Compania Antonio Gades, which continues to eternize Flamenco legend Antonio Gades’ works on stage, will perform in Cemal Reşit Rey concert hall on February, 20th. We talked with Eugenia Eiriz, Gades’ wife and director of the company, about Gades’ works, his approach to dance and Carmen before the show, which is watched with great admiration all around the world.
How would you explain Carmen adaptation of Antonio Gades Company for us?
Eugenia Eiriz: The company has been staging Carmen since it is first established and manages to captivate audiences of all ages. Moreover, Carmen is one of the adaptations which help broaden the vision of the world and recognize Flamenco. It attracts a cultivated audience that loves theatre and ballet as well as entertaining them with its choreography, music and costumes offering a visual feast.
You’re staging this show all around the world. How is the reaction of the audience to the show?
Eugenia Eiriz: Everybody knows that Carmen is a strong and passionate woman. In this sense, audience realizes that, as well as Antonio Gades and Carlos Saura did, it really suits to the powerful nature of Flamenco. Except for some happy stories, there is always pain and dram when it comes to love. This universal feelings make people come together. Whether it is Carmen or Blood Wedding, everybody who searches for love or believes in love and suffers from love, find something from oneself.
Gades contributed to dance world with many important shows from Blood Wedding to Suite Flamenca and Carmen, can we define his works as “universal”?
Eugenia Eiriz: Sure. Gades’ works express human and human feelings. They have no secrets, all the messages are clear so they manage to appeal to everybody. Anyone who experiences love for once in his/her life will definitely love Gades’ works.
What is the secret of Gades’ being a legend all around the world?
Eugenia Eiriz: Gades used to know that Flamenco was the authentic reflection of Andalusian people and used to get his inspiration from people. Despite he created a new language on stage he never changed the original spirit of Flamenco, which is undoubtedly not easy.
How does Compania Antonio Gades interpret Carmen?
Eugenia Eiriz: I think that passion feeling evoked by Flamenco, complies with the story and personality of Carmen. The strong expression created by the dancing language of the company strengthens Carmen’s nature as well. Misery and dram which lie down under the roots of Flamenco match up very well with the end of this story. Carmen risk her life for her love and knows no limits. She challenges the life. This situation suits to challenging and rebelling aspects of Flamenco. We must bear in mind that this version of “Carmen” was made in 1983. Antonio Gades and Carlos Saura combined Flamenco music for the first time ever with a ballet performance with opera extracts. Gades used to adore Flamenco as an authentic way of expression and reflection of the Andalusian people. For this reason, he wanted to demonstrate Flamenco in its own tradition. He put a singer and a guitarist in this adaptation cleverly.
What other versions of “Carmen” do you like the most?
Eugenia Eiriz: There are many. French choreographer and dancer Roland Petit’s approach is very powerful but I have to confess that I personally enjoy the Spanish versions much more.