Events

Review: Authentic Flamenco with The Royal Opera of Madrid Comes to Harlem Parish

Review: Authentic Flamenco with The Royal Opera of Madrid Comes to Harlem Parish

Experience and connect to the raw nature of a passionate flamenco performance in Harlem, New York!

Running through a month, The Royal Opera of Madrid and experience discovery platform Fever bring, an invigorating dance show to the U.S., New York, and Washington D.C. With award-winning dancers from Spain to center stage, including Amador Rojas and Yolanda Osuna as dancers, Manu Soto and Bernardo Miranda as singers, José Tomás Jiménez on the guitar, Sergio de Lope on flute and saxophone, and Lolo Plantón on percussion; the performance at the Harlem Parish – an iconic venue that has hosted multi-disciplinary events – takes you on a tour through Spanish customs. The church was transformed into a tablao venue that suddenly felt original to what one can see at the Teatro Real in Madrid.

CEO at Fever explains: “Our company was founded by three Spanish natives, and we are proud to bring our culture, heritage, and our favorite style of dance to New York this fall. We’re thrilled to share our love for flamenco which was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.”

The 65-minute-long performance begins with introductions by singers Manu Soto and Bernardo Miranda, who set the tone as if cradling the audience for what’s to come. Both are experienced, award-winning cantadors who serenaded the audience with a musical number in Spanish. Soto, who has traveled internationally for performances, comes from a family of artists from the world of flamenco, such as José Mercé (uncle and godfather), Manuel Soto “El Sordera de Jerez,” and Vicente Soto. Sang in Spanish throughout; at one point – Soto invited the audience to participate in a call-and-response through a chipper song, shouting, “I like New York, I like Madrid, I like New York,” while we sang harmony to compliment it.

The introduction continues with José Tomás Jiménez on guitar, Sergio de Lope on saxophone and known as “one of the most important young figures in flamenco,” and Lolo Plantón on percussion. The collective ensemble of Spain’s most talented performers brought an energy that hit home for me. It felt as though we were there for them instead of them being here to entertain us. We were part of an authentic gathering or bond developed through sound and rhythm. Whether it was rehearsed or not, it did not seem it. The performance acted like another day for the performers – involved in what they know best – flamenco.

Onwards, dancer Yolanda Osuna takes center stage with electrifying energy that left me at the edge of my seat. Immediately after the dancer took the first steps, the audience clapped and chanted with excitement; eyes glowed as they gleaned over Amador Rojas’ appearance. Both took part in their first act, followed by three more, each being better than the last, ending with a solo presentation.

Brought to you by one of Spain’s most important cultural institutions, The Teatro Real made its first performance in New York in September, with the debut of its orchestra at Carnegie Hall, an event presided over by Queen Sofia of Spain, accompanied by the Mayor of New York and the Mayor of Madrid, as a symbolic sign of the twinning of the two cities. This is the first time the flamenco dance has been brought to the United States, which took over 8 months to put together.

Borja Ezcurra, Deputy General Director, Royal Opera of Madrid, explains “Authentic Flamenco is a traditional Spanish flamenco show with no specific storyline. The audience is immersed in a cultural, passionate performance. Because of the raw nature of this artistic expression, some artists may vary parts of the performance depending on their connection with the audience throughout the evening.”

So you never know what you might catch on an evening of compelling spectacle.

Reporting by Alison Andrea Lopez

Tickets start at $44.90 per person. Fever is offering both general admission tickets as well as VIP tickets which will include a tasting of Spanish products and a meet-and-greet with the artists following the show.

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