Sunday, 30 March 2008

Nacho Duato Dance at the Teatro de la Zarzuela

Go to see the Spanish National Dance Company (Compañía Nacional de Danza) at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. The bill included three works:

  • Hevel (choreography Nacho Duato)
  • Quintet (choreography William Forsythe)
  • White Darkness (choreography Nacho Duato)

The first piece, getting its first performance, was excruciatingly tedious, both choreography, sound, and set design. The William Forsythe piece was much better and the third, which I had seen before in the same venue, I think, was wonderful and saved the evening.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Otto Dix, Portrait of Hugo Erfurth: Techniques and Secrets

Go to Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum to see the mini-exhibition Portrait of Hugo Erfurth: Techniques and Secrets. The occasion was a guided tour for the friends of the museum. The picture is part of the museum's permanent collection. The resoration department have made an in-depth study of it using state-of-the-art imaging and other techniques, and the exhibition brings it back together with the original preparatory drawings and photographs from collections in Germany, and a picture by Dürer similar to ones that might have influenced the artist in the 1920s. The exhibition continues until 18 May 2008.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

King Lear, Rey Lear

Last night went to see the new production of Rey Lear (aka King Lear) at the Centro Dramático Nacional (National Theatre) here in Madrid. Directed by Gerardo Vera. I so much enjoyed his production of Divinas Palabras just two years ago in the same venue and had high expectations of this, but I was disappointed. The whole things seemed flat, the actors often seemed like they were reading from a book, and used microphones so it often wasn't clear who was speaking, especially as the stage was dark all the way through and we only got to see the actors clearly when the lights came on when they took a bow at the end. The rest of the audience seemed very pleased, but I was not.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Honey and Beekeeping Fair in Pastrana

Go to Pastrana, in Guadalajara province to visit the annual honey and bee keeping (apiculture) fair (Feria Apícola) in the small town of Pastrana.

White houses in a narrow street in PastranaPastrana is very ancient town, founded in the 13th century by the military religious order of Order of Calatrava as part of the repopulation effort after the expulsion of the Moors. Buildings of recent centuries are conspicuous by their absence. When the Holy See turned against military religious orders, the King confiscated the monks' property took over the town, giving it to the dukes. The dukes built the imposing fortified-looking palace in overlooks the town square, the Plaza de la Hora.

The Beekeeping Fair takes place in a large marquee installed in the Plaza. There were stalls selling honey and derived products from local producers. These ranged from pure honey and royal jelly, to hand creams, candles, and furniture and shoe polish. There was also mead (called in Spanish “hidromiel”) and from Galicia stronger liquor. there were also stands aimed at the bee-keepers themselves, with equipment and services and the Ministry of Agriculture providing advice.

Shiny metal honey centrifuges on exhibitor's standThe fair is the largest one of sector in Spain. It takes place each year in the second week of March. The fair has a webiste (in Spanish) www.feriaapicola.es.

After lunch we returned to Madrid taking a detour around the by the Embalse de Entrepeñas reservoir which is popular for water sports and has a number of housing developments that I've so often seen from the air and wondered where they are. Then went on to the picturesque town of Trillo, in the steamy shadow of the nuclear power plant.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Concert by Escolanía del Misterio de Elche, in Calpe

Go to the “Merced” parish church in Calpe. The children's choir of the Elche Mystery Play (Escolanía del Misterio de Elche). The mystery play is a tradition dating back to the 15th century and is performed over several days each August, in the city's cathedral. Elche is a town south of Alicante, famous also for its 200,000 palm trees. The choir had brought with them a supply of palm fronds for the church's Palm Sunday celebrations which are not far off now. The parish priest apparently had sung with choir before as he joined the choir in one of the songs from the mystery play. The church, near to the new Mercadona supermarket and the better known camping site of the same name, is quite new (2007) and serves the rapidly growing Playa de Levante and Benissa.

The choir in the church