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Jocelyn Medina
Performance Reviews
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at NYU

Flamenco Festival - Esperanza Fernández at the Skirball Center

by Jocelyn Medina
February 3, 2006
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at NYU
566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Sq South)
New York, NY 10012

Flamenco Festival - Esperanza Fernández at the Skirball Center

presented by
The World Music Institute
at The Skirball Center
566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square South at NYU
New York, NY

Jocelyn Medina (www.jocelynmedina.com)
February 3, 2006

Esperanza Fernández's performance at this year's New York Flamenco Festival was a masterful mix of cante and dance—intensely powerful, and overflowing with sensuality, drama, and both artistic expression and virtuosity. Accompanied by her brother Paco Fernández on guitar, and José Manuel Ramos and Juan Diego Fernández playing palmas (hand clapping), Señora Fernández began the show with a rubato vocal and dance piece exquisitely choreographed between herself and her husband, guest dancer Miguel Vargas. She revealed the full versatility of her rich, eloquent voice through a varied repertoire ranging from intimate vocal/guitar duos, to mournful, dramatic and fiery songs, both with and without dance. Like the Flamenco art-form itself, the show breathed with human emotion-rising to intense climaxes and softening to contemplative lulls, Esperanza's voice at times on the verge of whispery tears while at others belting out piercing shouts. The interaction between herself and Señor Vargas was fantastic-both sensual and maternal in nature. Similarly, Paco Fernández supported Vargas's virtuosic zapateado in addition to Esperanza's vocals with extraordinary sensitivity. In the end, the audience got to enjoy not only a brief but beautiful Bulería danced by Esperanza herself, but also the power of her vocals unplugged after she requested her microphone be cut for a sweet song for the "pollito" (little chick). The ensemble re-emerged acoustic for their encore, as well, full of fun and flirtation. En hora buena, para todos-olé!

Esperanza Fernandez
Photo courtesy of World Music Institute

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