El Público


Mauricio Sotelo El Público (The Audience) opera to a libreto by Andrès Albáñez based on a play by Fredrico García Lorca. Directed 2015 by Robert Castro. Stars José Antonio Lópes (Director (Enrique) / Vine Leaves Figure), Thomas Tatzl (First Man (Gonzalo)) / Bells Figure / Red Nude), Arcángel [sic](First Horse), Jesús Méndez (Second Horse), Rubén Olmo (Third Horse), Josep Miquel Ramón (Second Man / First White Horse / Centurion), Antonio Lozano (Third Man / Black Horse / Idiot Shepherd), Gun-Brit Barkmin (Helen / Lady), Erin Caves (Emperor / Magician), Isabella Gaudí (Juliet /Boy), José San Antonio (Manservant / Male Nurse), Harold Torres & Antonio Magno (Two Students), Haizam Fathy (Pierrot Costume and Shadow), Leonardo Tremaschi (Ballerina Costume and Shadow), Carlos Rodas (Pajamas Costume and Shadow), and Daniel Kone & Samuel Echardour (Two Elves). Pablo Heras-Canado conducts the Klangforum Wien and the Coro Titular of the Teatro Real (Andrés Máspero Chorus Master). Special instrumental guests are guitar soloist Cañizares and percussionist Agustín Daissera. Sets by Alexander Polzin; costumes by Wojciech Dziedzic; lighting by Urs Schönebaum; choreography by Darrol Grand Moustrie. Directed for TV by Jérémie Cuvillier; produced by François Duplat and Xavier Dubois. Released 2016, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

Lorca, perhaps Spain's most celebrated 20th century poet and dramatist, was from wealthy, conservative roots, but he was also gay. So he fell in the Spanish avant-garde and surrealists who gave him a platform to criticise bourgeois conventions. In 1936 he was murdered, it seems, by a Falangist death squad. Although folks are still looking, his remains have not been found. He wrote in 1930 a stage play called El Público. When Lorca died, there were two unpublished manuscripts of El Público known to exist. They went missing during the Spanish Civil War; although folks are still looking, they have not been found. But an earlier draft of most of the play did turn up.

Wildly symbolic and surreal, the play has seldom been produced. Doing El Público remains, I surmise, the ultimate unattainable dream for Spanish stage directors. So it was probably not a surprise when Gerard Mortier scheduled El Público in opera form, which turned out to be his last major decision as artistic director in Madrid.   Mortier was, of course, the "visionary opera company leader whose bold theatricality and updating of the canon helped define the art form’s modern history" (Zachary Woolfe in the New York Times after Mortier's death). Although Mortier wasn't at Madrid very long, he kissed the sleeping beauty and gave us the amazing C(H)ŒURS show as well as The Perfect American, Brokeback Mountain, and the spooky Les Contes D'Hoffmann. Even though his short tour at Madrid was full of controversy, it seems that everyone started missing him as soon as he was dead. So I expect everyone went all out in the effort to make this El Público as impressive as possible.

This show will be eclectic: for example, the first 6 stage credits on the keepcase include 3 opera baritones, a popular reggaeton star, and a flamingo singer. But it will also be high-end. Andrès Albáñez is a serious author with many publications. He states that his task was to organize the text, but the words are those of Lorca. Mauricio Sotelo has recordings on YouTube of such things a a sonata written for Alfed Brendel and the most amazing, long, and elevated concerto you could image for violin, flamenco dancer, and percussionist. The Klargforum Wien (Vienna Sound Forum) is a dead-serious modern-music chamber orchestra.

This is one our buy list, but until we can get our hands an it, the trailer will be the best we can do: