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jess43 Aug 4th, 2009 08:37 AM

Calling all flamenco experts - Madrid newbie needs help
Hi! This is my first time on this site, but have heard some great things about the helpful fodorites on this forum so I hope you all can help me out.

I'll be going to Madrid for the first time at the end of August (18-23), and definitely want to see some flamenco while I'm there.

Right now I'm playing with the options of watching a show at Casa Patas or Corral de la Moreria. I've read the other threads on the question of which is better, and have concluded that it probably comes down to the performers.
At Casa Patas: Sonia Fernandez & David Paniagua.
At Corral: Loli Sabriego and Adrian Galia (18 – 21) and Blanca del Rey on Sat. the 22.

I have also heard about the Sara Baras show "Juana la loca" at the Jardines de Sabatini on the 17 – 19 as part of the Veranos de la Villa festival. Quick research tells me that Sara Baras = amazing, so I imagine this would be a good show.

Last option is Carlos Saura's "Flamenco Hoy" which also appears to be rather promising.

Unfortunately, I can't do it all, so I need to narrow it down to only 1 (or, maybe 2) flamenco experience. I don't know anything about flamenco at all sooo this could be a factor in determining how much I would take away from any of the above options.

On the one hand, I imagine that big outdoor productions like Sara Baras' or "Flamenco Hoy" would certainly be entertaining. On the other hand, I am drawn to the more intimate nature of Casa Patas/Corral de la Moreria. I realize that such a comparison is maybe like comparing apples and oranges…
the ultimate question: If you could choose only one, what is the best option for a complete newbie tourist to experience her first (and possibly only) flamenco show?

- If going with Flamenco Hoy or Sara Baras, I checked the tickets and not surprisingly, the best seats are already taken… the only options seem to be the very furthest seats. Can't really tell from the floorplan how good/bad a view you can get, but wouldn't want to spend 40 Euros if you can't see anything anyways.

- if going the Casa Patas/Corral de la Moreria route, which would you recommend, given the performers listed for each? (Again, have no idea about flamenco so no idea about performers either)

Any suggestions from those are a little more well-versed in flamenco are really appreciated!

kimhe Aug 4th, 2009 10:28 AM

Flamenco Hoy will most likely be a spectacular event that you wouldn't miss out on; The major Spanish daily El País just had a long article about the reherseals the other day, and it's quite uncommon with this kind of interest in the preparations for a show. But Carlos Saura holds a very special position as a mediator of Spanish culture in general and flamenco in particular. And, most importantly, you would probably never again have the chance to see such a display of flamenco talent anywhere. I have seen many of the artists live before (Rocío Molina, La Tremendita, Jesús Méndez and David Palomar) and can't wait to see Pastora Galván and Rafael Estévez and listen to Alba Carmona for the first time.

The bailaora Rocío Molina is out of this world, and just seeing her might instantly turn you into a true aficionado. One of Spain's most respected flamenco critics about her latest production: She "drove the crowd mad with that dance of hers bordering on recklessness. I couldn’t explain why it gives that sort of fear-amazement-dizziness-fascination-enjoyment. But what is absolutely certain is that we’re witnessing something big, really big. And it makes you feel like doing something so the whole world knows about it... her way of dancing has references - on the other side of the galaxy. Dancing like this has never been seen before."

Sara Baras is also brilliant and by far the most famous bailaora today both nationally and internationally, but I think I would recommend Flamenco Hoy if you must make a choice.

The performances at Casa Patas and the other tablaos are often good and many great artist have performed there, but I wouldn't even consider changing it for the great things going on in the Veranos de la Villa festival this week. If you want to go to a tablao, I also recommend that you to to the less touristy and not that expensive Cardamommo in Calle Echegaray just off Plaza Santa Ana.

Photo gallery from the reherseals for Flamenco Hoy:

Maribel Aug 4th, 2009 10:49 AM

A huge ditto to what kimhe has told you! Oh to be in Madrid this week to see Flamenco Hoy! I read the El País article with great regret that I would have to miss this very special treat.

amsdon Aug 4th, 2009 12:58 PM

Wow I just got home & see my favorite subject.

Jess I am I complete agreement with Kimhe & Maribel. This caliber of show (Flamenco Hoy) does not come along that often.
Because of Kimhe I have become a complete lunatic over Rocio Molina. I am still witing for her to confirm me on facebook but I got Rosario La Tremendita to add me as a friend (wow!)

And Cardamomo, have not even been there yet but it would be my choice as an intimate ,less expensive but original place for flamenco. I am going to try to get to as many as possible in Oct, if I can keep up with the late hours.

As a newbie I always sugest you familiarize yourself a little bit with the sounds of the cante (song) check out you tube once in a while, get a book from the library, or rent a flamenco video. It will enhance your experience.

kimhe Aug 4th, 2009 02:43 PM

Here are some youtube clips with some of the artists that will perform in "Flamenco Hoy", but remember that seeing flamenco live is quite another experience.


Rocío Molina:

Pastora Galván (she also dances very traditional, but I like this clip from her performance "La Francesa"):

Rafael Estévez and Nani Paños:

Cante (song):
La Tremendita:

Jesús Méndez:

David Palomar:

Alba Carmona (she starts singing after some 3 mins):

amsdon Aug 4th, 2009 04:11 PM

Kim your clips always provide me with tremendous pleasure.

jayelle Aug 4th, 2009 06:35 PM

Wow, so great to have such a firm consensus! So you have all convinced me -- Flamenco Hoy it is.
Now, the issue of buying tickets... am trying to navigate the site, and given my non-existent Spanish, this is slightly challenging.

#1: Need to decide what night to buy tickets -- Wed. 19, Thurs. 20, Fri. 21, or Sat. 22. Anyone have any suggestions on which night would be best, or perhaps it doesn't make a difference at all? My only inclination right now is maybe later in the week, as we get in on Tuesday (from Canada) and might still be a bit tired from the travel.

#2: Seat selection. Given the higher price, I'm going to assume that "Platea" (Orchestra?) seats are better than "Grada Zona A" and "Grada Zona B". So when I click on the Comprar button next to Platea, it brings up a floor plan where I assume you click on the seats you want (the empty ones as opposed to the ones with the little man sitting in it)

What puzzles me is the pattern I'm noticing of the occupied seats. The first few centre seats in rows 1-7 appear to be occupied, then the entire row 8 is occupied, and also these kind of random looking seats in (what appears to be an incomplete) row 13. This is the pattern for all four days of the performance.

Something special about row #8 that I'm missing here? Why would anyone choose to sit at the very far right/left of row #8 as opposed to the fourth of fifth seat from the centre aisle in row #1?

Maybe I'm completely off about how the whole seating plan/ticket reservation process goes... can anyone help me with this? All I want to know is which of the available seats I should buy for the best view.

Link for the tickets:

Oh yes, and what does this mean:
"Recuerde que debe acceder al recinto con antelación ya que esta entrada esta sujeta a un control de acceso digital previo a la entrada al recinto." ?

Thanks a million!

kimhe Aug 5th, 2009 12:12 AM

I don't think it make much difference which day you choose. The curious patterns must be a result of presold tickets to sponsors, companies, groups etc. I think it might be an idea to buy tickets on Grada Zona A; then you might get a better overview/impression of the special Carlos Saura staging/effects, he usually have some tricks up his sleeves...

"Recuerde que debe acceder al recinto con antelación ya que esta entrada esta sujeta a un control de acceso digital previo a la entrada al recinto.": You should come to the venue in due time before the show starts, because all tickets will be digitally controlled.

You can print your tickets from the site as soon as you have ordered them, or you can collect them at any of the hundreds of Caja Madrid offices in the city by just bringing the credit card you used for the purchase.

amsdon Aug 5th, 2009 06:15 AM

Again I would heed Kimhe's advice. My opninion try to get center seats of course but not too close or you do lose some of the perspecive.

Take small binoculars/opera glasses.

Maribel Aug 5th, 2009 10:06 AM

You actually don't want to be too close to the stage, as kimhe and amsdon note. When we saw the Sara Baras production we chose row 3 of platea (orchestra) which was actually a couple of rows too close for a complete perspective in that theater. I haven't been to the Puerta del Angel venue so can't comment on what would be the best row there.

Since you're coming from Canada, (we fly from Seattle), I would wait to get over your travel fatigue and go on the weekend, ideally on Fri.

How I envy your getting to see this show! Sigh!

amsdon Aug 5th, 2009 11:47 AM

Me too......Can you please report back?
I would also especially love to see Laura Rozalen who is my hero.

Also Kim are you going?

jayelle Aug 5th, 2009 11:47 AM

Thanks for all the advice! You have all been such a great help. Will try tonight to get those tickets (three cheers for Google translate!). Am thinking will probably go for Thursday night, as we get in Tuesday and then have Wed, Thurs, Fri, and Sat, for sight-seeing, two of which will be reserved for trips to Toledo and Segovia. Want to alternate day trips with Madrid days so we don't have to wake up crazy early two days in a row :) Wednesday & Friday = day trips, Thursday and Saturday = Madrid. By Thursday we should be sufficiently over any fatigue.

I am now really excited for this! Special thanks to kimhe for mentioning the show, as I think it was in one of your posts somewhere that I first read about it. Will definitely try to remember to write out a trip report and my impressions of the show.

Oh, and hahaha I see my sister and I might have confused people with the screen names... she was the original poster, but then I replied under my screen name as if the same person. Well, pretty much the same thing. Whoops.

kimhe Aug 5th, 2009 02:34 PM


Yes, I will be going. Laura Rozalen was just magnificent in "Oro viejo" (Michelle Heffner Hayes compares her to Pastora Imperio in her recent book), she and Molina make up a fascinating duo; as Molina said "She gives me the calm, and I give her the power".

amsdon Aug 5th, 2009 03:41 PM

Well she is wonderful. And being a plus size person myself, thrilled that she is performing. Long are the days when I was dancing, weighed 130# at 5'5 and told to go on a diet.
In those days even Rocio might have been criticized for something, probably looking too pixie-ish...but duende she has plenty.

Now they are both celebrated for their enornous talent & that is wonderful.

Kim please please take notes!

jayelle Aug 7th, 2009 08:03 AM

So we got tickets for the Thursday night show, 9th row in the Orchestra section, 3 seats from the centre, so let's hope it's good! (strangely, there are actually a lot of seats left for all the nights of the performance...what's up with that?)

Thanks all for your help with this! I will definitely report back to you all with my thoughts.
Thanks kimhe for the links! They will certainly help as I try to become slightly more well-versed in flamenco before the show, as amsdon suggests. Just hope that as a complete ignorant newbie to this I'll be able to appreciate it...
Excited! :)

amsdon Aug 7th, 2009 10:53 AM

Great! I know you will love it.

In the meantime here is a link to a free flsmenco radio station online Tim's radio

Maribel Aug 7th, 2009 02:04 PM

Glad you were able to get tickets! Row 9 sounds good.

To become better acquainted both with flamenco and Carlos Saura's cinematic work, I suggest that you rent (or even purchase) DVDs of Saura''s flamenco film trilogy:

Blood Wedding (Bodas de sangre, '81)
Carmen ('83)
El Amor Brujo ('86)

I believe they're available on amazon.

Hope you enjoy the show!

amsdon Aug 7th, 2009 10:06 PM

Great suggestions Maribel. These films really are essential.

Jayelle if you get to Seville get to the Museo del Flamenco which was created by one of the stars of these films, Cristina Hoyos.

kimhe Aug 8th, 2009 11:00 AM

"strangely, there are actually a lot of seats left for all the nights of the performance...what's up with that?"

It's a fairly big theater (2500), and I'm quite sure people eventually will turn up. But the artists are part of a new generation that are not yet established among general audiences besides those very interested in flamenco. They are also signalling that they are going to push limits, and I think the broader flamenco crowd tend to be quite conservative about these things...

Hope you'll have a night to remember!

kimhe Aug 9th, 2009 04:19 AM

A recent and informative article/interview about Carlos Saura's background and "Flamenco Hoy":

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