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Onstage: Spanish Legends

By Anne Arenstein · June 2nd, 2009 · CityBeat Recommends
Don Quixote’s tilting at windmills is legendary, but who remembers him attacking a puppet theatre?

You’ll find it in Part II, Chapters 25 and 26, of Cervante’s masterpiece, or in its transformation as puppet opera by composer Manuel de Falla. Master Peter’s Puppet Theatre has its regional premiere in a co-production by Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Madcap Puppet Theatre (both recent Corbett Awards for the Arts winners) and Bowling Green State University (BGSU). Master Peter is part of the CCO’s first Spanish Legends series, which begins June 7.

In this little-known episode, Quixote and his faithful page Sancho Panza arrive at an inn where a puppet theatre presents The Legend of Melisandra.

Melisandra is the emperor Charlemagne’s daughter imprisoned by the Moors until the emperor persuades her chess-obsessed husband Don Gayerfos to rescue her. A boy who embellishes the details, much to the dismay of Quixote and Master Peter, narrates the story. Never one to question the reality of his fantasies, Quixote constantly interrupts the proceedings and finally destroys the puppets, singing the praises of his Dulcinea as Master Peter stands aghast.

This is not your kids’ puppet show, but it’s not Avenue Q either. Madcap’s Artistic Director John Lewandowski says puppet theatre has never been confined solely to children.

Read the full article here.



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