Interview with Manuel Busto, director and composer of La Bella Otero

Interview with Manuel Busto, director and composer of La Bella Otero

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Interview Manuel Busto, director and composer of La Bella Otero Folk Music, flamenco, classical… All these musical genres and different aesthetic currents are those used by Manuel Busto to compose and conduct La Bella Otero., the operatic ballet premiered by the National Dance Company at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. A challenging and ingenious aesthetic and musical proposal by this young Sevillian director, one of the most promising races on the national and international scene.Brío Clásica: La Bella Otero was one of the most influential women of her time and her life was truly exciting, What characteristics of this character have you wanted to convey through your composition?

Manuel Busto: Work as a composer, from the approach of the dramatic ballet by Rubén Olmo and Gregor Acuña's own libretto, leads us to capture the rich characteristics of the intense life of this character in a very strong way in the musical dimension. La Bella Otero was from Valga, Galicia, where the rape she suffered forced her to flee semi-repudiated by society itself together with a group of itinerant gypsies, appearing later in Barcelona where the discovery of the character of Carmen made her become a "false Andalusian". From there he went to the France of the Belle Époque to conquer the world., starting with New York, have the most powerful men of the moment at your feet being one of the stars of the Folie Bergère. got to have it all, went broke and finally hid too young, when the beauty of youth disappeared, and live with his own loneliness in the south of France until the end of his days.

all, all the aesthetics of the places he passed through, but updated and with a personal vision, they should be present without losing sight that it is a single life. Unity as a global concept was essential on a technical and artistic level as a composer.

B.C: It is a work that has musically several registers and in its elaboration they have participated 3 composers. What part have you taken care of and how has the writing process been? Has each one written their part autonomously?

M.B: My part has been the whole, the global and unitary vision as a composer assuming most of the new creations, where there are so many aesthetics present. Example can be the first number, where I use a bagpipe prelude, flamenco percussion, where there is a clear reference to the Muñeira and a base of flamenco tiento, all using contemporary compositional techniques as well as instrumentation and orchestration treatment. All this is enhanced by including songs by great musicians who come from worlds other than mine., for example, Augustine Diassera, that comes from flamenco with forays into other currents, o Alejandro Cruz related to television and theater.

B.C: How do they merge into one, proposals from composers who come from so many styles and that the final result has a coherent musical discourse?, Is this part perhaps the one that has presented the greatest difficulty?

M.B: From them I received a sound proposal, which I respected but made mine to not only treat them with an orchestral sense, as my own, but in which he transformed by adding his own material, or even using part of their proposals at a motivational or rhythmic level in their own parts. I was free to use these approaches as my own, since the main purpose was that the work as a whole was solid on a musical level, which under a giant respect for the freshness that they brought, I have tried extremely to make it cohesive, no edges in the macrostructural or microstructural plane. Perhaps this part has been the most different or challenging, and the one that should be made with more care, I respect, coherence and I must confess, that with greater skill and ingenuity.

B.C: Is there an element in a dance composition that, by rule, make it different from an operatic composition?

M.B: Without a doubt the rhythm, and even more so since it is a ballet like the National Ballet of Spain, only one in the world. As a conductor I come directly from the world of opera, and it is true that both have their own language when making, very close in many ways, but different in terms of priorities. The characteristics of the National Ballet of Spain, and the use of the Spanish school or flamenco gives it a differentiating element that puts the composer before a greater challenge, if it fits, what is it to be able to understand that language first, and then speak through music with the same language in favor of what happens on stage.

My relationship of admiration, study and research with flamenco, makes me feel in my natural habitat by working for this company, where I have it and in fact I have used it in flamenco elements at a musical level, something that I think gives the sheet music of La Bella Otero a unique personality at the timbral level, to which must be added that ballet itself is a great percussion instrument due to its sonic dimension to be taken into account in creation.

B.C: How do you define your compositions, how would you classify them?

M.B: I precisely consider myself a person who avoids cataloging, or cataloging, that is to say, falling under one's own or external yoke on an aesthetic or technical level. For me in art the most important thing is the artistic message, and then the artistic medium at a technical level (here the preparation and the job is essential) with which to ensure that the emotional impact is the greatest possible on the viewer, and therefore in society. It is true that the use of flamenco is important, but only when I think that it is essential that it is present, since for example there is nothing of him in my first chamber opera Monologue to 2: Existence or in the job I just finished for Johan Inger and the Fondazionea Nazionalle della Danza Aterballetto.

B.C: He has just been awarded the prestigious Leonardo grant from the BBVA Foundation in the category of "composition and opera", to compose an opera. Do you already have an idea for this project?, What inspires you when you write, a character, a story…?

M.B: When it comes to aspiring to obtain this recognized award, two fundamental factors are taken into account according to the bases: the trajectory and content of the project presented. The title of my project is very revealing: "Flamenco in opera as a creative need: Blood Wedding, opera on rural tragedy by Federico García Lorca. This project will be a natural step in my own production, where, though not always, flamenco is present because of the enormous capacity to generate emotions that it has, just like opera, or the development of aesthetic currents through history that lead to contemporary aesthetics and techniques. Aspiring to know the latter is relatively natural in the development of the study of any composer, but not flamenco, and maybe because I was born where I was born, Los Palacios and Vfca. in the lower Guadalquivir, I have been forced to have a feeling of guilt well into adolescence for feeling ignorant in this matter. Which led me to discover it and, especially, to perceive your potential. So I decided to thoroughly study all its wealth, so that his language became part of me and my work. I insist, with the interest that his ability to generate emotions became part of me.