La Fura dels Baus

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Dreams In Flight at the Singapore Arts Festival 2007 opening

La Fura dels Baus (Catalan pronunciation: [ɫə ˈfuɾə ðəɫz ˈβaws]) is a Spanish theatrical group founded in 1979 in Barcelona, known for their urban theatre, use of unusual settings and blurring of the boundaries between audience and actor. "La Fura dels Baus" in Catalan means "The ferret from Els Baus" (Els Baus is a toponym from the birthplace of two of the founders, Moià).[1][2] According to a 1985 review of their London performance, published in NME, the group "create a kind of adult adventure playground of fun, danger, slapstick and fantasy".[3]

History[edit]

La Fura dels Baus was founded in 1979.[4] Since the early 1990s, it has diversified its creative efforts, moving into the fields of written drama, digital theatre and street theatre, performing contemporary theatre and opera, and producing major corporate events. La Fura produced the opening ceremony for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, which was broadcast and watched live by more than 500 million viewers. Since this first large show, companies such as Pepsi, Mercedes Benz, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Swatch, Airtel, Microsoft, Absolut Vodka, Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros, the Port of Barcelona, Telecom Italia and Sun Microsystems have commissioned it to produce large promotional shows for them around the world.

From 2000 to 2010, La Fura dels Baus performed street theatre, evolving towards a concept of theatre that combines a wide range of stage resources, based on the classical idea of an all-round show. The main contribution of La Fura was to approach its shows by encouraging the audience to take an active part in areas traditionally reserved for the public, and adapting its stage work to the architectural characteristics of the spaces in which each performance takes place. This blend of techniques and disciplines came to be known as llenguatge furer ("Furan language"), a term that has also been used to describe the work of other theatre companies.

The particular concept of shows designed by La Fura dels Baus is seen in its large scale performances such as: L’home del mil.leni (2000), to celebrate the new millennium, which drew an audience of more than 20,000 in Barcelona; the Divine Comedy, performed in Florence in front of more than 35,000 spectators; La Navaja en el Ojo, which opened the Biennial of Valencia, and which attracted an audience of more than 20,000; and Naumaquia 1 – Tetralogía Anfíbia – El Juego Eterno, which drew an audience of more than 15,000 spectators at the Forum de les Cultures in Barcelona.

A number of courses and workshops have trained actors in the "Furan language". Accions (1984) was the first show to use it, followed by Suz/O/Suz (1985), Tier Mon (1988), Noun (1990), MTM (1994), Manes (1996), ØBS (2000), Matria 1 – Tetralogía Anfíbia – La Creación (2004) and OBIT (2004). The company has made use of new technologies, for example in Work in Progress 97, an on-line show that put on simultaneous performances in different cities in a digital theatre environment.

In 2011 La Fura attracted controversy for performing for the 35th birthday party of the Chechen dictator, Ramzan Kadyrov.[5]

Genres[edit]

Theatre[edit]

The potential offered by stage or Italian-style theatre has also been the subject of intense experimentation by La Fura dels Baus. The company has used resources such as video and other image-based media to create its stage sets, drawing on its experience in other areas of theatre to bring to written drama its idea of encouraging the audience to take part, albeit from the comfort of their seats.

La Fura dels Baus has also worked in the unconventional and always risky areas of written drama or Italian style theatre, for example in: F@ust 3.0, a show that examines the classical work of Goethe; Ombra, a reinterpretation of various texts by Federico García Lorca; and XXX, a version of de Sade's Philosophy in the Bedroom,[6] its international tour, which closed October 2000 after almost 3 years.

The company has also worked in the field of classical theatre. The premiere of a version of Euripides’ tragedy The Trojan Women, co-directed by Irene Pappas and La Fura dels Baus, with music by Vangelis and set design by Santiago Calatrava, took place in Sagunt in September 2001.

On October 2004, La Fura dels Baus gave the première of OBIT, a performance about life and death.

La Fura works with news projects and languages.[clarification needed] A version of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis had its première in Japan on September 2005 and was planned to be on tour till February 2007.

In 2006 La Fura designed a show to inaugurate the Design Fair in Milan.

On 1 May 2007, La Fura gave the première of the new "Furan language" show Imperium, to mark the celebrations of the Spanish Year in China.

Currently,[when?] the Company is developing Boris Godunov, a new theatre piece to be performed on stage and that will première next March.[when?]

These shows have the characteristics that have traditionally defined the work of La Fura dels Baus from the beginning: use of unconventional venues, music, movement, application of natural and industrial materials, including new technologies and the active participation of the audience in the show. This approach to theatre has attracted audiences that are not usually theatre-goers.

Film[edit]

Fausto 5.0, La Fura's first venture into the world of film direction, opened in 2001. This feature film, co-directed with Isidro Ortiz, was awarded the Golden Méliès 2003 for the best European film in the fantastic genere. Although it is its first film, La Fura has already been involved in the cinema in the past, for example in Goya in Bordeaux by Carlos Saura.

Opera[edit]

La Fura has performed in several operas, including de Falla's Atlàntida in Granada in 1996, Debussy's Le martyre de Saint Sébastien in 1997, Berlioz's La damnation de Faust in Salzburg in 1999 and José Luis Turina's D.Q., Don Quijote en Barcelona in 2000.[7] The premiere of Giorgio Battistelli's musical based on Ernst Jünger's 1939 novel Auf den Marmor-Klippen in Mannheim in 2002 saw the first use of videoconferencing as a stage element in an opera. In the same year in Palermo they performed Symphonie fantastique, based on the symphony of that name by Berlioz. They staged Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Ruhrtriennale in Bochum in 2003 and revived it in 2005 at the Opéra de la Bastille in Paris and at the Teatro Real in Madrid. In 2007 the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino staged a performance of Wagner's cycle The Ring under the musical direction of Zubin Mehta, with La Fura dels Baus as human scenery.[8] The performances were videotaped and released on DVD. In 2007 they performed two operas for the Opéra national de Paris: Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle and Janáček's song cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared. In September 2007 they performed Juan José Falcón Sanabria's new opera La hija del cielo and in 2010 at the Teatro Real (Madrid) Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny starring Michael König and Measha Brueggergosman and conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado (released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc). In 2013 for the opening of Arena di Verona Festival La Fura prepared a new version of Aida.

Music and Recordings[edit]

La Fura dels Baus has created its own record label, with a catalogue of 14 recordings; it has also published its work on other labels, including Dro, Virgin and Subterfuge.

Music is used in all the company's work, to such an extent that it has sometimes provided the framework for the show itself. Each new stage production by La Fura dels Baus generates a parallel musical project that eventually leads to a record being produced.

Internet[edit]

La Fura dels Baus sees the internet as the best way of reaching even the farthest parts of the world and has used it to present and perform interactive theatre works. The result, called "digital theatre", is the "sum of actors and bits".

The Naumon[edit]

The Naumon

The Naumon is La Fura's ship, a floating performing arts center that has been to Barcelona, Sardinia, Portugal, Beirut, Taipei, Newcastle and Haifa carrying various artistic, educational and cultural containers,[clarification needed] including the shows Naumaquia, Sub, Terramaquia and Matria.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Entrevista a la Fura Dels Baus". 
  2. ^ "Marcel·lí Antúnez". 
  3. ^ Sinclair, Mick (1985) "La Fura dels Baus – London Docklands", September 1985 NME. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  4. ^ David George; John London (1996). "Contemporary Catalan theatre: an introduction". The Anglo-Catalan Society. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-9507137-8-6. Retrieved November 8, 2011. . "La Fura dels Baus, founded in 1979, includes artists from various disciplines (art, performance, music and dance) and can be considered the most significant Catalan representative of this kind of new theatre."
  5. ^ "La Fura dels Baus participa en la fiesta del déspota líder checheno Kadírov". La Voz de Barcelona. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "'Shocking' sex play opens". BBC News. 23 April 2003. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Feldman, Sharon G. (2009) In the eye of the storm: contemporary theater in Barcelona, p. 102. Associated University Presses. ISBN 978-0-8387-5722-2. At Google Books. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  8. ^ Manfriani, Franco (2007). Mito e contemporaneità: 24 aprile-30 giugno 2007. Edizioni Pendragon. p. 8. ISBN 978-88-8342-547-9. 

External links[edit]