Tamayo, José

Tamayo, José
b. 1920, Granada
   Theatrical producer
   Tamayo is arguably the most successful Spanish stage producer of the second half of the twentieth century. Since 1944, when he organized Granada's University Theatre, his stage design and management activities have gone from strength to strength, notably his pioneering work in introducing Spanish audiences to contemporary North American theatre, such as Salem's Lot and Death of a Salesman. From 1946 onwards he was in charge of the Compañía Lope de Vega (Lope de Vega Theatre Company), which he directed in around thirty plays, and led on numerous tours around Spain and abroad, especially in South America (1949–51). For this work he received the Premio National de Teatro (National Theatre Prize) (1946, 1947). In 1954 he started his first lyrical productions, such as La Verbena de la Paloma (The Fair of Our Lady of the Dove) in the old Madrid of La Corrala (the traditional roofless playhouse of the seventeenth century). During 1955–62, he was director of the Teatro Español (Spanish Theatre), where he staged many plays from the world repertory, such as The Carmelites" Dialogue and Six Characters in Search of an Author. Tamayo's interest in the zarzuela led him to set up the Amadeus Vives company, with which he travelled Spain, performing the most important examples of the genre. In 1961 he took part in the opening of the Teatro de Bellas Artes (Arts Theatre), to which he frequently returned with his Lope de Vega Company. On that occasion, he staged a very successful revival of Valle-Inclán's Divinas Palabras (Divine Words). With the Lope de Vega Company he was a frequent visitor to Granada's International Music Festival during the 1970s.
   Among Tamayo's more adventurous enterprises has been the staging of Autos Sacramentales (morality plays on eucharistic themes) and similar plays at the entrances to cathedrals and in monastery cloisters. Calderón's Cena del Rey Baltasar (King Belshazzar's Feast) was performed at Seville Cathedral. He has also produced Spanish classical plays in the most diverse locations: Lope de Vega's El Caballero de Olmedo (The Knight of Olmedo) in Washington and New York (1962) and other works in the Roman Theatre at Mérida and the Retiro park in Madrid. One of his most ambitious and magnificent projects was the spectacular performance of Carmen in Seville's Maestranza bullring. Tamayo's approach to classical theatre displays both moderation and imagination, and he has combined popularization and innovation in equal measure, as is well illustrated by his productions of Abelardo y Eloísa (Hélöise and Abelard), Divinas Palabras (1961), Luces de Bohemia (Bohemia Lights) (1970) and Calígula (1990). In 1970 he returned to his other favourite genre, the lyric, establishing the Compañía Lírica Nacional (National Lyric Company), which has been his major occupation since then. Tamayo has achieved considerable success in several countries with two Antologías de la Zarzuela (zarzuela collections). His achievement has been recognized by awards such as the Premio de la Crítica de Madrid (Madrid Critics" Prize) (1967, 1969 and 1971), the Premio de la Crítica de Barcelona (Barcelona Critics" Prize) (1960), the Premio El Espectador y la Crítica de Valladolid (Valladolid Audiences" and Critics" Prize), and decorations such as the Mérito Civil, Isabel la Católica and Alfonso X el Sabio, and the Medalla de Plata al Mérito Turístico (silver medal for services to tourism). In 1997 he received from Carlos Valle-Inclán, son of the playwright, a newly created award for pioneering the revival of Valle-Inclán on the Spanish stage. Tamayo has not only directed a long list of plays and playwrights in Spain, but has trained many theatre professionals who went on to become leading figures on the stage. He once summarized his ambition by saying he tried to achieve three things in the theatre: uneasiness, immensity and wonder.
   Further reading
   - de la Hoz, Enrique (1973) Panorámica del Teatro en España, Madrid: Editora Nacional (a study of the evolution of Spanish theatre, in all its genres. Illustrated with photographs of representative productions).
   - Molinari, A. (1994) Pequeño Diccianario del Teatro Andaluz, Sevilla: Ediciones Alfar (a dictionary of Andalusian theatre terms).
   - Vilches de Frutos, M.F. (1994) "Spain: Artistic Profile; Theatre for Young Audiences; Puppet Theatre; Design; Theatre Space and Architecture; Criticism, Scholarship and Publishing", in D.Rubin (ed.) The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre. Europe, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 790–804.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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