AWARDS

Best Visiting Production, 2007
Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors of New York

Best Play, 2007
Unomásuno

Best National Production, 2000 - 2001
Mexican Association of Theatre Critics Young Actors

Best Young Dramaturgy, 2000 - 2001
Mexican Assosiation of Theatre Critics

Best Actors, 2000 - 2001
Mexican Assosiation of Theatre Critics

 
PRESS SYNTHESIS
 

The stuff of festivals in my mind has to contain provocative and dangerous works like this extraordinary show from Mexico. A staged polemic on the history and morality of castrati was never going to be an easy ride but they certainly gave it, forgive me, balls. Beautiful, bold, brash, abrasive… I was at times lost in the words and at others lost for words. And there were perhaps too many words racing over the stage as surtitles. But my god it had energy and anger and humour too. I loved it and I found it irritating in equal part. And above all it satisfied that need to see something that was not a guaranteed good night out and for that I applaud it. If you want to know what it’s about go see it, to tell more here would destroy it, and if you can’t get to this then get to El Gallo which promises to be equally startling.

Andrew Kay
Lasted 7, Brighton, Gran Bretaña, May 25 / 11


One of 2007's 10 best plays.
Undeniable talent from Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes. Scenic rigour. Claudio Valdés is an architect of theatre because of his visualization qualities and his capability of building fragments. His rationality turns into intuition and ability of analysis. Creativity is including of the members of the company as well.

María Teresa Adalid
La Voz del Interior, Oct / 07

 
It was worth the wait the Mexican cast offered an extraordinary show.

 Beatriz Molinari
Viceversa, Mexico City, Nov / 99


The magnificent show and the stupendous cast deserved the unending ovation with which the audience greeted them.

Ernesto Ernesto Schoo
 La Nación, Sep / 07

 

Deserves The Siamese twins are admirably played by Raúl Román and Gastón Yanes; the their slave is delightfully played by Kaveh Parmas...Monsters and Prodigies is a sophisticated yet good-natured lampoon of 18th-century opera. Despite the textbook data, the show is a spoof at heart, and it can be quite funny even for those who are not opera lovers.

  Wilborn Hampton
The New York Times, Lincoln Center Festival. July 23 / 07 

  
Claudio Valdés Kuri's staging brings us from glory to chaos.
Raúl Román's and Gastón Yanes's performances surprised and amused the audience.A centaur, Siamese twins, a slave, a singing teacher, a castrato and Napoleon himself took huge laughs from the public and touched them with their mixture of comedy and drama, of theatre, singing, music and dance; based on Valdés Kuri's and Jorge Kuris investigation.The spectators gave prolonged ovations to the show that amused and touched them with its content and performances...

Mireya Espinosa
Mural, Jalisco, Mexico,  Sep 24 / 06
 

The castrati moved the audience.
An impeccable production. The staging of Monsters and Prodigies gathered over 1000 spectators, of which it also got the best ovation.acting.

Alfonso Gutiérrez
Público, Jalisco, Mexico, Sep 23 / 06

 

This is stylish comedy.
An elegant, yet intentionally foolish play has been constructed using elements of the opera, the extraordinary sexual feats, and other successes of some of the castrati and with a constant reference to other monstrous phenomena. There are practically no insinuations why should there be and the chastity of the vocabulary adds an effective chilling element to the story. The fall of the reign of the castrati, when they are attacked by Voltaire and other intellectuals, is spectacular. At the end, a tiny Napoleon places a huge canon in front of him and simply blows them up.Both the playwright and the director, fully understand and manage the conventions of baroque theatre, and know how to use them with tremendous effect.  With a light touch, the play makes us feel the changes in social and theatre fashions throughout more than a century.In witnessing how a Mexican company recreates baroque opera so brilliantly, it is impossible not to recall that at the height of the baroque era, Mexico City was the cultural capital of a universal empire. The young soprano Javier Medina has a pure, clear voice with an extraordinary vocal range and remarkable diction in Italian.

D.J.R. Bruckner
The New York Times, Hispanic Theatre Festival, N.Y., USA, June 28 / 01


Making the best of castration!
One of the most exciting works from beyond New York. Two packed houses of cognoscenti were lucky enough to see the sassy, savvy De Monstruos y Prodigios (La Historia de los Castrati) before the company was on its way back to Mexico.dimensions.

 Alisa Solomon
The Villige Voice, Hispanic Theatre Festival, N.Y. June 27 - July 3 / 01
 
 

Madmen singing in Brussels.
The history of the castrati as presented by an unclassifiable Mexican company.  The strength of Valdés Kuri lies in his capacity to contrast opposites, foolishness with harmony, violence with gentleness. These singer-actors are capable of singing the most beautiful melodies (Gluck, Handel..) but are also capable of pleasurable nonsense. These crazy fits of madness of course add to the charm of Monsters and Prodigies.

René Solis
Libération, Paris, France, May 10 / 01
 

 
In a well blended fusion of history and fantasy, the height of the golden age of the castrati is described. It is not the scenically beautiful what concerns Claudio Valdés Kuri, which seems to come naturally, but it is his audacity in using the various theatrical and musical disciplines on the stage.  He achieves a devastating mixture of gravity and irony that provokes the public to view the cruelties of an age amid Pergolesi and Gluck arias.It is swift review of two centuries of music - from 'bel canto´ to techno passing through Claude FranÇois and Madonna!A revealing spectacle, in a sand-like arena, takes the bull by the horns.

 J.D.
Le Soir, Brussels, Belgium, May 7 / 01
 

 
Mexico sends over a beautiful iconoclastic work, well documented and even almos educationally worthwhile. Singer, actor and director, Claudio Valdés Kuri presents a picaresque scene, hallmarked with circus-like aesthetics, which celebrates the theme of the castrati in an ironically tender fashion. Using scores from Rameau, Pergolesi, Bononcini, Handel, this accomplished company portrays three centuries of the history of music and its fashions.

Ph. T.
 La Libre Belgique, Brussels, Belgium, May 7 / 01
 

  
The National Theatre Company of Mexico closed the Theatre Festival magnificently with a deliriously different production. There was a standing ovation in the full house for these talented Aztecs.
An impeccable performance of a delicious comedy.

Ever Garcés
El Periodiquito, Caracas, Venezuela, April 9 / 01

 

The main value of the text resides, undoubtedly, in the fact that addresses the topic of the castrati from different pint of view. So, the audience has the opportunity to come closer to this singular and aberrant practice, from a social, medical, surgical, sexual political and musical approach.

Arturo Brennan
La Jornada, Mexico City, April 2 / 01

 

Surprising and splendid.
The play undertakes with social and musical depth, the supreme operatic aberration, through a text well documented that shows a comprised and precise history of the opera a deep and moving questioning about singing, human voice, the use and abuse, the capacity of going further, of being a wonder, of the addiction it causes, of the subjugation it provokes, and its terrible monstrosity.Musical theatre higher than many traditional operas, musical theatre in the most ample and disturbing sense of the word, that in which the words: the emotion, all the senses, the singing, the reflection and dramatic tension melt together to form a whole.A devastatingly clear and reflective mirror of operatic singing. On it, everybody, without exception, is reflected: singers, composers, scene directors, and librettists. And the reflection, the resultant image is tremendous. Kuri achieves what seemed impossible to undertake this subject: dramatic tension. And the fortunate and wise aesthetic amplitude, the play breaks the limits imposed by genres and time, which the simple operatic references would have stated.It is surprising to see a group of artists do so many different things and, at the same time, with such a high level of performance.

Gerardo Kleinburg
 El Ángel / Reforma, Mexico City, March 4 / 01

 

Words filled with meaning...creating a theatre that surrenders to all the possibilities offered by imagination, and, by doing so, shakes ones reasoning. This is fiction game, slowly transforming itself into close, day-by-day Mexican reality, despite the fact that these events occurred in Europe centuries ago. Only the expert knowledge of a master could have created these images so wisely. The actors voices and personal atributes provided a perfets portrayal of the characters they themselves are not.

Karla García
La Crónica, Cancún, Aug 21 / 99

 

If anyone had thought that the word ¿theatre¿ had succumbed to the theatre of ¿images¿ (which is in fact a theatre of special effects), Claudio Valdés Kuri and his ensemble of excellent performers have come to show that plays which base their dramatic action in their discourse, cannot go out of fashion whenever they find intelligent and imaginative settings, as well as a high acting level.
Becket or the Honour of God is not only the best work in the festival, but also a return to the art of drama as a forum for the manifestation of ideas, and therefore is an homage to theatre itself.

Ana Laura Santamaría
Diario de Monterrey,  Nov 13 / 98

 

If anyone had thought that the word ¿theatre¿ had succumbed to the theatre of ¿images¿ (which is in fact a theatre of special effects), Claudio Valdés Kuri and his ensemble of excellent performers have come to show that plays which base their dramatic action in their discourse, cannot go out of fashion whenever they find intelligent and imaginative settings, as well as a high acting level.
Becket or the Honour of God is not only the best work in the festival, but also a return to the art of drama as a forum for the manifestation of ideas, and therefore is an homage to theatre itself.

Rosa Linda González
El Norte,  Nov 12 / 98

 

The honour of theatre is saved.
Danger: High tension! The audience was shaken with high voltage when it witnessed the clash between love and treason, the divine and the profane, the beast and the angel, life and death. In an impressive display of acting capacity, a three hour Master Class was given on what theatre is all about. It was work which contained fine subtlety as well as violent contrasts: the result of a carefully presented, corporal, vocal and emotional work.

Guadalupe Elosegui
Diario de Monterrey,  Nov 12 / 98

 

The Considering that it is an abbreviated version, the play hides its modest beginnings without affecting the proposal nor losing the coherence and strength of Jean Anouilh¿s text. Here we have a show of highly detailed, microscopic work; it is an ambitious document, which at the same time rejects scenic grandeur; a round piece of staging.

Hector Maza Moreno
El Porvernir,  Nov 12 / 98

This play is from beginning to end, a reunion of intelligent minds and capable spirits: The text is ideal raw material, but without a daring, cultured director and a group of actors who are just as finely equipped, the end product would not have been equally splendid. The staircase mutates from a palace or a shack, to the open countryside before the onset of battle. The costumes, music, props, each movement, sensation, and the actors gestures come across as finely embroidered lace. Works such as these are not forgotten and set the honour of Mexico¿s theatre very high; an honour that must always be defended.

Martha Zuck
Unomásuno,  México City, Oct 1 / 98

Becket: A glittering diamond.
The powerful atmosphere of the El Carmen Convent serves as our scenery and transports the spectator to other times. It is surprising how the choreography evolves only on the stairs. This requires great effort and physical ability on behalf of the performers and demonstrates that objectives are not barriers if they are handled with creativity.
There is an ideal lighting-design created by the director, who does not overlook a single detail. The performances were impressive, one could say that we are dealing with five martyrs on stage who strive to delight and lead their audience to reflection.

Javier Andino
El Supuesto,  México City, Sep 30 / 98

 

Becket: A glittering diamond.
The powerful atmosphere of the El Carmen Convent serves as our scenery and transports the spectator to other times. It is surprising how the choreography evolves only on the stairs. This requires great effort and physical ability on behalf of the performers and demonstrates that objectives are not barriers if they are handled with creativity.
There is an ideal lighting-design created by the director, who does not overlook a single detail. The performances were impressive, one could say that we are dealing with five martyrs on stage who strive to delight and lead their audience to reflection.

Victor Hugo Rascón Banda
Proceso,  México City, Sep 28 / 98

Choosing a good text is the first step towards giving a stage director confidence. To surround himself with an able team allows him to put things together efficiently and not to remain the factotum who does everything half way. An adequate cast selection rounds it all up. It only remains to see whether the director is well versed in drama and whether he is able to intelligently read the selected author. All of these coincidences were found in Becket or the Honour of God.

Enrique R. Meribal
El Heraldo,  México City, Sep 20 / 98

 

Choosing a good text is the first step towards giving a stage director confidence. To surround himself with an able team allows him to put things together efficiently and not to remain the factotum who does everything half way. An adequate cast selection rounds it all up. It only remains to see whether the director is well versed in drama and whether he is able to intelligently read the selected author. All of these coincidences were found in Becket or the Honour of God.

 Reyna Barrera
Unomásuno,  México City, Sep 19 / 98

Within the severe mysticism of the El Carmen Convent, we, as spectators, cannot fail to be wrapped in a theatrical cavity of characters, with paused and innumerable ascents and falls (hell and paradise), Valdés Kuri¿s fabulous mise-en-scene shelters us in a remote and rigorous climate. Here, scenic miracle-working becomes proof and testimony of actors who transform themselves before our very eyes into twenty ¿others¿.
Blood drops that have become beads of an impossible necklace... The song of Genesis.

 Armando Vega Gil
La Jornada,  México City, Sep 11 / 98

 

Within the severe mysticism of the El Carmen Convent, we, as spectators, cannot fail to be wrapped in a theatrical cavity of characters, with paused and innumerable ascents and falls (hell and paradise), Valdés Kuri¿s fabulous mise-en-scene shelters us in a remote and rigorous climate. Here, scenic miracle-working becomes proof and testimony of actors who transform themselves before our very eyes into twenty ¿others¿.
Blood drops that have become beads of an impossible necklace... The song of Genesis.

 Armando Vega Gil
La Jornada,  México City, Sep 11 / 98

 

The best staging of the year.
The play immediately takes us to other productions and films, but the deepest evocation lies in the space chosen by Claudio Valdés Kuri to accomplish such a grandiose feat.
With very few elements and five actors, Valdés Kuri presents a show which is endowed with many excellent aspects.
The group possesses overwhelming stamina; charged with energy, it gives exhausting pace to the actions which occur before us in a flash.
Each aspect of the production was carefully planned... Theatre marvels that are worthy of praise.

 Reyna Barrera
Unomásuno,  México City, Sep 19 / 98

Claudio Valdés Kuri reduces his setting to the staircase of the El Carmen Convent-Museum, but takes full advantage of it, with the capability of a great creator.
His scenic conception is of indescribable beauty. He manages to fully create one of the many magical aspects of theatre whose purpose is to make us see what is not actually there: The castle, horses, the woods, a parade, taverns, and an endless number of places and things that appear before the audience, due to the great creative capacity of the director.
Special mention must be made in relation to the scene of the parade and triumphant entry of the king of England into France, for it is one of the best scenes presented in our national theatre in the last thirty years. All those who form part of this staging, come together to present us with one of the best productions, not only of this year, but of our recent times.

 Alejandro Laborie Elias
Skene,  México City, Sep 10 / 98

 

Behind each gesture, image, atmosphere and sound, which come across to us fresh and spontaneous, one can sense a long and passionate investigative work, in which the actors expressive potential is pushed to the limits in the empty space.
I pray that Claudio Valdés Kuri may continue to create in this manner, giving himself fully and generously to his profession, and with respect towards spectators who, like myself, seek in theatre a form of joy and reflection.

 Luz Emilia Aguilar Zinser
Reforma,  México City, Sep 3 / 98

Becket or the Honour of God: harmonious artistry throughout.
This production will be the production of greatest quality due to the artistic harmony which occurred between the text and the actors.
The work has made Luis Artagnan and Gerardo Trejoluna the most distinguished actors of the decade.

 Emmanuel Haro Villa
Novedades, Mexico City, Aug 31 / 98

 

The actors corporal training must have been very intense. For more than two hours they go up and down the stairs, in a feat of characterizations, acrobatic and choreographed compositions, enriched by an evidently dangerous setting, which would otherwise not tolerate the type of formal acting which occurs on the ordinary stage.

 Javier Acosta
El financiero, Mexico City, Aug 31 / 98

 

What matters in the show is not so much Anouilh¿s text, which we already know to be efficient, but rather Claudio Valdés Kuri¿s ability to transform it into actions which constantly occur in a chain reaction, thereby forming a visual structure that supports the ideas with the equal strength that is contained within the author¿s words.
Dynamic originality and a delicious combination between seriousness and fun. A dramatic proposal which avoids the explicitness of naked structures, thereby reaffirming personal poetry.
The costumes are absolutely adequate and beautiful. In them we see a taste for detail and the implicit reference to certain facts and historic customs. The use of medieval instruments gives to the staging warmth and vitality which is very special.
The actors¿ work is homogenous, all follow a similar line of development, speaking the same language with equal effect and creativity. This translates into a solid work of direction by Claudio Valdés Kuri. He has been capable of making them all grow while restraining them at the same time. There is also undeniable ability and hard work in the group of performers.
A piece of staging which is full of well chosen imagery, formal discoveries and a text which rescues its most solid and contemporary aspects.

 Bruno Bert
Tiempo libre , Mexico City, Aug 20 / 98

 

Claudio Valdés Kuri assumes the role of director with quite good fortune. He presents a stylised conception of the French author from a fresh and different point of view.

 Olga Harmony
La jornada, Mexico City, Aug 20 / 98


Sample case of wonders.
The dramatic excesses, that go along well with the tone of the baroque style described, contrast with the sobriety of the scenic elements.Multidisciplinary show or great divertissement very enjoyable and congruent with the heterodox, proteic and imaginative line that was foreseen in Becket, the previous work by this director.
I wish that there would be many shows like this.

 Enrique R. Mirabal
El Heraldo, Mexico City, Feb 4 / 01


Enlightening and instructive scenic divertissement by Claudio Valdés Kuri.
This splendid production shows us an exacerbated imagination and pleasure, a diverse and unrestricted evident talent a theatrical product so new an plethoric of spark and wit.Gracious and illustrative scenic illusion about the great stars of the past.Living music, choreography, horse training, costumes, props and special effects ad hoc to the time, those that must have been the great productions of the baroque period.

 Siempre, Mexico City, Jan 31 / 01


Precise and playful play.
Claudio Valdés Kuri is outstanding for a daring and rigorous will of experimentation. Hernán del Riego, musician and actor of extraordinary gesticulation, and Mario Iván Martínez, also a singer and actor of powerful expression and comic talent, move in the complex development of a body language faithful to the evolution registered in the centuries that are embraced in the play. An intense work supports that shine of simple appearances.The participation of Javier Medina in the core part of the play in this very good production.A strong, expressive energy belongs to Kaveh Parmas.The costumes and wigs have an outstanding role, designed by Mario Iván Martínez, call for detail: it is a delight for the sight.A brisk sense of humour, without being petulant, runs through this painful story of paradox, greatness and human cruelties, which at the same time show us the horror. And makes of theatre an experience capable of provoking that strange desire of going back once again to the same show and confirm that an experimental play can have a full house days in advance.

 Luz Emilia Aguilar Zinser
Reforma, Mexico City, Jan 26 / 01


Claudio Valdés Kuri, young and talented director, undertakes the sordid story of the castrati. A delirious, playful, dreamlike and pretty fun production in which aesthetic beauty is present all the time.The Siamese brothers Jean and Ambrose Paré perform their work in a skilful way. Valdés Kuri gathers a talented group of actors-musicians headed by Mario Iván Martínez and Hernán del Riego, along with Javier Medina, who interprets a castrato, showing his vocal qualities as well as his acting capacities. Antonio Duque shows his interpretative talent giving life to Baldassarre Galuppi. The cast is consists of the precise acting of Luis Fernando Villegas, Kaveh Parmas and Miguel Ángel López. Magda Zalles, musical director, and Alan Stark, baroque dances, give the framework of the time to this play.Of Monsters and Wonders authenticates the Valdés Kuri¿s great talent and offers a visual and sound joyful moment for the audience.

 Salvador Perches Galván
Unomásuno, Mexico City, Jan 17 / 01


Wonders among Monsters.
Surprising and enriching play by Jorge Kuri. The prodigious scene director is Claudio Valdés Kuri. Because it is not easy to melt so many good shots: la stage conception of poetic simplicity and the lighting designed, both, by Víctor Zapatero, give this production an dreamlike beauty. Magda Zalles, as the musical director, participates in the dynamics of the play in a very successful way, illustrating and playing. The acting task of the actors dazzles because of its discipline and virtues; exceptional singers and, in the case of Antonio Duque, the playing of the harpsichord.One surprise after another keeps the audience in a discourse of neurotic and metalinguistic freshness. The brightness of the text flourishes in the hands of the enviable team. A superb horse takes us to the childish illusion, the rider is Luis Fernando Villegas that shows his talent and gives us a very successful copy of Napoleon.The voices come out potent in their beauty. The singular tessitura of Javier Medina stands out with vigour. Mario Iván Martínez and Hernán del Riego couple in a delicious schizophrenia. The vocal cords of both actors are privileged. Miguel Ángel López y Kaveh Parmas, both show an extraordinary physical effort, are very good actors.

 Adriano Numa
Tiempo Libre, Mexico City, Jan 4 / 01


Claudio,Mario Iván Martínez and Hernán del Riego are involved in a monstrous Siamese reality, and accomplish a prodigious complement one to the other.The production of Igor Lozada is clean and adequate helping to highlight with freedom the work of the actors.This is one of the best plays that we can see. actors.

 Eleonora Rodríguez
El Foco. com, Mexico City, Jan / 01


A production that offers a different theatrical experience to the senses of the audience.
There is a combination of sense of humour and scenic talent, music, singing, equestrian choreographies, mythological tales and the possibility of listening the voice of Il Virtuoso Javier Medina, who due to a childhood illness suffered from natural castration and preserves the soprano voice.There is no playwrighting; it is mores a scenic-musical-humorist tale that seems to be the exception to the rule: it shows that it is possible, under certain circumstances, to produce theatre without a dramatic text. The results show that if there is clarity in the proposal and precision in the effort, one can come to build a moving fiction.The space conception is interesting. There is only 40 tons of sand, on it the horse and the actors move. The actors are expose to the empty space but they give their best. The Siamese couple is works with meticulousness, and together this two actors reach a facial free work. It is important to mention the musical menu offered, their versatility as actor and singers is remarkable and their effort seems endless. Sulaimán moves in the sand as if it were his natural habitat. Quirón, the centaur, seems cut off of a mythological book, his body work is precise as well as his intention. The delicate movements of the white and beautiful horse give an elegant atmosphere to the comic tone of the actors.This spectacle offers a fresh, interesting and, above all, amusing, theatre proposal.

 Ximena Escalante
Primera Fila / Reforma, Mexico City, Dec 15 / 00


Ladies and gentlemen: Is it possible nowadays the existence of monsters and wonders? It may seem that these beings belong to ancient times, but nevertheless it is possible to see the on stage thanks to the play Monsters and Prodigies.The journey is brilliant and pleasant, bright and precise, beautiful and critic.The play bastes subtle cultural links, that allow us not only to follow the terrible and moving story of the castrati, but it also opens the reflection and stands a position in relation to culture.Have you ever felt fascinated by the monsters, the wonders and all those things far from our understanding? This fascination is emphasized by the presence of the Siamese couple, embodies outstandingly by Mario Iván Martínez and Hernán del Riego.A play that conjugates talent (director, actors, designers, and all the artistic crew), beauty (the scenic proposal, images, singing); the sense of humour, the possibility of sharing the disturbing world of the castrati, the surprise and the intrusion of the audience in the scene, the fascination for the history of music, the culture of show business, the precision and the requirements of a high quality theatre.

 Silvia Peláez
Primera Fila / Reforma, Mexico City, Dec 1 / 00


Claudio Valdés Kuri authenticates all the expectation he provoked with his first play, Becket by Anouilh. He is the ideal director for this text, where he pairs music and acting with a great playful sense building a great spectacle with minimum resources.The musical direction by Magda Zalles, the baroque dances by Alan Stark and the splendid costumes designed by Mario Iván Martínez are the substantial contributions to the show.The Paré brothers, played by Mario Iván Martínez and Hernán del Riego, adjust in a very outstanding way their movements and show off about their talent as actors and singers, as Antonio Duque, singer and harpsichord player, who incarnates a burlesque Galuppi. Javier Medina, the virtuoso castrate, achieves a good actoral performance. Kaveh Parmas, as the Negro Sulaimán has very fun scenes, Miguel Ángel López plays an excellent Quirón and the horse rider Luis Fernando Villegas, very elegant on Campeador, enters the game when he becomes Napoleon.This play has an interesting text with a wit direction in which a small group of virtuosos achieve a full spectacle.

 Olga Harmony
La Jornada, Mexico City, Nov 30 / 00


Monsters and Prodigies opened successfully in its international presentation. The History of the Castrati filled the audience with magic.

 Daniel Heredia
Cadiz Information, Cádiz Ibero-American Festival, Spain, Oct 21 / 00


An original and new play. A play of high quality that had a great success at Cadiz.

 Pilar Choza
La Teatral, Cádiz Ibero-American Festival, Spain, Oct 21 / 00