La Casa de los Espíritus | The boldness of the Municipal de Santiago

Suddenly, the music stops. The clothes dropped from the boddies, they are left naked and start shaking, crack as paper before the melody that sounds so hard. The bodies fall in fromt of the stunned audience’s eyes which reminisce, in that moment, the torture, the death and suffering lived in Chile due to the coup 46 years ago.

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With the world premiere of La Casa de los Espíritus (the house of spirits in Spanish), on September 11 and celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Santiago Ballet, the Municipal presents a new work whose choreography was in charge of Eduardo Yedro, with the composition and musical direction of José Luis Dominguez.

Fotografía: Patricio Melo.
Photograph: Patricio Melo.

In front of the works of classical ballet presented by the Ballet de Santiago, on a recurring basis, this proposal becomes absolutely innovative. The choreography moves away from the usual canons, the movements show greater flexibility and sensuality; while history moves away from morally accepted social conventions to present raw, strong and violent scenes.

The adaptation of the book written by Isabel Allende for the choreography was made by Verónica González and Pamela Figueroa, and tells the full story, with emphasis on the cruel Chilean society of the twentieth century, through the differences between social classes and gender violence. Making the script of a book with about 500 pages is not easy, so the costumes made by Jorge Gallardo is a success because it allows us to understand  who the characters are and their family ties, which helps the narration of the history that sticks to the literal actions. Each generation has a different color, while the spirits are white and constantly circulate on the stage.

Fotografía: Patricio Melo.
Photograph: Patricio Melo.

It is interesting to consider that in this choreography there are extremely direct scenes of rape on stage, with a marked and direct political connotation, which deals with torture and human rights violations, and that also could not find a better date for its premiere . It is also paradoxical to think about the reaction of the conservative audience of the Municipal de Santiago who was shocked to see the opera Lulu, when he has to face scenes of abuse of explicit minors, which are performed in this work. However, for whom is art generated? How do we form new audiences and what do you want to show them? Opera and ballet in the rest of the world have left the conventions of style and form, as in the other arts, what happens in Chile about it and why it is still strong to see themes related to memory and reality of the country in the most important theater?

La Casa de los Espíritus is presented at Municipal de Santiago among September 11 and 17, for more infromation about the tickets click here.

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