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Flamenco Returns!

“Carmen en Flamenco”

Friday, November 17, 8:00PM

It is no wonder people flock to see live Flamenco performances. Men and women of all backgrounds appreciate this unique dance of passion and courtship that expresses emotions from deep sadness to pure joy. Flamenco is a complex, physically demanding artform including castanets and fans, hand-clapping, foot-stamping and extravagant costumes. It is fast and rhythmic, precise yet gentle. Flamenco is sensual.

Flamenco is considered to be so important that it was deemed a UNESCO Item of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010. (https://ich.unesco.org/en/RL/flamenco-00363)

Because Flamenco conveys the full range of feelings and states of mind – grief, joy, tragedy, rejoicing, fear and love – the story of Bizet’s “Carmen” can be told through dance alone by a skilled artist. This is the case with Flamenco dancer, Liliana Ruiz. No soprano. No Tenor. Just one talented Flamenco dancer with the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra on stage at Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center. Their exclusive collaboration is designed to leave audiences not just entertained, but enthralled.

The Dancer
Flamenco sensation, Liliana Ruiz specializes in this Classical Spanish Dance with castanets, brilliant costumes and folklore. She has shared the stage with such celebrities as Julio Iglesias at the Premier Club, Peter Nero and the Philly POP’s at the Kimmel Center and in Carmen with Placido Domingo at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City. Raised in Mexico City, she has been dancing professionally since the age of thirteen, inspired by her family’s deep-rooted passion for the arts.

The Orchestra
Maestro Daniel Spalding and the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra have dazzled audiences from L.A. to New York, Rio de Janeiro to Moscow with unique and powerful performances, re-defining the classical music experience. Their recording of “Carmen” was a Grammy finalist, with drums, marimbas and xylophones, evoking the authentic flavor and syncopated rhythms of the music. Listen to their performance of Rodion Shchedrin’s “Carmen: Scene V. Entrance of Carment and Habanera”, among the most recognizable music in “Carmen” and possibly of all time. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dtejh7eEMkQ)

The Story
Carmen is one of the most complex characters in all opera; is she Evil? A Seductress? Free Spirit? Feminist? Victim? Sensualist? Joker? Tragic heroine? You may see any of the above in Liliana Ruiz’ Flamenco interpretation. The opera was first performed in 1875, in Paris, where depictions of proletarian life, immorality, lawlessness, and (SPOILER ALERT) the tragic death of the main character on stage, broke new ground in French opera and was highly controversial.

The following synopsis may help you make connections as you watch the performance:

(SPOILER ALERT) “The Spanish gypsy Carmen lives only for sensuality and manages to seduce the naïve sergeant Don José with her wiles. His love for Carmen leads him to attack his superior officer, desert his military duties and abandon his childhood sweetheart. He then joins Carmen and her band of smugglers. Unfortunately, Carmen soon grows bored of Don José. When Carmen leaves him for the glamorous toreador Escamillo, Don José kills Carmen in a jealous rage.” (stageagent.com)

We hope to see you in the audience for this special performance of “Carmen en Flamenco”!