Just as the snow starts to melt in Budapest, and the days get longer, music fans will be flocking to the city´s Spring Festival (29th, 30th, 31st March), which will this year be paying tribute to musician Franz Liszt, as well as bringing together a mix of classical guitar music, Spanish flamenco and the contemporary sounds of Estonia, Germany, Hungary and Austria. And one unmissable item on the bill will be a performance of opera “Carmen” from flamenco dance company Antonio Gades, at the Thalia Theatre.
Antonio Esteve Rodena, better known as Antonio Gades, was born into a modest Catalan family from Elda, Spain, on the 14th November, 1936. He experienced the war as a small child, with his father going to the front with the Republican army. The poverty of the Franco years meant that Gades went to work at the age of 11. But dance, and flamenco were his passion – so much so that at 13 he enrolled at a dance academy, where he happened to meet Pilar LĂłpez JĂşlvez, who discovered his raw talent for dance, and the remarkable purity of his movement, and suggested that he change his name to Antonio Gades, in memory of the gaditana dancers.
Gades´ entrance into the world of dance soon saw him with international acclaim, regarded the amongst the very best of Spanish dance. In 1962, the Scala Theatre in Milan welcomed him with open arms as dancer and choreographer in Georges Bizet´s Carmen.
The representation of the rebellious passion which embodies the love between Carmen, the marginalised gypsy and Don JosĂŠ, the police officer is what drew Gades to the opera. His interpretation of the dramatic power of the meeting of two opposing worlds, and the sensuality of a fatal love – an aesthetic similar to the narrative of Federico GarcĂa Lorca´s Blood Wedding – has become one of his most interesting choreographies to date, and was even adapted for the screen by Carlos Saura in 1983, who gave the story a modern setting.
In 1974, Gades retired from the stage in order to work in film, collaborating with Carlos Saura in films such as El amor Brujo, Carmen and Flamenco. Flamenco was always a passion for Gades; a dance which expressed the village mentality, and which enabled him to mix dance with politics in his choreographies. A Marxist as an adolescent, and later a communist, he defended the Cuban Revolution up to his death 2004. His ashes are in the HĂŠroes de la RevoluciĂłn Cubana Museum in Havana.
More information: http://www.festivalcity.hu/btf2011/index.php?l=en
Antonio Gades says: “You don´t live for dance; life makes you dance.” Get into the spirit and go along to “Carmen” at the Budapest Spring Festival – and whilst you´re there, take in the art of the traditional market in the VĂśrĂśsmarty square and sample some of the great gastronomy on offer. To make it the perfect spring break, rent apartments in Budapest
Translated by: Poppy