Fernando Trueba, Spanish book editor, screenwriter, film director and producer, shares the story of his first encounter and impressions of cantora Estrella Morente who brings her dazzling interpretations of flamenco and traditional Spanish songs to Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage on Saturday, March 8 at 7:30 PM.
The first time I saw Estrella Morente live was in
1998. I was speechless. No other artist had ever
impressed me as much on stage. Never. Not even
my idol Georges Brassens, nor my beloved Leonard
Cohen or Bruce Springsteen.
Estrella was something new, something different.
The first thing that impressed me was her attitude.
She had an innate elegance, a new sophistication,
an apparent security—not the result of arrogance,
but of courage and nobility. But then Estrella
started singing and I entered a kind of twilight
zone. It seemed impossible, someone so young with
so much wisdom at the same time. Or was it
intuition? Or was it in the genes? Who cares? For
me, that day, a star was born.
Estrella, like it or not, belongs to the great, crazy,
strange family of the divas: Callas, Bernhardt,
Duncan, Garbo … and that is something that is
neither learned nor studied. It cannot be bought or
sold. It is something that is innate.
In Estrella I found heritage, tradition, and also
innovation—the future. She is an improviser who
never repeats herself, because true feelings can
never be duplicated or manufactured. They are
conjured up at a given moment. She is archaic and
futuristic at the same time. Estrella is a performer
who uses her voice like any of the jazz greats, as the
noblest, the most primitive, and most
quintessential of instruments.
But Estrella is also an actress, although her roles
and characters are not defined or mechanical. They
represent an open score, upon which to open the
heart of cante, like a ritual sacrifice in which art is
always renewed, always alive.
From her father, she learned that art is never one
thing, but carries all others within it: poetry, dance,
painting, bullfighting, film, and theater.
Today, fate has forced Estrella to become the
matriarch of a family quite unlike any other in the
Spanish arts. She began recording her new album
with her father, mentor, and teacher—as well as
producer—the great Enrique Morente. He was
unable to finish it, but it is now complete.
© 2014 The Carnegie Hall Corporation
Fernando Trueba is a Spanish book editor, screenwriter, film director, and producer.