The 40th birthday of actor and singer Javier Gurruchaga coincides with the Barcelona premiere of Quo Vadis, the performer's latest stint with the Mondragon Orchestra (which has worked with him for the last 20 years). Quo Vadis is a musical based on the original novel of Nobel Prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz.
Gurruchaga plays Neron, a Roman emperor who desperately wants to become a rock star. American actress Michele McCain plays the role of Popea. McCain has accompanied Gurruchaga in all his stage productions.
The director is Jaime Chevarri, who has directed movies like Cosas del deseo (Things of Desire) and Sus ojos se cerraron (Her Eyes Have Closed). This is his first rock opera production.
The cast of Quo Vadis includes more than 20 people.
The Libretto is by Moncho Alpuente; the music and 16 songs are by Juan Canovas and Tony Carmona, based on 60s and 70s pop (The Beatles, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, et. al.) , with little text (just 20 or 25 minutes). Lyrics are by Gurruchaga and Javier Amezua. Each scene is said to be like a mini concert by the Mondragon Orchestra. The play opened last summer in Merida's Roman Theater and already has had 50 performances throughout Spain. It is, according to Gurruchaga, the best work of the Mondragon Orchestra in its 20 years of existence.
Quo Vadis runs at Teatro Tivoli. 10, Casp Street .Barcelona. Tickets from 1500 to 4000 pesetas.Wed. to Fri. at 10:00 PM Sat. at 6:30 and 10:30 PM and Sun. at 6:30 PM Box Office Phone: +34 3 4122063.
--By Carlos Lorenzo