Sunday, October 28, 2007

Horse show in a bull ring

Being in Valencia we happened upon the show, Passionata Andaluza, which features Andalusian riders and horses, as well as flamenco dancers and the popular pianist/composer, Manolo Carrasco. Carrasco is utterly energetic, wild, frenetic - and a big show off. He’s just what the show needs, yet how he copes with the heavy duty playing he does each night is beyond me. As a pianist myself, I know what he’s doing to his hands. Nevertheless, he plays with all the fury required - and occasionally some tenderness. I think he prefers fury to tenderness, but that may just be my opinion.
Apparently he’s composed all the music for this show - some of it well-known Spanish tunes adapted and arranged - and along with a top band, he plays continually throughout. There’s a superb sax player (who doubles on flute at one point), guitarists, a drummer, and three singers, who occasionally do solos in that typical wailing Spanish way.
The horses are wonderful, of course; they trot in time to the music, and do their movements with great serenity. And of course they stand on their hind legs and everyone claps. And one of them manages to lift himself completely off the ground and kick his back legs out. They’re a delight, really.
And then there are the dancers. I can’t find their names listed on the site, but they’re superb too. Five women and a couple of blokes, and their timing and passion is spot on throughout. I enjoyed them more than the horses for the most part.
The show was held in what must be a former bullring, right next to the main railway station in Valencia: the Plaza de Toros is what it’s called. It’s very large, and must hold two or three thousand people at least, though it was only about two thirds full tonight. The seating is concrete, so they provided some padded portable seats at a euro a throw. They were definitely necessary! And of course, being in the open air, people smoked all around - and drank from those Spanish skin bottles in the usual Spanish way: holding it about a foot away and letting it arc into the mouth.
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