ESPANIA! agenda with Spanish music and films in the Netherlands

At the end of January and the beginning of February 2023, Spanish culture will be celebrated throughout the Netherlands. There are concerts, performances and films everywhere. The glossy Spain magazine ESPANJE! gives as tips the wonderful documentary ‘A way to B’, about dancers with a disability in Barcelona. Furthermore, Spanish pop music is central to Noorderslag. And then from the weekend of 21/22 January you can also see a brand new opera about Don Quixote, Carmen can be seen in a new ballet version and the Flamenco Biennale Netherlands brings another series of surprising performances on stages throughout the country. The editors of ESPANIA! has listed everything, with explanations and links.

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Tradition & innovation at Flamenco Biennale Netherlands

Flamenco with a swinging jazzy sound, flamenco with metal percussion of heavy chains, flamenco in a latex pantsuit, flamenco with boxing gloves and bondage, flamenco in a cubist decor or a supersonic sound environment of 4D surround… Those who follow the programming of the Flamenco Biennale in the Netherlands know that the biennial festival is not afraid of adventure and has a nose for avant-garde. Also during the ninth edition – of January 20 through February 9, 2023 in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Arnhem, Rotterdam, Tilburg and Brussels – the Flamenco Biennale once again presents exciting crossovers. This time, however, there is also a striking amount of space for the flamenco tradition. So comes Maria Moreno on January 22 to Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ with a performance in which the 36-year-old flamenco dancer and four musicians combine all the ingredients of the famous Spanish soleá turns inside out. on February 5 Farruquito will perform in Utrecht. This successful descendant of a famous gitanofamily debuted on Broadway at the age of five and was introduced to flamenco every day. Without frills, Farruquito sets a stage high with an array of deceptively simple-looking moves. Also presents the Flamenco Biennale January 21 the world premiere of La Reina del Metal (The Queen of Metal) by the Spanish flamenco dancer Vanesa Aibar (1983) and the Spanish multipercussionist Enric Monfort (1977), who lives in the Netherlands. Aibar dances just as easily in a Spanish dress of metal links as in a latex pantsuit. Monfort feels at home in the most diverse music scenes and percussion traditions. From Africa to Korea, from Spain to India. In Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ they dive together into the rhythmic adventure of metal percussion, electronics and flamenco in a 4D surround sound. Annette Embrechts wrote for ESPANJE! an article about the developments in flamenco and about the highlights during the Flamenco Biennale. You can order the magazine containing this article here.

Exciting opera adaptation of Don Quixote by OPERA2DAY

On January 22, a completely new opera about Don Quixote will premiere. OPERA2DAY hired the Italian director and librettist Stefano Simone Pintor for this. Pintor saw that the existing operas about Don Quixote told too limited a story. “After I read the book, I thought: this is so topical, this story deserves a much wider audience,” he says in an interview in the 1 2023 edition of ESPANJE. Pintor: ‘I didn’t want to reduce this huge story to a love story about the Wedding of Camacho, or to the story about a man who thinks he’s a knight. Because that’s only part of the story. It is also about Cervantes himself, about his culture, about his time. Cervantes used the book to mock the nobility of the time. It was a time of great changes. Between the publication of the first and second part, the Muslims had been expelled from Spain. I think we are now in comparable turbulent times with war, economic crises, migration crises, the clash between different cultures, the Muslim world and the Western world. Where have we ended up now? The Don Quixote is in my eyes the story of humanity. It says we must dream to dream. And, more importantly, that our dreams should not come true. Because when you achieve your dream, you lose your drive. That’s why we brought Mr. Freestone into the story, a kind of Elon Musk who confuses success with dreams. You could say that Elon Musk is a big dreamer. He wants to unlock the universe. But pay attention to the language he uses, because words matter. Language defines us. He is talking about occupy Mars, he even made a famous logo and T-shirt out of it. This shows that he wants to limit the freedom of other people, as happened in the time of Don Quixote. The Don Quixote still contains a very topical message. Essentially nothing has changed.’

Don Quixote is a co-production of OPERA2DAY and New European Ensemble. The opera will premiere on January 22 at the Koninklijke Schouwburg in The Hague and will then go on tour until the end of March. Music Vanni Moretto – Libretto and direction Stefano Simone Pintor – Musical direction Hernan Schvartzman – Casting Mr Benengeli / Don Quixote Victor Torres Miguel / Sancho Panza Manuel Nunez-Camelino Mr Freestone / Friston the wizard Jeremy Fleming Dalisay / Dulcinea & others Alena Dantcheva. You can order your tickets for Don Quixote here.

17 Spanish bands at EUROSONIC NOORDERSLAG 2023

The Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) festival will be held from Wednesday 18 to Saturday 21 January at various locations in Groningen, where Spanish bands will play the leading role this year. A total of 17 Spanish bands are programmed, which show how colorful and progressive Spanish pop music is. All Spanish regions have their own sound, which makes for a particularly rich pop culture. From the Catalan mestizo music, a mix of rumba, flamenco and ska, to the often very political Basque punk rock. The Spanish pop infrastructure, which is very different from that of, for example, the Netherlands, helped many alternative bands in the saddle. Spain celebrates countless fiestas, which provide a fantastic springboard for local talent. It’s great that seventeen Spanish bands that are relatively unknown to us can now be seen in Groningen. Here you can see the whole list including videos and background information.

An interesting example is the Galician female band Tanxugueiras. In 2018 they launched their debut album with a repertoire that showed the essence of the Galician tradition. They won several prizes and played on more than 100 stages within and outside their borders. Their second album Contrapunto is also full of tradition with a leading role for traditional instruments such as the pandereiteiras.

MOVIE TIP: Cows and crosses

When Abel’s cousin Jesús López dies in a motorcycle accident, the entire village community is in mourning. Jesús’ father and mother both process their grief in their own way and need Abel to experience meaning in life again. They take him in and pamper him as if he were their son. Abel abandons his own farming family. Cows are, but cows and the rough world of motorcycles, mopeds and cars and the beautiful girlfriend of Jesús beckon. But Abel is very different from the tough autocrosser Jesús. He is scarred by an accident in his own life. Can he live up to their expectations? With this film, director Maximiliano Schonfeld shows the life of young people in rural Argentina. For some, this will look suspiciously like farm life in the Netherlands. The day consists of collecting eggs, driving the tractor, taking cows to the stable and then drinking and cross country on the weekend. It makes for a fascinating film. Jesus Lopez will be in cinemas from January 12

Graceful Carmen by Introdans

The Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramírez Sansano brings with carmen.maquia an artistic salute to his Spanish cultural heritage. He bases his ballet on Bizet’s famous opera, but wanted one Carmen without the clichés, such as the red color, flamenco dresses and castanets. That is why he chose black and white decor and costumes, but inspired by the work of Pablo Picasso. But how do you make a family performance about a woman who is eventually murdered? Ramírez Sansano manages to get around this whole issue by adjusting the ending. This new version of Carmen is elegant and cheerful despite the moody decor and the rather sad story. The highlight is the scene in which all dancers are transformed into the tough Escamillo with his bare chest in his silver-colored toreador jacket. First turn on the music nice and loud at home and then go to the theater with your children. They will no doubt be enchanted by Carmen and the two men who try to win her heart, her guard don José and the bullfighter Escamillo. Introdans is touring until 17 February with Carmen through the Netherlands. You can order your tickets here

Impressive documentary about dancers with disabilities

The special dance collective Liant La Troca works in Barcelona. Special because many members have a serious disability. For example, one of the dancers, Jaume Girbau, was born without a lower body. But they don’t let that stop them. The Dutch filmmaker couple Jos de Putter and Clara van Gool made a heartwarming documentary about this collective led by dancer and choreographer Jordi Cortès Molina. The dancers not only show their strength, but also show their vulnerability. In A WAY TO B dance and other scenes continuously flow into each other. The film follows some of the group’s dancers who shape stories about their own lives in performances. We see sensual, exuberant and provocative choreographies in different places in Barcelona: a theater, a square, a forest, a living room. A WAY TO B is about ordinary people who make art despite or precisely because of their imperfect body. The film shows human resilience and is a warm plea for inclusivity, without that message being over the top.

Balenciaga’s black magic

The Basque couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga was adored by other fashion designers, partly because he mastered the profession like no other. “If haute couture is an orchestra, then Balenciaga is the conductor and the rest of us are just musicians following the directions of the master,” Christian Dior once said. Balenciaga’s sculptural shapes came out best in one of his favorite colours: black. Kunstmuseum Den Haag brings with Masterful Black – from the oeuvre of a couturier Cristobal Balenciaga a tribute to his oeuvre in this color. More than a hundred masterpieces from the collections of Palais Galliera and Maison Balenciaga are on display. The love of black reflects his Spanish roots: Catholic piety and traditional Spanish clothing styles, such as mantillas, lace and the sober black of the Spanish Habsburgs and their court. It is therefore no coincidence that the dark works of Goya and Velázquez are a great inspiration for Balenciaga. The international maestro remained true to his past in his creations. Masterful Black can be seen in Kunstmuseum Den Haag until 5 March .

ESPANIA! Travel and culture magazine is the Dutch-language glossy about Spain and the Spanish-speaking world that appears four times a year in the Netherlands and Belgium. ESPANIA! is a high-quality journalism magazine with inspiring travel reports, beautiful interviews, fascinating columns, delicious recipes and hundreds of tips for lovers of Spain. You can read more information on the website

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