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Bárbara Lluch: “My grandmother (Nuria Espert) has instilled in me not to read the reviews… until later”

Bárbara Lluch (Barcelona, ​​1977) has brought a fresh irreverence to the Teatro Real, changing the ending of The sleepwalker by Bellini. For this reason, he has received criticism and thanks. “This opera touched me in a very direct way because I am a woman, I am as old as I am and, due to personal experiences, I wanted to tell it that way.”

In the libretto, Elvino and the people disown an innocent Amina because she has entered the count’s bedroom. Elvino runs to marry Lisa. The count prevents this, explaining that Amina is a sleepwalker. Happy ending: they get married. But not in this version. “I don’t understand why they say it’s no big deal to let them get married,” says Bárbara Lluc, surprised by the critics’ reaction. “In the world we live in…!”

The sleepwalker has generated an interesting debate: Can an ending be changed? Should a literal reading of the script be done? Do the sleepwalker’s actions reveal his subconscious? The important thing —says the director, that she is not a supporter of the cancel culture is that the work works. And the bet is solid.

Bárbara Lluch has worked with the great stage directors at the Teatro Real and Covent Garden. She is having a great personal and professional moment. Her enthusiasm and naturalness arouse sympathy. She is brave and goes on her own.

Once released, has it reached The sleepwalker “cruising speed”?
Not yet. Regardless of how long you rehearse, artists need time to make it their own.

When I go to the opera as an audience, I like to go to the premiere and the finale. The interesting thing is when the artist integrates the guidelines you have given him. That beautiful path is the one that has just begun.

How much time did you have to rehearse?
5 weeks in total, two with one cast, two with another and a bit of rehearsal on stage. Enough.

You told me that the critical reaction surprised you.
I try not to read the reviews. My grandmother (Nuria Espert) has instilled in me “don’t read the reviews… until later.” Because in the moment you are more vulnerable and tired.

But, between social networks and people who send you screenshots and comments with good intentions… They say that Fulanita and Pepito are fantastic, but that the direction is not good… And who do you think directed them? I was also surprised by the commotion generated by not marrying Amina.

Are the two dolls hanging on the fir tree a statement of intent?
No. They are the equivalent of the two dolls that are placed on the wedding cake—the groom and the bride—taken to the rural world.

The lyrics talk about rivers, trees, a bucolic landscape, but what is seen is a gloomy landscape with stumps and an industrial mill.
Amina compares her love to nature, but there is no nature because they have destroyed it.
Furthermore, we do not always say what we have in our hearts, what we are going to do. In fact, one of the basic rules of acting is: “Never pay attention to what the characters say, pay attention to what they do.” People lie all the time.

Do you have an aversion to happy endings?
(Series). Yes, if they go against my morals. I couldn’t have directed The sleepwalker if Joan Matabosch had not allowed me not to marry her. I couldn’t from my own experience. You don’t have to go to Iran to see what happens to women. I refuse.

He had a very long conversation with the musical director, Maurizio Benini, to convince him of his proposal. What did he tell you?
I partly convinced him with examples from other operas. For me, in the end cabaletta A Winterreise with Antonio López! That’s where I’m going to get nervous. I handle myself with singers. But Antonio López is something else. It’s a mind I don’t know.

I have total imposter syndrome with this job. How can I offer something to this man? I can not wait. It is a project in a gallery at the Modelo prison. Complicated, but powerful and very palatable.

In a recent interview she seemed pessimistic, but I find her full of joy.
It seems like he doesn’t understand life. What I don’t understand is the world. All you have to do is watch a news program. As for life, I enjoy it, I like to laugh, I am madly in love… Choosing “sobriety” is the best thing that has happened to me in my life. I had that experience with a Frenchman in London. It’s true that the police had to come…

A victim of gender violence told me that anyone can be a victim of it.
Exact. I come from a family of strong women. I was very embarrassed to say at home what was happening to me. It was a time, less than a year in my life… and many people have had problems with drugs and alcohol. I think the time has come to talk about it openly.

I read the interview and thought: I sound like a lost soul. Nothing is further from reality. I have been very happy for years now. It was talking about the past that is past. I’m not hooked on what happened to me… But it defines me as a person.

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