This well-produced B&W film from 1960 recreates the atmosphere of the famous Café de Chinitas in Málaga (1857–1937) in the café cantante period of flamenco’s history.
The film features singers Antonio Molina and Rafael Faria, as well as the beautiful and accomplished dancer María Albaicín. The legendary flamenco guitarist Niño Riccardo accompanies many of the on-screen performances. The quality of the film is excellent for listening and watching performance details.
The legend of the Café de Chinitas lives on in many ways. Federico García Lorca immortalised it in his folksong collection and you can listen to the Spanish mezzo-soprano, Teresa Berganza singing Lorca’s El Café de Chinitas:
En el Café de Chinitas
dijo Paquiro a su hermano:
‘Soy más valiente que tú,
más torero y más gitano’.
The Ballet Nacional de España has had a production called El Café de Chinitas in its repertoire since its première at the Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada on 5 July 2005.
Photo © Josep Aznar
The work has been choreographed by the BNE’s Artistic Director, José Antonio, using the music from eight of Federico García Lorca’s folksongs and the backdrop reproduced from the original designs created by Salvador Dalí for the ballet, which was first performed at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1943.
There is a restaurant and tablao flamenco in Madrid called Café de Chinitas which was established in 1969, which aims to reproduce the atmosphere of the venues in the café cantante period. It has been very successful ever since it opened, both for its flamenco performances and its cuisine. It is in Calle Torija 7, Madrid 28013 and has its website at: www.chinitas.com
© 2010 Thérèse Wassily Saba