently integrated in the Network of Theaters of the Community of Madrid, has a rectangular layout and its facade tryptic is of modernist style. It has a seating capacity of 458 persons distributed in a rectangular patio, a tiered amphitheater and two boxes on the sides. More info in the network of theaters of Madrid here:

And the Alcalà de Henares Theater Salon Cervantes site here:

One up my alley while living there in Madrid is the Teatro Daoíz y Velarde that finally will see the light next year. After years of struggle and vindication, the neighbors of the Pacifico and Adelfas neighborhoods, in the Retiro District, see the theater promised them, a scenic space  located on one of the nave of the former military barracks Daoíz y Velarde  of Italian style, which will have two rooms and a capacity of more than 400 persons. The Theater will have an independent access to the rest of the cultural center and a central space for different uses and that contains a mural with images on the history of the Retiro District. More info here:

At the Teatro Real (Royal Theater of Madrid). Seven titles of the 12 planned for 2019 and 2020 will be completely new to the spectators. This is The case of Il Pirata, of Bellini, or Iris, of Pietro Mascagni. Titles to which one must add Into The Little Hill (George Benjamin), Three Tales (Steve Reich) and three clear bets highlighted by Matabosch as very risky: The passenger (Mieczyslaw Weinberg), Lear, of Aribert Reimann, and Achille in Sciro, of Coselli.

Throughout the 18C,Ma drid was one of the main centers of the creation of operas. The great casters Farinelli began together with Felipe V a series of productions that continued throughout the century with its successors. And among them is Achille in Sciro. It is a work of Coselli premiered in 1744 in the Coliseo del Buen Retiro (in the park), commissioned by Farinelli himself. But he never staged again. Also noteworthy are the recitals that will be offered by three stars such as Anna Netrebko (on November 1), Joyce DiDonato (May 15) and Philippe Jaroussky (May 25). In the section of ballet are scheduled the performances of the English National Ballet, the National Ballet of Spain and the Nederlands Dans Theatre  (Dutch theater co).More info here:

Go to Toledo is always sublime, many times there and never tired of seeing it. Now lets see it through the eyes of Eugenia de Montijo, (Impératrice of France married Napoléon III).

The conversion of the Palace of Eugenia de Montijo in the only five-star hotel in the Old Town of Toledo serves as a pretext to rediscover the imperial city and fall back in love with it. It is not known exactly when Eugenia Palafox Portocarrero de Guzmán y Kirkpatrick were for the first time in this city so attached to history and literature, but had to be before becoming Empress of France after her marriage to Napoleon III. It Is known that there were many trips between Granada, Madrid and Paris, and Toledo was the perfect place to take a few days off before entering the capital. Also still family castle at Belmonte in Castilla La Mancha as well. See my posts on items mentioned here.

One of the favorite places of Eugenia de Montijo in Toledo was the Palacio de Fuensalida, now the seat of the Presidency of the Board. She was interested in its architecture and, above all, its relationship with the Empress Isabel, wife of Carlos I and mother of Felipe II. In the interior of its Palace, converted into a hotel her spirit and, at the same time, play with themes such as fashion and design that were so important in her life Eugenia de Montijo, Autograph Collection. Her portrait is hang in  the bar-cafeteria located in the lobby.

Eugenia liked to recommend the route that begins with the Puerta de Bisagra (Hinge gate), modified under the reign of Carlos V to make it more ornamental than defensive, to go later to the Plaza de San Vicente before reaching the Cathedral. Next to the Puerta de Bisagra stands the Church Santiago del Arrabal, the largest and most beautiful Mudejar church in Toledo. From here you can go up the Calle Real del Arrabal towards the city center. Before reaching the Cuesta de las Armas (Slope of the arms). It is worth observing the Puerta del Sol, on the right, and the Chapel of San José, a Renaissance work usually closed because it is privately owned that houses inside Greco’s paintings. Not far from the Archiepiscopal Palace stands the Church of San Marcos (St. Mark), the only existing remnant of the convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians back in the 13C. Nowadays it is the exhibition center of the Caja Castilla-La Mancha Foundation. At the end of the  Cuesta de las Armas is the Plaza de Zocodover, the neuralgic center of Toledo, place of appointment and meeting of its neighbors since the Moslem period (the origin of its name, Suk-al-Dawad, the market of the meat animals). Nearby are the Hospital and Museum of Santa Cruz and the Alcázar.Lost in the sunset that is contemplated from the Alcazar, a magical panorama on the Tajo river. Although , I would also propose to look in the morning to the viewpoint of the plaza del Conde from where another extraordinary vision of the river is contemplated with dozens of cicadas sounds as backdrop. As to the hotel itself , here is more info:

Quant visits holes in my beloved Madrid. Enjoy the walks!

Incursion in the Montmartre of Madrid. Every Sunday morning and for three decades, the Plaza Conde de Barajas, located next to the Arco de Cuchilleros, off the Plaza Mayor , and a few steps from the Mercado San Miguel (market), becomes the exhibitor of dozens of artists. The painters who meet here show off their painting works. Watercolors and oils coexist with the drawings, acrylics and sketches that give color a large palette of genres and formats.Nice indeed.

A visit to  the Sistine Chapel of Madrid!. The frescoes that cover all its walls, from the roof to the ground, have earned this nickname to the Church of San Antonio de los Alemanes (Germans), located in Calle Ballesta. Its elliptical layout  is another of its major peculiarities.

Since 1839, the halls of Lhardy have been silent witnesses to the history of the capital. Benito Pérez Galdós mentioned it in his National Episodes. Isabel II visited incognito in some other occasion, and Alfonso XII did the same in his meetings with the Duke of Sesto. Located in the Carrera de San Jerónimo, Lhardy was the first hotel in Madrid to allow the entrance of women alone. Its cocido (stew), as famous as its callos (tripe), includes in its three overturns chickpeas, carrot, potatoes, cabbage, chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage), sausage and stewed meats. More on the institution here: Restaurant Lhardy

The Valencian confectioner Luis Mira began to sell turrones (nougats) in a street post in the Plaza Mayor. Today, the house that bears his surname , stands, a few meters from Lhardy, as a sweet reference. Although their specialty is turrones made from traditional ingredients, their artisan recipes also include cakes, buds, marzipan or polvorones (Spanish shortbread). Casa Mira heirs site here: Casa Mira Madrid

In the Madrid neighborhood of La Guindalera, belonging to the district of Salamanca, still resist some of the curious Villas of modernist airs that brought together the modern Madrid colony, which was said to be the most European enclave of all neighborhoods Madrid  Of the more than 60 homes that were built between 1890 and 1906, only a dozen survive. A very nice walk indeed here.

Popularly known as the Cuesta de los Arrastraculos, an explicit nickname that alludes to the times in which it was a ravine of dirt, the stairway that shorten the biggest slope of Madrid connects the Calle  Segovia and that of the Calle Moreria. The origin of this name is divided between two possible beliefs. On the one hand, the presence in the past of blind neighbors who dwelt in the humble houses that dotted the hillside. On the other, the visit of St. Francis of Assisi, in which, according to tradition, returned the view to two indigents after ungirded eyelids with oil.

And last tip but not least,this hidden mirador (lookout) framed in the area of the Vistillas presents, behind the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, a few sunsets that have nothing to envy to the Temple of Debod. The more than 4,000 square meters of this botanical garden host up to 724 specimens of all kinds of dahlias which reach its greatest splendor in the month of June. Enjoy them all in my lovely dear Madrid!

Vestidos Simultanios or Simultaneous Dresses ,three women, shapes, colors, of 1925, is one of the works that stand out in the exhibition Pioneers: Women Artists of the Russian avant-garde, in room 43 of the National Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza. It is a sample that reveals the importance of these artists, who not only participated in complete equality in this crucial movement of the avant-garde of the early 20C, but in many cases were names that led some of their currents to follow. They are key figures of the essential Russian avant-garde. The exhibition brings together 12 works, selected from the permanent collection of the Thyssen, by the artists Natalia Goncharova, Alexandra Exter, Olga Rózanova, Nadeshda Udaltsova, Liubov Popova, Varvara Stepanova and Sonia Delaunay. These creators did not become a group, but many of them met and influenced each other. Along with their paintings, photographs of the artists are exhibited and a small review of their trajectories. More info here:

And here is a find! Hear all about it in my blog! Two valuable 13C manuscripts by Bernardo de Brihuega, collaborator of King Alfonso X, have been located in the Provincial Historical Archive of Ourense (AHPOU). This is a folio and a loose sheet, in Castilian, of the lives and passions of the Apostles , of the end of the 13C or beginning of the 14C,  and that constitute the oldest preserved testimony of this work, of which until now only some late copies were known. Such as from the second half of the 14C to the beginning of the 16C, in Latin, Castilian and Portuguese. The fragment located in the Historical Archive shows that De Brihuega’s work would have been disseminated and translated into the Western peninsula. The Historical Archive of Ourense is state-owned but is transferred and depends on the Department of Culture. In its five linear km of its deposits it guards 221 funds, of which 153 are of private origin. It is headquartered in the former Episcopal palace.The webpage for the Historical Archive of Ourense is here in Castilian or Galician:

There you ,and now is the best times to visit Spain, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is on and the cofradias prepare for the march on the streets of the great Saints/Virgins of my Spain. Happy Easter, Feliz Pascua, Joyeuses Pâques! 

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



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