Saturday, February 21, 2009

HOT FLASH FROM PARIS: Romancero Gitano
The historic Folies-Bergères is a dump. Once the Montmartre haunt of Toulouse-Lautrec, and the inspiration of many of his drawings and paintings, the theatre is now crumbling--peeling paint, threadbare carpeting, sagging seats. But it came alive last night with Cristina Hoyos and her Ballet Flamenco Andalucia, who are in Paris to perform Hoyos's choreography for the Romancero Gitano (Gypsy Ballad) of Andalusian poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca.

The troupe performed for two hours, without intermission, bringing down the house with wild cheering, rhythmic clapping, and shouts of "Bravo, bravo!" We jumped to our feet along with everyone else, in total admiration of the troupe's precision, costumes, and sheer joy of dance.

Below is the original Spanish and two English-language translations of the first and fourth stanzas of the famous fourth ballad, which Hoyos chooses to open and close the ballad's exploration of constraints on personal freedom:

Romance sonambulo
Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento. Verde ramas.
El barco sobre la mar
y el caballo en la montana.


Verde que te quiero verde.
Grandes estrellas de escarcha,
vienen con el pez de sombra
que abre el camino del alba.

Sleepwalking Ballad (I)
(my father's literal translation)
Green as I love you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship upon the sea
and the horse in the mountain.
Green as I love you green.
Great stars
come with the shadow
that opens the white road.

Sleepwalking Ballad (II)
(transliteration by Carl W. Cobb, University Press of Mississippi, 1983; Cobb's transliteration is so-called because he works to preserve the rules of the ballad in meter, rhyme, syllabification, etc., to be true to the musicality of the form rather than constructing a translation that cleaves to the literal meaning of the words. The two approaches are irreconcilable, so go with the one that speaks to you.)

Green grows my love, my love grows green.
Green wind. Green-branching tree.
Stallion on the mountain heights
And ship upon the sea.
Green grows my love, my love grows green.
Great hoar-frost stars come down
And join the shadow fish that frees
The pathway of the dawn.

I'm ready for Spain.

(Note to readers: We leave Paris for Barcelona on Monday, home on Friday.)


fresca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martha said...

hey--if you happen to be able to sneak a bottle or two of Noe, a sherry Nathan and Adrian got in Spain, I'd pay ya back.

Hope you have un viaje maravilloso en Espana!

ddip said...

So far it's Tio Pepe for sherry around here....

Anonymous said...

This transports me back to Jerez 2007, and all the beauty and passions of the Flamenco I saw there. So glad YOU had a chance to experience it!

Kristina says she also saw Christina Hoyos once in Paris. I've loved her in Carlos Saura's films.

Can't wait to get together and hear more!