Cuentos de Espana

18 October, MTG, Napier, HBAF18
By Ian Thomas

The production is simply staged. The set is a grand piano. It starts casually without introduction. Anna Pierard accompanied by pianist Lorelle McNaughton begin with Poems in the form of songs, short pieces penned for soprano and piano by Turina. Emotions in the music stir images of lustful heat and of loving warmth, of plaintive rejection and of passionate yearning. We are transported closer to Spain by two of our own who have strong bonds to the country and its music.

Manuel de Falla’s Seven Love Songs complete the first part of the show. Anna tells us the original hour of music has grown because they wanted to share more of their passion with us. The audience is a willing recipient of the expanded programme of short songs.

Following the interval Jose Aparicio takes Anna’s place at the side of the piano. We are now in Spain! Jose’s gestures, the way he holds himself, in fact all of him, in his velvet coat, paint a picture of you-know-where. He flicks his head and we imagine a matador. “Surely he’s going to stamp his heels soon!?” Like Flamenco, where different emotions are intricately expressed through music and body language, Jose expresses his art and his whakapapa.

The crowd sits, mainly in silence, a little unsure of the appropriate places to express appreciation, engaged and entertained.

Lorelle returns to the piano. Solo. She closes her book of scores and collapses the music rack so that we understand that she will play by heart. We hear the first three of Granados’ Twelve Spanish Dances played beautifully. We can’t see her hands but get an idea of Lorelle’s immersion in this music. (Would someone please invent something so that we can see the ivories as they are caressed and encouraged into song?) The show finishes as it began as Anna and Lorelle perform Obradors’ Classic Spanish Songs.

The large crowd buzzes with delight as it exits, uplifted by the heartfelt passion for Spain that was shared this afternoon. The low-key production has entertained us. We’ve had a good glimpse of world-class talent and we’ve certainly basked in the music of that large country on the Iberian peninsula.

Gracias y adios.

Cuentos de Espana is on again tomorrow (19 October) at the Blyth Performing Arts Centre, Iona College.


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