Saltar al contingut Saltar a la navegació Informació de contacte

La Bella Otero

World Premiere Teatro de la Zarzuela, 7th March, 2020, by the Ballet Nacional de España


  • Rubén Olmo

Why La Bella Otero? 
I was drawn to the story of Bella Otero by the idea that one of the most famous women of her era came from a small town in Pontevedra. I came across this character many years ago, before I started my career as a choreographer. I really wanted to create a choreography for her, but I knew that it had to be with a big ballet company. As Director of the Ballet Nacional de España, I now have that opportunity and I believe that it will be an important piece of work.
La Bella Otero is the first piece of work with a plot that I have directed for the Ballet Nacional de España since I was appointed Director in 2019. In spirit, the two previous programmes, Invocación and Centenario Antonio Ruiz Soler, were about the spirit of enjoying Spanish dance in all its different styles. This time, I have made dance a vehicle for the plot, as a way of recounting the life of a surprising woman, using styles that range from folk dance to contemporary dance.
It is an emotive spectacle, and a dramatic one too, because it tells the story of a woman who invents her own origins to reach the highest echelons of society, yet ends up alone and forgotten.

Rubén Olmo
Director Ballet Nacional de España

Artistic sheet

Direction and choreography:
Musical direction: Manuel Busto
Music: Manuel Busto, Alejandro Cruz, Agustín Diassera, Rarefolk, Diego Losada, Víctor Márquez, Enrique Bermúdez y Pau Vallet
Dramaturgy: Gregor Acuña-Pohl
Set design: Eduardo Moreno
Costume design: Yaiza Pinillos
Lighting design: Juan Gómez-Cornejo
Sculpture: Manuel Martín Nieto
Sound design: Luis Castro
Poster design: Manu Toro
Costumes: Cornejo
Footwear: Gallardo
Props: Beatriz Nieto
Hair and wigs: Carmela Cristóbal
Make-up design: Otilia Ortiz
Orchestra: a determinar según teatro
Musical recordings: Fundación Barenboim-Said dirigida por Manuel Busto
Flamenco musicians from
the Ballet Nacional de España
Guest musicians: Alejandro Cruz, Agustín Diassera y David ‘Chupete’
Guest artist: Patricia Guerrero
Special collaboration: Maribel Gallardo
Special thanks to Carmen Solís


PROLOGUE: Through dance, the elderly Carolina Otero invokes memories of her youth.

ROMERÍA AND TEARS: During the Romería pilgrimage for the Virgin of Valga, the young Carolina is raped. Injured and helpless, she is taken in by the local priest. While initially fatherly and protective, the priest then tries to abuse her, and she decides to escape from the village forever.

GYPSIES: Carolina joins a troupe of wandering artists, who teach her the art of dance and through whom she experiences love for the first time. However, she is betrayed and decides to become the lover of a rich Portuguese duke, having abandoned her belief in love forever.

CARMEN: Alongside her rich lover, she attends the opera for the first time. Carmen will remain an inspiration to her for the rest of her life, as the free, independent woman she aspires to be.

MONTECARLO CASINO: Draped on the arm of her lover, she discovers the magic, intoxicating world of casinos, and is spellbound by their glamour and opulence. When she meets a prince and his lover, she finds herself in a world of extreme luxury, where she is determined to remain.

CAFÉ CANTANTE: On the third stop of her journey with the rich Portuguese duke, Carolina discovers a famous ‘café cantante’ in Marseille, where she improvises a dance. Fortunately, a talent scout called Jurgens happens to see her performance, and he offers her a first contract as an artist – and she promptly leaves the duke.

APPRENTICE TO A STAR: In his desperation to become her Pygmalion, Jurgens takes Carolina to a dance maestro, who teaches her techniques to seduce audiences.

WORLD TOUR: Carolina Otero sets off on a tour of the most prestigious theatres on both sides of the Atlantic, where she becomes the lover of princes and kings who shower her with jewels and gifts. His advances spurned, her agent commits suicide.

FOLIES-BERGÈRE: In the legendary Parisian cabaret, the master of ceremonies Bellini presents the can-can girls, as well as the two biggest stars of the time; the innovative, revolutionary Loïe Fuller with her skirts flying everywhere, and the most beautiful and seductive woman in the world, Carolina Otero, who dances dressed as a bullfighter or covered only in jewels.

QUEEN OF THE CASINO: After the performance, Carolina and her troupe take to the casino, still dressed in their spectacular costumes. They drink, dance and above all, seduce men.

BELLE ÉPOQUE: One Sunday morning, the cream of European high society promenade through Paris’ Bois de Boulogne Park. Among the crowd is Rayen, an ex-lover of Carolina Otero, who tries to win her favour again.

BIRTHDAY IN MAXIM’S: For her 30th birthday, six European kings prepare a special party in the most exclusive restaurant in Paris. Carolina dances with each one, culminating in a sensual striptease in which she offers up her body on a silver platter.

VIRGIN OF VALGA: The dress that Carolina stripped off as part of her routine arrives in her hometown, where the priest puts it on the statue of the Virgin of Valga.

RASPUTIN: Carolina tries to seduce the mystical Rasputin, but he rejects her, judges her and condemns her to age without grace. As her swansong, she sings the Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen, and during the song she loses all the things that had placed her among the world’s most desired women.

SPECTRES OF THE PAST: Carolina returns to the only place where she has ever been truly happy: the casino. But she is haunted by the ghosts of her past. She insists on gambling and these spectres ask her to get out, leaving her completely alone, with only her memories as company.