Tribute in Miami to Pedro Calderón de la Barca

From Jul 15th through Aug 30th, 2008.The State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad, Museo Nacional de Teatro, Miami Dade College, City of Miami, Teatro Avante and Centro Cultural Español in Miami, have organized a tribute to Calderón de la Barca which includes an exhibition of theatre costumes and the performance of the Eucharistic play The Divine Philothea.

The exhibition Cien Años Vistiendo a Calderón (A Hundred Years Dressing Calderón) opened on July 15th at the Freedom Tower, located at 600 Biscayne Blvd, Miami and will run through August 30th, 2008. Calderón de la Barca is not only one of the authors that most lends himself to scenic renovation, but also one of the best known and most frequently performed playwrights. For this reason, the presence of this project in Miami represents the continuation of a theatre tradition initiated by the early Spanish companies in the 19th century.

The sample has been curated by Andrés Peláez and includes 40 costumes and 10 plotted costume designs from the Museo Nacional de Teatro, Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico and Cornejo tailoring, which have been used in various performances. By showing theatre attire, the exhibition aims at presenting the evolution in the staging of the works of Calderón de la Barca over the last century, from the first avant-garde movements brought from Central Europe, courtesy of Burman, Cortezo, and Emilio Burgos, to the Baroque ruptures of Nieva and Puigserver, or the most recent proposals by Miguel Narros and Andrea D’Odorico.

According to its curator, the exhibition aims at discovering how, despite its immediacy in the production area, costume represents the scouting party of the artistic avant-garde. There is no longer any doubt that costume, whether for the theatre or not, is an artistic expression on its own right. This is evident when considering the big exhibitions that are organized on the subject of theatre or cinema costumes in major world museums arising great interest.

The Divine Philothea was written by Calderón in 1681 and literally follows the basic characteristics of the Eucharistic play: it provides a balanced combination of doctrinal content and the dramatization of a story. This play deals with a raid on a castle where a lady, wooed by two suitors, is shut away, a plot which is inspired by chivalrous literature.

The events portrayed on stage are naturally an allegory of the theological concepts referred to. In other words, the lady is the soul that is shut away in the body, represented by the castle. To sum up, this is a magnificent Eucharistic play that links action characteristic of a chivalrous comedy to the moral life of man, as representation of a struggle between the enemies of the soul, synthesizing the principal dogmas of the Catholic faith.

The music to this work was composed by José Nebra, and is noted for its cheerfulness vitality, and feeling. His work, apparently merely light and charming, is full of multiple nuances and contrasts that recall the sensitive and sentimental styles of Central Europe, without renouncing the authenticity of the popular genres of the Spanish 18th century.

For more information, please call: 305.448.9677

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