Brisbane Festival: Flamenco Fire – Veinte Años

Flamenco Fire - Veinte Años - photo by David KellyFlamenco Fire highlighted every element of the unique, dramatic art form which is the Spanish Flamenco. Traditionally comprised of singer, dancer and guitarist, this production expertly expanded the three essential components to include an orchestral string section.The result was an evening of exquisite music and explosive movement.

QPAC’s resident Chamber Orchestra, Camerata, commenced the performance. Immediately, lead violinist, Brendan Joyce was  a standout and dominated the orchestral accompaniment via musical skill and strength of stage presence.

In addition to his range of responsibilities as Artistic director, Andrew Veivers was also one of the Flamenco guitarists, alongside Kieren Ray. Olayo Jimenez was central to the show as the solo Cantaor and also contributed some dance skills.

Percussionist, Andrej Vujicic kept the rhythm steady and demonstrated that two, plain, wooden walking sticks can also maintain a mean beat. I’ll keep that in mind for the future. Great on drums, Andrej also looked like he belonged on the football field as an AFL full forward.

Fernando Mira made it clear that men can dance the Flamenco with Matador-like poise in a black suit. When stationary but at full footwork speed, I was distinctly reminded of Michael Flatley.

Dancers, Simone Pope and Francesca ‘La Chica’ were gloriously powerful in their varied performances. They epitomised all that is wonderful about this unique dance form which they have perfected. From slow, menacing, snake-like movements building up to a raging fire, they were strong women in complete control.

The Flamenco dresses were voluminous and the skill required to negotiate the costumes plus add the traditional fans and shawls was breath-holding. They encompassed poise, pride and tremendous strength and stamina. A wonderful production and an unforgettable night of Spanish splendour.

Flamenco Fire – Veinte Años
Concert Hall – Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Cultural Precinct, Southbank (Brisbane)
Performance: Thursday 26 September 2019 – 7.30pm

Image: Flamenco Fire – Veinte Años – photo by David Kelly

Review: Michele-Rose Boylan