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Festival Journal

Monday, 11 November 2013 , ora 14.37
Thursday, November 7th 2013

19:00 – Buika (Spain)/ flamenco concert / Bucharest National Opera House

The International Performing Arts Festival has reached its sixth edition. Sponsored by the National Operetta Theatre "Ion Dacian", the 2013 edition covered ten days (7th – 17th November), consistent and diverse programmes, concerts, classical and contemporary dance performances, workshops and affiliated events (exhibitins, book releases, film projections and radio broadcasts). The public was invited to attend the shows at The Bucharest National Opera House, Grand Cinema Digiplex in Baneasa Shopping Center, the “Ion Manu” Cultural Centre (Otopeni), Godat Cafe-Theatre, the Metroplis Theatre, the Nottara Theatre, the Odeon Theatre (The Studio Hall), “The Bridge” Students’ Theatre, Caru’ cu bere and the Bucharest “I. L. Caragiale” National University of Theatre and Cinema Arts.

Thursday, on November 7th, at The Bucharest National Opera House, Concha Buika, the famous flamenco performer took the start of the festival by storm with a passionate and impetuous plea for the idea that life is beautiful with all its ups and downs. When you are happy you should sing. When you are miserable you should also sing. By combining original elements of flamenco, tribal music, blues, jazz and any other musical variety necessary for her to communicate her feelings and accompanied by a voice that is searching for anything else but the perfection of vain beauty (for a moment I thought it resembled the voice of Louis Armstrong), barefoot like Cesaria Evora, bursting with talent beyond her limits, Buika expressed herself for over an hour in a foreign language, but which we all understood. The singer born on Spanish land has never forgotten about her African roots. When you talk about Buika you think about strength, emotion, sensuality and passionate music that is equally fuelled by primitivism, as it is by the classic. Under the disguise of an ongoing improvisation there was a thoroughly thought and executed structure, that allowed her voice to blend, in a spectacularly artistic result, together with a well “educated” piano sound and with a percussion filled by ancestral rhythms and sonority. Now, after listening to her performance I can easily accept the success of the five albums that gained incredible popularity, confirmed not only by the sales rate, but also by the two Latin Grammy’s (El Ultimo Trago, 2009 and La Noche Más Larga, 2013), as well as by the fact that the famous Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar chose two of Buika’s songs in 2011 for the soundtrack of the movie “El Piel que Habito”.

Friday, November 8
th, 2013

19:00 – “Carmen”, director: Konstantin Purtseladze, The Musical and Dramatic State Theatre, Tbilisi (Georgia) / moving theatre performance / The Bucharest National Opera House

It was called chorographical dramaturgy. It lasted 44 minutes, the exact the length of the “Carmen” suite that Rodion Scendrin composed in 1967 based on the main themes of the lyric drama with the same name written by the French artist George Bizet (1875). In a succession of thirteen parts, Scendrin’s score was arranged to be performed by string and percussion instruments, in a personal dramaturgical view, that preserves the story but gives the music absolutely new significance, brilliance, intimacy and explosive force. The members of the Musical and Dramatic State Theatre from Tsibili, Georgia performed on the stage of the Bucharest National Opera House. The director and choreographer Konstantin Purtseladze is at his second show of the moving theatre genre with the chorographical dramaturgy particularity, after “Salomé”, inspired by Oscar Wilde’s text. At the foundation of the “Carmen” performance, the artist sets as a starting point the idea of freedom, embodied by the writer, French as well, Prosper Merimée (1854), into the wild gipsy with her hotheadedness, feelings and boisterous adventures. Carmen has become the icon of freedom that goes beyond today’s’ race, class, language and sex barriers. Her story, as developed by the Georgian artist, is about inner freedom, and also about the freedom of imagination in which the lines between reality and fantasy, truth and lies are practically impossible to define. It is about the boundless freedom for which you could die. On stage there are dancing actors, gymnast actors, actor acrobats, and they perform way off the line of classical ballet. Once again, I mention the fact that we are talking about theatre actors, which makes their performance even more remarkable and spectacular! All of the actors are young with exceptional physical (flexibility) and acting skills.

“We’ve picked actors from different theatres. They have all been my students and I have known them for many years. For example, Bacho Chachibaia, the actor playing Don José, is from Rustaveli theatre. They are all wonderful!” stated the choreographer in an interview for a Georgian review.

The novelty and beauty of this moving theatre performance resides in the smoothness and the expressiveness of the gestures – Habanera, when Carmen, using her wild grace, envelopes the men’s bodies around her with an overwhelming sensuality, or the love duet between Carmen and Don José, drafted as a child’s play, full of innocence and sincerity, dominated by a shy and clumsy gesture, which in the end will cost the heroine’s life. As a surprising staging idea, the bullfighter appears on stage in a wheelchair, devoid of movement, until Carmen gives him back his strength as if by magic. Because of the forcefulness of some scenes, in which the music and gestures prove to be unsatisfactory, the performers also had to shout wildly. The originality of the performance is also reflected through the “grin and bear it” and “I do as I please” type of humour that pleasantly surprises and revives the atmosphere when you least expect it, and of course, through the skilfulness, commitment and conviction with which the performers interpreted and brought the characters to life. The costumes (Ana Mosidze) are simple but effective. Black and red are combined starting from the soles of the dancing shoes and to the curly, exuberant and tangled wig that Carmen wears as a distinguishing accessory that defines her and gives her a unique status. The scene painting is simple but not unnoticeable – large lamps with white and red lights that float in the air, the heavy metal chairs that chain you to the ground. This “Carmen”, signed by the Georgian artists has become a particularly interesting performance which I applauded gladly and I confess that I would like to see it again.

Cristina Sârbu
Translated by Roxana Țicămucă and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, the University of Bucharest