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Top Pick: The Spanish have it in their blood

THE ANDALUSIAN gypsy woman Carmen had no problems getting a man. Her beauty, wildness, eroticism and feminine dancing could have melted the coldest of hearts. Bratislava's male population will get a chance next week to fall again under her spell, women to envy her charms.
While the story of Carmen portrays the temperamental Spanish culture, it actually came from the pen of Frenchman Prosper Mérimée. Accompanied by the music of compatriot Georges Bizet, Mérimée's hugely successful opera has swelled theatre repertoires across the world.


SPICY Carmen, flamenco-style.
photo: Courtesy of Pat-ex

THE ANDALUSIAN gypsy woman Carmen had no problems getting a man. Her beauty, wildness, eroticism and feminine dancing could have melted the coldest of hearts. Bratislava's male population will get a chance next week to fall again under her spell, women to envy her charms.

While the story of Carmen portrays the temperamental Spanish culture, it actually came from the pen of Frenchman Prosper Mérimée. Accompanied by the music of compatriot Georges Bizet, Mérimée's hugely successful opera has swelled theatre repertoires across the world.

The French story and music recently served as a base for Spanish choreographer Rafael Aguilar, who arranged Carmen into a vigorous flamenco show for his Ballet Teatro Espaňol. The group is now touring Europe with the performance, and has won strong reviews ahead of its Bratislava showing.

"The show this theatre produces is incredible. I saw it one Saturday morning on video, and for the rest of the day I felt like dancing while cleaning the flat. It's unbelievably catchy," said Veronika Patrovičová from the Pat-ex agency that is bringing the performance to Bratislava.

The theatre will deliver the flamenco version of Carmen on September 14, following the exotic Spanish ballet composition Bolero the day before.

While Carmen's opera performances daze audiences with singing and music, Aguilar's flamenco ballet is a fascinating dance show delivered by over 30 professional Spanish dancers. It melds classical ballet with modern dance and traditional flamenco techniques.

Aguilar created the Bolero ballet for the 50th anniversary of the death of legendary Spanish composer Maurice Ravel. Bolero is a solo dance accompanied by singing and castanets, a variation on the Spanish fandango dance.

While audiences watching the energetic Spanish dancers may find their feet moving in sympathy, poet Federíco Garciá Lorca once said that it is impossible to copy their movements.

"Spanish female dancers, flamenco singers and toreadors never cease to discover. They don't reproduce, they create a unique form of art that is born with them, lives and dies with them, and which nobody can imitate."

Both ballets start at 20:00 (Bolero on Sep 13, Carmen Sep 14) at Pasienky Sport Hall (Športová hala Pasienky) in Bratislava, at the intersection of Bajkalská and Trnavská Streets. Tickets (Sk500) can be purchased in advance at all Satur travel agencies in Slovakia (www.satur.sk), at the Pasienky Sport Hall box office (Tel: 02/4437-1633) or via www.ticketportal.sk

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