Flamenco being the most picturesque, emblematic as well as truly beautiful cultural perspective on Spain, we put the Tablao Flamenco high in our agenda.
Of course the best Flamenco is to be found in its birthplace in the south, or impromptu in the streets, in a Gitanos wedding or by chance. Baring that, Madrid offers the best of the genre, so good that it could compete with the aforementioned. We opted for a classic one, and went for Torres Bermejas, named after the tower of the Alhambra in Granada from which it takes its decoration, and built on the former Taberna Gitana, inaugurated in 1949, which is as old as it goes in terms of Tablao. It is a mythic place for Flamenco, where Paco de Lucía met Camarón de la Isla, the collaboration of whom is credited for the revival of Flamenco in the 20th century.
We went there with Elena's parents and Prof. Herbert Vinck with the dining option. The combination is pricey. The food is great though nowhere like the announced gastronomic experience (the Menu de Temporada featured Crema de Boletus con Brocheta de Cigalita y Pimiento de Padrón, Tronco de Atún a la brasa con sus verduritas y sus hierbas aromáticas and Pirámide de Chocolate Blanco y Frambuesa con Coulis de Maracuyá, with a decent White Rueda.) More importantly, as far as the show is concerned, we had the Programación de Otoño, reading:
There too, a slight twist to the promised non-repetition of the performance during the night as a couple of executions were given twice, in the first part and in the second one (you can assist both). As improvisation is part of the act, this small convenience is however not a big deal. The dancer Juan Carlos del Pozo was probably the most impressive artist, at least for this night. You can also see Toñi de Córdoba's feet stamping that I recorded with my smartphone.
The actuation was really impressive. The room is small, and was half full only. The stamping was deafening. The singing was, on the other hand, kept at a low, but vibrant, volume. A large group of Japaneses left after a while so it was quite intimate near the end. One Japanese in particular expressed his enthusiasm, both in Japanese and even with one outburst directly in Castellan: "¡Ay mi amor!" Another group that stayed till the end, this time of Mexicans, made out loud comments which, although supportive, annoyed the artists who repeatedly shushed them and even came to address comments to them. At this point, the manager of the room signaled to the artists not to confront the audience, which resulted in only more outburst from the definitely excessively proud Toñi, who complained "¡Hay que trabajar con esto!" (one has to work with this!) In fact, after that, the artists promptly left the room with no salute nor taking applauds from the public. This was not out of place because the representation itself was just that: a proud explosion of gestures, bordering on the vainglorious, with comments to the guitarists as to the level of their play for tonight.