‘Retrospectiva’ in Astoria

| ckasden@queenscourier.com |

A perfect theatrical union between classical music and flamenco has been achieved in Astoria. The American Bolero Dance Company combines the two genres with passion, power and elegance. Entitled “Retrospectiva,” this collaboration can be seen at the Tony Bennett Concert Hall at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts.

The highly anticipated event surpasses all expectations. For almost two hours, the audience feasts on a musical banquet led by world-renowned performers.

Gabriela Granados is the very heart and soul of this stunning celebration. She offers the beauty and angst of flamenco with mesmerizing skill. Reaffirming her well-earned reputation, Granados dominates the performance with unmistakable passion. Her presentation of the haunting poem

“Los Heraldos Negros” with classical guitarist Tali Roth is breathtaking. Her seductive precision with celebrated dancer Juan Siddi in the second act is equally riveting.

The concert’s intensity is further enhanced by the power and professionalism of baritone Peter Castaldi, flamenco guitarist José Valle “Chuscales” and flamenco singer José Cortés. Always impeccable, their presentations are sometimes subdued but always crisp and clear. Ultimately, they all reach an emotional crescendo that is both unique and wonderful.

Colorful costumes (Dusseck, Cruzado, Enriquez, de Toreros Justo, Flamenco Vive, Menkes) and choreography by Granados and Adriana Jacinto are challenged by Juan Siddi’s dancing solos.

Siddi, in a dazzling outfit befitting the finest matador, hammers his feet across the floor and raises his arms triumphantly. Meanwhile, shouts of “Olé and Alé, Juanito!” echo from the stage and audience.

The concert’s classical component is represented by the Cassatt String Quartet and pianist William Hobbs. Their violins breathe musical fire into an already fierce performance. Although all are outstanding, violinist Muneko Otani displays the most intense interpretation. She zealously pounds the violin’s strings as she musically urges the dancers forward. Brava!

Musical arrangements and direction bear the unmistakable mark of Scott Jackson Wiley. His leadership at Brooklyn’s Regina Opera, Long Island’s South Shore Symphony and elsewhere is a welcome addition to the program.

Gabriela Granados’ “Tablao Flamenco” has also provided the many variations of flamenco to Queens for many years. Clearly, this form of musical expression continues to touch audiences of every age. For information on this and future productions, surf to www.ambolero.com or call 718-392-8888. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.