Saltar al contingut Saltar a la navegació Informació de contacte


Repetiteur mistress and former first artist of the Ballet Nacional de España, a company she joined under the directorship of Antonio Ruiz Soler, Maribel Gallardo has been ‘Medea’ and ‘’La Celestina’. In La Bella Otero she has the role of Madame Otero, the mature Carolina Otero who has to face failure and loneliness.

How would you describe the historical figure of la Bella Otero?

As a woman who broke the rules and cried to the world in silence in a male chauvinistic society. A woman who, despite having her childhood snatched away, managed to survive in a macho world, fooling and seducing men with her art and sensuality for her own benefit, using her full potential to reach the top of the aristocracy of her time.

What about the character as a drama role and as a dancer?

At present, it’s a great motivation and challenge despite all the different kinds of characters I have danced in my long career. It was hard to face up to, but it is wonderful.

Is there anything of la Belle Otero in you?

I believe there is something of la Belle Otero in every woman.

What does it mean to you to perform this title role with the Ballet Nacional de España?

Having the chance again to enjoy the stage with a narrative role like this and being able to share it with the new generations in this wonderful company.

When did you last dance with the company?

In 2013, when I danced the title role in Maestro Granero’s Medea, which we performed at the Festival de Mérida, among other venues and also toured in Japan and China.

What’s the most difficult aspect of dancing the role of la Belle Otero?

Perhaps getting to be as fit as any dancer must be when on stage and also having to deal with the language of a new choreographer, who in this case is also our director. 

One of your tasks is also singing an opera aria.

When Otero watched Bizet’s opera, Carmen, she saw herself in that character and wanted to be Carmen. That was the beginning of her career and also the end. She wanted to play the role of Carmen and financed the opera production at a time when her career was in decline, even though she’d never been a singer, let alone an opera singer. In our production, we have brought together the performance of Carmen’s Habanera with Rasputin, who is the person who dares tell her she is no longer the star she was, so she’d better retire with dignity, but she wouldn’t accept it. That’s what we wanted to reflect in the scene in which I sing.

Have you ever sung on stage before?

No, I had to train with a soprano, Carmen Solís, who helped me with vocalization and intonation to sing Habanera as out of tune as required by the character. I’m not a singer but it was hard for me to face the audience and having to do it poorly because every artist wants to do its best. Until the dress rehearsal I did not understand that I was the unsuccessful Madame Otero, from then on, I started to enjoy the character. What I like best is performing, that’s why I said yes unquestioningly when Rubén offered me the part. He sent me a video o Callas “for me to have a look at it” and so I learnt I had to sing too. I’m really happy about it because I make a discovery every day. Facing up to an orchestra to sing Habanera at the Teatro de la Zarzuela, the first stage I set foot on when I was 8, is incredible.

What are you most satisfied about?

The result I get from the joint work of the choreographer and the stage director achieving, through their guidance, the goals pursued for such a fascinating and complex character.

Is it more complex for the audience to accept a show with a plot than just a dance show?

It depends on how you deal with the plot. It’ll be well received if it’s done with the quality achieved by Rubén Olmo, or others before him at the Ballet Nacional de España, like José Antonio or Maestro Granero. A good point about La Bella Otero is that it’s easy to understand without knowing her story beforehand. You see there’s meaning in every scene. It doesn’t necessarily have to be more complicated if it’s portrayed through a stage design, lighting, and dramaturgy as in La Bella Otero. But a show like this is more difficult to stage, of course. And it’s riskier too.