Performance review: El Corazon Del Flamenco

An electrifying night of Spanish music and dance as part of Adelaide Guitar Festival.

Musical powerhouses Jose Maria Gallardo Del Rey and Arte Kanela joined forces for a stunning performance of Spanish music and dance in an Adelaide exclusive and the world premiere of El Corazon Del Flamenco, as part of the Adelaide Guitar Festival.

A tribute to the passion of Spanish music, the show was opened by Adelaide Guitar Festival Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan, taking to the stage to say how much of a pleasure it was to welcome musicians of this calibre to the festival, especially after the past two years of COVID restrictions and a range of shows having to be cancelled this time around due to new pandemic breakouts.

In introducing the show, Grigoryan described the first of the night’s performers as ‘embodying the essence of Spanish music’.

Jose Maria Gallardo Del Rey has travelled the world performing flamenco and classical music and he took to the Adelaide stage with no backdrops or costumery, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar.

And that was all was needed, as Gallardo Del Rey took the audience through a range of Baroque-period music and his own creations.

Gallardo Del Rey displayed his mastery of the guitar, and the entrancing music could have almost transported the audience to his hometown of Seville.

In closing his half of the show, Gallardo Del Rey brought his ‘brother’, Arte Kanela percussionist Joe Batrouni, on stage to accompany him, providing a fitting end to the first part of the evening with a flamenco tango piece.

The second half of the show belonged to Arte Kanela, a group formed in Melbourne in 1990 which has gone on to perform at a range of venues and festivals across the country. The group has also collaborated with some of Australia’s and Spain’s best musicians.

Opening up the second half, Richard Tedesco took to the stage with only his guitar, and played a flamenco piece to whet the audience’s appetite.

He was soon joined his brother Johnny, who is the group’s principal dancer and choreographer, percussionist Batrouni, and dancer Chantelle Cano.

Read: Theatre review: JALI

In the first dance of the evening, Cano, costumed in a black flamenco dress and gold bolero, stood tall in the centre of the stage, using only small movements to capture the audience’s attention before launching into a full flamenco dance.

The dance performances by Johnny and Cano were mesmerising and a flawless display of flamenco.

But one of the standout parts of Arte Kanela’s show was also a percussion solo by Batrouni, which highlighted his incredible skills.

The standing ovation at the end of the show demonstrated how much the Adelaide audience enjoyed the night of Spanish culture, and the outstanding performances of all involved.

El Corazon Del Flamenco
Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide

El Corazon Del Flamenco was presented as part of Adelaide Guitar Festival for one night only on 21 July 2022. 

Paula Thompson is a journalist who has written for The Advertiser, SA Weekend and the Stock Journal newspapers. She is now freelancing