“Baño de Luna,” written and directed by Pulitzer-prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz and presented by Arca Images and the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, marks the debut of the Spanish-language version of “Bathing in Moonlight,” the original English production that debuted at the prestigious McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, N.J., in 2016. Performed by a stellar cast in Spanish..
Rafael Nofal’s play “El tiempo de la mandarinas” (“Season for Tangerines”) tackles the very relevant and disturbing theme of human trafficking. Produced by Antiheroes Project, this moving play is in its last week at Artefactus Teatro, a well-purposed black box and gallery space in a smattering of warehouses in Kendall. Nofal’s text removes overt violence and male characters fr..
Joshua Harmon’s savagely funny “Bad Jews” is an emotional cage match set in a pricey Manhattan studio apartment. The combatants are Daphna Feygenbaum (Hannah Benitez), a soon-to-be Vassar grad who plans to move to Israel, marry a man no one in the family has met and become a rabbi, and her cousin Liam Haber (Joseph Paul Pino), a master’s degree candidate and atheist who intends to..
The play begins, as it must, with the velvet voice of Nat King Cole crooning “Mona Lisa.” After all, how many paintings inspire an Oscar-winning song? For that matter, how many masterpieces survive damage, theft and the rapacious covetousness of collectors for more than half a millennium? Leonardo da Vinci’s “La Gioconda,” popularly known as the Mona Lisa, is that inspi..
A casual conversation with a fellow theater artist prompted José Manuel Dominguez, founder and artistic director of Antiheroes Project, to produce the company’s latest piece, “El tiempo de las mandarinas,” (“Season for Tangerines”) by Argentine playwright Rafael Nofal. “I am drawn to themes of memory, dreams, and paradise lost, but for a long time I’ve wanted to do a play based on reality,” sa..
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Nowadays, it’s tough not to feel worried, paranoid or in need of some escapist relief from the steady flow of oh-no-he-didn’t news out of Washington. Miami playwright Theo Reyna feels your pain. His response is “Firemen Are Rarely Necessary,” a jet-black satire now getting its Mad Cat Theatre Company world premiere at Miami Theater Center’s Sand Box. The play takes intricately aim..
Pearl Cleage’s play “Flyin’ West,” an M Ensemble production currently on stage at the beautiful new performing arts center in Liberty City, the Sandrell Rivers Theatre, is set in humble Nicodemus, Kansas, the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the reconstruction period following the Civil War. Set in 1898, the play focuses on the lives of Sophie (Brandiss ..
Esteban, (http://estebanlapelicula.com/en/) the debut of Cuban director Jonal Cosculluela being premiered at The Miami Light Project tells the story of a 9 year old, living in Havana with his mother, who’s raising him as a single parent, and his perseverance following his dream of becoming a musician. The challenges seem overwhelming. Esteban and his mother struggle to make ends meet (htt..
Desperate times call for desperate measures. For some, that might mean taking a second or third job. Or robbing a bank. Or moving in with family. For Casey, a straight lip-syncing Elvis impersonator in a Panama City bar, desperation means forsaking the King’s rhinestone-studded jumpsuit for leg hair-hiding pantyhose, fake boobs and big-hair wigs, the better to sell himself as a fa..
The name Flamenco conjures the machine-gun snap of heels, arms arched overhead, the flick of red fabric and laser-like glares from beneath the starched black brim of a Cordobes hat. At the ed..
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Miami Beach’s old city hall on a Thursday evening in June made a surreal set up for anyone familiar with tango’s broody scene -- a large cozy room full of cheerful, laughing, and smiling..
When Ballet Flamenco La Rosa takes to the stage this weekend, it will present a program based on traditions which were handed down through the ages. A program filled with the mysteries of fl..
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After 17 years as a principal dancer with the esteemed San Francisco Ballet, dancing every major role and style possible, Lorena Feijoo is retiring from that company to embark on a new journe..
You hear the word “flamenco” -- what image comes to mind? A guitar? A dark-haired dancer? The color red, a ruffled dress? Did a piano by any chance enter the picture? Perhaps not.
Pianist Alberto Raya, who brings “Caminos Flamencos” to Miami-Dade County Auditorium this Friday and Saturday, would like to help change that image. He pointed out in a telephone interview in Spanish that the piano’s history in the art form goes back at least to the early 20th century and Federico García Lorca. The most emblematic of flamenco’s poets, Lorca was also an accomplished pianist who collected Andalusian folk songs and recorded them as the accompanist for La Argentinita, a famous female flamenco singer of the day. Over 40 years ago, a cantaor (flamenco singer) as “pure” as Manolo Caracol would sing at the renowned Madrid flamenco tablao Los Canasteros, not with a guitarist, but with a pianist. And today, there are pianists like Chano Domínguez or Dorantes who have made a name for themselves both within the flamenco world and beyond. “It’s becoming a bit more accepted,” said Raya, but conceded that, “it still has a ways to go.”
Like Lorca, Raya is from Granada, one of the cradles of flamenco in Southern Spain. He became enamored of what he calls “the Andalusian cadence” as a boy, listening to his father’s recordings of cantaores Camarón de la Isla, Enrique Morente, the flamenco rock group Triana. The sound, though not always purely traditional, retained an essence unique to southern Spain. “Its music, its melody, its harmony has something that bewitches you,” he explained.
By the time he was 14 Raya became serious about becoming a professional musician. Before the dawn of the Age of Youtube, this meant an intense diet of flamenco recordings: “I began studying like crazy—I listened to a lot of music.” Later on, he sought out accomplished flamenco pianists and composers. “Those people pulled me into the depths of flamenco,” teaching him the rhythms, melodies, and keys that are vital to each palo, or flamenco song style. When he eventually came up for air, Raya said to himself, “Now I know where I am.”
His first gigs were as a band member in groups accompanying flamenco singers. For a 17-year-old self-taught musician, Raya was given extraordinary opportunities. Right out of the gate, he worked with some of the most celebrated young flamenco singers around: the legendary singer Enrique Morente’s daughter Estrella Morente, his son (who carries his father’s name), and Juan Habichuela, the younger generation of a dynasty of flamenco guitarists. Having learned at the feet of masters, when the time came for Raya to form his own band, he knew exactly what he wanted.
Three years ago, Raya began working on the idea for the show “Caminos Flamencos,” which in English translates as “Flamenco Paths.” It is a look back at his own journey through the different styles that he has explored as a musician. “There’s a little of everything. There are palos that I execute as pure, hard flamenco, there are others where I integrate a bit of jazz…I put in what I want. I’m a bit selfish that way. When I sat down to create it, I said, ‘I have to do this to my own taste.’ If I like it, then maybe others will, too. That way, I will feel it when I am performing, and that resonates with people.”
“Caminos Flamencos” comes to Miami as part of the Centro Cultural Español’s annual FlamenGO series, which seeks to showcase the best new talent in Spain and give these young flamenco artists an opportunity to begin making a name for themselves internationally. Raya travels here with an eclectic group: a guitarist who loves flamenco, but also funk; an electric bass player who is enamored of jazz; and a percussionist. “They all have their own personalities…that’s where you find the magic. We could be playing a bulerías, and the guitarist might do a blues solo within it…there are two cultures mixing in that very moment and the two understand one another perfectly.” Irene Rueda y Alba Fajardo, both from Granada, are the bailaoras who will dance in “Caminos Flamencos.”
In addition to these performances, the Centro Cultural Español is currently presenting the exhibition Living in Flamenco by Venezuelan photographer Migdalia Salazar. Salazar, who was herself a flamenco dancer for many years, takes a contemporary approach as she seeks to capture in her photographs the passion of the dance and the transitory nature of “duende,” that divine flame of inspiration that is said to overcome flamenco artists when they are truly in the moment, transported by the music. Venezuelan dancer Siudy Garrido collaborated with Salazar on the project. The exhibit is free to the public and will be up until June 2.
‘Caminos Flamencos’ by Alberto Raya, Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St.; Friday and Saturday, May 19 and 20, 8:00 p.m.; tickets: $25 at www.miamidadeauditorium.org or at the door.
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