May 17, 2024

Flamenco at the theatre

By W2SFadmin

There are many different ways to see flamenco in all sorts of places and on many different scales. This week Where to See Flamenco (W2SF) went to see two performances at the theatre. This was very different to seeing flamenco at an intimate tablao. In tablaos there is typically a platform with limited space for the performers and a closely packed seating area for the audience, generally made up of tourists and flamenco aficionados. This week the wonderful Teatro Cervantes in Malaga was showcasing flamenco. It’s a beautiful building with a stage so much larger than in a small tablao. And with a much bigger audience. An altogether different vibe. People shuffling into the grand venue, taking their seats, looking very elegant in their evening finery. The excitement and anticipation of the top drawer performances that we would experience.

The two performances were in many ways very different, but also had much in common. These were top flamenco artists pushing the boundaries of flamenco on the big stage in dramatic style. Taking the artistic level of this wonderful old art to new levels.


The Teatro Cervantes in Málaga dates to 1869. This beautiful, iconic building has around 1000 seats, with a large stalls section, boxes and a balcony. The atmosphere and history of the building are breathtaking. It is well worth a visit if you are in Málaga. There is a wide and varied programme throughout the year. A very notable feature is a fabulous painting on the ceiling by Bernardo Ferrandiz, which depicts Industry, Commerce and the Port.

Lucía Álvarez “La Piñona”

The first night that W2SF was at the theatre it was to see Lucía Álvarez “La Piñona”. This was a flamenco dance spectacular. And unlike in the tablaos with an often small stage or tabla, La Piñona was able to take full advantage of the much larger theatre-sized stage. This was flamenco dancing with a personal slant. It seemed La Piñona was blending in other dance styles, particularly ballet, as she swirled across the stage, with her own very special interpretations. She was able to take full advantage of the sound and lighting at the theatre, using both the stage and backdrop to spectacular effect.

The show that La Piñona gave us was called Insaciable (Insatiable). Which on her website is described as (our loose translation from Spanish) “An act of emotional, physical and artistic discovery in which Lucía Álvarez ‘La Piñona’ searches within herself, to show her true being, throwing off the burden of the bottomless pit of self doubt.” Flamenco is always about human feelings, the soul, happiness and sadness. This was no exception. With a wonderful interpretation and laying bare of the soul in dance form by La Piñona.

On stage with La Piñona:

Dance: Jonatan Miró

Guitar: Ramón Amador,

Singers: Jesús Corbacho, José “El Pechuguita”, Ezequiel Montoya “Chanito”

Lucía Álvarez “La Piñona: https://luciaalvarezlapinona.com/en/home

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063282094905 https://www.instagram.com/lucia_pinona/?hl=en

https://luciaalvarezlapinona.com/insaciable

Arcángel

On our second visit to Teatro Cervantes W2SF saw Arcángel. Arcángel is a flamenco singer who has won several prestigious awards and has sung in the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Teatro Real opera house in Madrid and venues across Europe. This was going to be a real treat. And from the beginning it was an eye opener. There was a large drum kit on stage that would have not looked out of place at a 1970s progressive rock gig. There were flamenco, electric and acoustic guitars. There was a piano and keyboards. It promised to be a very different form of flamenco to what we had experienced before.

The show was a live performance of Arcángel’s new album Hereje (“Heretic”). This features the songs of Juanes, Andrés Calamaro, Vetusta Morla, Leiva, Vanesa Martín Rozalén among others. Más Málaga writes (our loose translation from Spanish) “this is Arcángel embarking on a fascinating adventure exploring new paths different to those he has journeyed already. The live performance of “Hereje” is the result of a fusion of themes in his new album with some great flamenco songs. This has brought him to be, without a doubt, one of the best singers of his generation.”

This was flamenco at times soft and soulful, blended in with blues, rock, Latin and jazz. Like the night before with la Piñona, Arcángel took full advantage of the big stage and the facilities the theatre offered. The sound was bold, searching, soaring. Like all great stars he gave all his musicians a chance to showcase their talents. And there was even a rock style drum solo on the big kit.

On stage with Arcángel:

piano and keyboards: Alvaro Gandul

flamenco guitar: Benito Bernal

flamenco / electric / acoustic guitar: Francis Gómez

drums and percussion: Lito Martínez batería y percusión

backing singers: Los Melli

Arcángel: https://www.youtube.com/@ArcangelflamencoVEVO

Más Málaga report: Flamenco lo serás tú – Más Málaga (mmalaga.es)

Impressions of the two nights at the theatre

Our biggest takeaway from the two shows was how flamenco can be interpreted on the large stage of a grand theatre, on a different scale from the performances in small tablaos and flamenco clubs. Wonderful shows in front of a full and appreciative house. But still with that emotion and deep searching from inside which sears the soul.

It was also exhilarating watching and listening to top artists taking flamenco in new directions. Pulling in different influences, yet still being unmistakably flamenco. For anyone looking to experience flamenco ‘done large’ why not try a show at a top theatre like the Cervantes in Málaga?

The venue: https://www.teatrocervantes.com/

Address:  C. Ramos Marín, s/n, Distrito Centro, 29012 Málaga