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The Culture Vulture

About cultural things: music, dance, literature and theatre.

In Memoriam: Federico García Lorca, Spain’s greatest poet is “alive and well”
Saturday, November 27, 2021 @ 3:32 AM

Federico García Lorca was a poet, dramatist and musician. He was also a homosexual at a time when it was illegal to be so.

Born in 1898, he was assassinated at the behest of General Franco shortly after the coup d’état which led to the Spanish Civil War. He was just 38 years old.

The Culture Vulture has been a ‘lover’ of Lorca since his university days.

 

Lorca's Andalusian Trilogy

The most significant poet and dramatist of his generation, Lorca is especially famous for his Andalusian Trilogy of plays: Bodas de Sangre, Yerma and La Casa de Bernarda Alba.

I studied Lorca at university in the early 1970s and subsequently taught his plays at GCE A-Level in the late 70s/early 80s.

I’ve been fortunate to have seen all three performed on stage, a couple of them more than once.

Whilst still a student we went off to Liverpool University to watch their Spanish undergraduates perform Bodas de Sangre. We liked it. I also saw it many years later at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. I still liked it.

I saw Yerma in 2018 at the Cervantes Theatre in London with my actor son, Tom, playing the lead male role of Yerma’s husband, Juan.  Of course, I loved it!

I’ve seen my favourite of the three plays, La Casa de Bernarda Alba, three times. The first was an excellent production by the Playmakers of Stockton Heath, Warrington in the early 1980s. My ex-wife, Jeryl, herself now a professional actress, was in the cast. Although an amateur production, it was of a very high standard.

The second time I saw it was at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith in London in 1986, starring Glenda Jackson as Bernarda with Joan Plowright and Patricia Hayes. That was brilliant!

The third time was at the Teatro Espinel in Ronda in 2010. Unfortunately the actress playing Bernarda was noticeably younger than the actresses who played her five daughters! Enough said!

I’ll let you guess which of the three versions I preferred!

 

Lorca events

My love affair with the works of Lorca continues nevertheless. So I was delighted to attend two events in Ronda (Málaga) recently.

 

“Lorca , Poeta Flamenco”

This was a fantastic 90 minutes of flamenco: Miguel Lorca and his students entertained us with dance, while singers Ainhoa Pérez and Ana Cristina Mata sang and dieron palmadas (clapped) vigorously. The whole was held together by a trio of outstanding musicians: Curro Bautista on grand piano, Roberto Spanó on guitar and Jesús Urda on drums.

The theatre was full. I’d never seen it so full even before Covid-19 hit us. And boy, did the fans appreciate it. ‘Olés’ punctuated the quiet moments and the applause was frequent and sustained. Miguel even got a clap for one of his suits!

 

“Femenino Plural”

A brand new musical-theatre production based on female characters from Lorca’s plays, this was the best piece of musical theatre I've seen in ages.

Using the female characters from the plays of Federico García Lorca to put their point across in the week of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), the TED (Teatro Educación Igualdad) theatre group performed an intelligent and thoughtful piece with flamenco music (2 guitars), dance and song.
 
The narrator kept the audience informed as the sole actress/singer switched from character to character.
At only 60 minutes and free entrance this was a real treat.


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