Angélica Liddell Tells the “Bullfighter” Juan Belmonte at the National Theatre in Prague

Angélica Liddell prague
Photo: Christophe Raynaud de Lage.

One of the leading personalities of contemporary European theatre, Angélica Liddell, is coming to Prague on June 9 and 10 with her latest production, which was premiered last year at the Festival d’Avignon.

There is nothing in contemporary theater quite like an Angélica Liddell monologue. The Spanish director and performer, who has crafted her share of monumental productions over the past three decades, pushes herself to grating, visceral extremes onstage.

In her productions, she always deals with autobiographical themes, for which she seeks a metaphorical framework. This time, she combines the story of the “divine bullfighter” Juan Belmonte and the music of Richard Wagner to create her own theatrical language.

“It‘s a history of theatre and a history of my roots,” says Angélica about Liebestod.

“Liebestod” was inspired by the Spanish tradition of bullfighting, and especially by Juan Belmonte, an innovative bullfighter who died in 1962.

Liddell sees a connection between his art form and her own: “Belmonte said that what frees us from death is actually longing for it,” she said, comparing it to a poet’s “death wish.”

Her take on theater history is certainly idiosyncratic. In “Liebestod,” she describes the tradition as populated with “bureaucrats, bit-part players and technicians with rights.” She finds most contemporary theater productions, she said afterward, “naïve and a bit childish, because they’re always focused on the good.”

“I’m always looking for the sublime moment, for transfiguration, for overflowing enthusiasm, for radiance and light, this lyrical transport which takes place when one loves”, the director says. Liebestod is a rite of sacrifice that is more than just the history of bullfighting, “it’s the work of a woman in love, a mortal woman. It’s also an immolation”.

Useful info:

  • June 9 and 10, 2022 at 8 pm at the New Stage
  • In Spanish with English and Czech subtitles
  • Discussion with the artists: June 9 and 10 after the show
  • Buy your tickets here
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