In a message that no longer exists, except for the captures of the fastest, on the official Twitter account of the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez Almeida —and in these times of political communication through social networks, the headline is presumed account of its authorship— invited to see “the performance of Carmina Burana”. The tweet that persists to this day says, instead, “the representation of Carmina Burana.” Everything else is identical. The change of a single word hides a blunder: not knowing what you have in your hands.
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This Sunday the National Choir of Spain, directed by the Valencian master Miguel Ángel García Cañamero, had been called to interpret for free in the Madrid park Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, a cantata composed in 1935 from some medieval poems. The verses are in Latin, which makes it difficult to transmit the mockery, irony and even the bacchanal of games, alcohol and sexuality that the original texts contain; a more than appropriate choice for the torrid night in the capital in whose program of the Veranos de la Villa this performance was inserted. The concert took place in front of the Monument to Alfonso XII by Mariano Benlliure, as a tribute to the year dedicated to the sculptor.
Mayor Almeida’s tweet did not say anything of that, of course, but he encouraged people to join a performance in “the only park in the world declared a World Heritage Site”, El Retiro. The park is inscribed in Landscape of Light, the narrative created by the Madrid City Council to achieve UNESCO’s declaration of World Heritage, despite the pollution, and which truncated one of Almeida’s urban plans: the construction of a Parking to one side of the park. It may be the largest urban park protected by Uensco, but not the only one, as the mayor claims. The Güell Park in Barcelona, created by Antonio Gaudi, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1984. The Prince’s Garden in Aranjuez (Madrid) was registered as a World Heritage Site in 2001. The Elche Palm Grove, one of the largest in the world and located within the city, it is a World Heritage park since 2000. To give three Spanish examples.
As a hilarious note, although for some not so much, the irrigation sprinklers jumped while the public gathered in front of the park’s pond to see the performance, which was a successful call and with it the program for this year’s Veranos de the Ville.
Carmina Burana is not a woman’s name
Carmina Burana means songs from Bura (Benediktbeuern), a German town in Bavaria. Almeida’s mistake, from whose deletion the confusion between the title of the work and a supposed artist called Carmina Burana can be deduced, echoes the one committed by the Minister of Culture of the Xunta de Galicia, Jesús Pérez Varela, in the year 2000. Pérez Varela surrounded himself with the media so that they would see him buy a ticket for one of the shows at a music festival organized by the Xunta itself. Asked which concert he had chosen to go see, the councilor replied: “Carmina Burana’s, who is one of the good singers in this country, with the Galician Symphony Orchestra.” The confusions and the changed names of Pérez Varela did not end there, but they left engraved for history a overwhelming radio testimony about the Xacobeo 2004 concerts at Monte do Gozo in which “Leni Kragüit” (Lenny Kravitz), “Brian Adams” (Bryan Adams), “Bo Dylan” (Bob Dylan), “Llams Addiction” (Jane’s Addiction) would perform , “Davi Bobui” (David Bowie), “Masí Atrack” (Massive Attack), Sheminal Brother (The Chemical Brothers) or “Primal Escrin” (Primal Scream).
The lack of knowledge on the subject of Pérez Varela, who apologized saying that he did not have to learn the pronunciation of each musician but that his function was to put “20,000 hake in a concert”, turned the cantata into a singer and directly invented that, perhaps because of the resemblance between Carmina and Carmiña, she was a Galician artist. It could have happened that Martínez Almeida confused Carmina Burana with the Valencian cult group, whose albums were published by the Madrid label Triquinoise Records, encouraging the dirty, noisy and experimental pop scene at the end of the 80s, of which he was also a part. Javier Corcobado at the beginning of his career. But that doesn’t seem like the case at all. As the actress Anabel Alonso has said when rescuing the tweet eliminated by the mayor with a screenshot, this mistake has more to do with “Sara Mago’s cousin.”
To understand Anabel Alonso’s allusion, one must have a memory, now almost more of pop culture than politics, which dates back to the 1990s. Esperanza Aguirre, shortly before becoming Minister of Culture, built her public image by allowing herself to be persecuted by the reporters of the program that presented El Gran Wyoming, Caiga Quien Caiga, and using television to their advantage. The word spread that Aguirre, to a reporter’s question about the writer José Saramago, she had replied “Sara Mago, I don’t know that painter”, or some similar phrase, because it didn’t happen in front of a camera. The person involved and even the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature himself assured that this had never happened. Real or invented, this story has persecuted the former president of the Community of Madrid throughout her career and has established itself in the Spanish imagination as a throwing weapon towards the political class.