Antonio GADES (1936-2004)
Fuenteovejuna - A Spanish dance spectacular (1994)
Music: Antón García Abril, Antonio Gades, Faustino Nűñez, Juan Antonio Zafra and Modest Mussorgsky (Candron de una exposición)
Choreography: Antonio Gades
Laurencia - Cristina Carnero
Frondoso - Ángel Gil
Comendador - Joaquín Mulero
Mayor - Alberto Ferrero
Flamenco Singers
Guitarists: Antonio Solera; Camerón de Pitita
rec. Teatro Real, Madrid, 20 August 2008
Bonus: documentary: About Fuenteovejuna
LPCM Stereo and dts Digital Surround; 16.9 (wide-screen); NTSC - all regions
Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/IT for documentary only

The Spanish flamenco dancer and choreographer Antonio Gades played a prominent role in popularising his art form throughout the world. His most notable works included dance adaptations of  Prosper Merimée's  Carmen  and  Federico García Lorca's  Blood Wedding  (Bodas de Sangre). There’s also a feature-length adaptation of  Manuel de Falla's 23-minute ballet  El Amor Brujo.
Fuenteovejunais based on the play by the  Spanish  playwright,  Lope de Vega (1562-1635), first published in 1619. This is based upon an historical incident that took place in the village of Fuenteovejuna under the command of the  tyrant Fernán Gómez de Guzmán - “a monster drunk on arrogance and lust”. His violence and abuse, and insistence of his rights of droit de seigneur - the supposed right of a feudal lord to have sexual intercourse with the bride or daughter of an inferior on the night of her wedding - caused the women of the village to instigate a revolt in which Guzmán was killed.
The music is a mix of classical and folk. The former represents Authority in the personages of Guzmán and his men. For the commander’s wardrobe scene the Mussorgsky-Ravel ‘Catacombs’ from Pictures at an Exhibition is used. In places we hear 16th century war trumpet music. Folk music also plays its part in the villagers’ dances: jotas, boleros and flamencos. Of these latter, for the women’s imaginatively choreographed washing-in-the-river scene, a popular Andalusian song is used. Other highlights include the men’s bullfighting game and the women’s wedding dances. This ballet is very much a matter of ensemble dance with just a few solos and pas de deux. Joaquín Mulero makes a formidable and menacing Guzmán, while Cristina Carnero is an appealing feisty Laurencia, lusted after and raped by Guzmán. Ángel Gil is Laurencia’s proud and heroic fiancé.
Sets and props are minimal; atmosphere and dram conveyed by clever lighting. Costume colours are muted browns, grey and pinks. The village women’s dresses are all full length. There is a little dialogue and a few songs. It is a great pity, therefore, that the subtitles were restricted to the excellent documentary ‘About Fuenteovejuna’.
An involving story line with tremendously vigorous dancing.  

Ian Lace
An involving story line with tremendously vigorous dancing.