Las tripas del Mariinsky

Mi abuela me enseñó que la ropa se elige mirando las costuras, por dentro; son los cosidos de los dobladillos y cómo se pegan las cremalleras lo que da valor a una prenda. Con los teatros pasa igual. No es el dorado del vestíbulo lo que distingue a unos de otros, sino las tripas del edificio, ese espacio interior que el público nunca ve. En eso, el Mariinsky gana por goleada.

Del telón de Golovin, para adentro. Un paseo por el interior del teatro, guiado por una mano experta, me ha dejado, como la última vez, sin poder respirar [un guiño a Ginés Caballero, mi cómplice en la expedición, porque vaya paseo tan mágico nos hemos pegado de nuevo por túneles y escaleras, a veces casi a tientas y sin saber muy bien por dónde apareceríamos].

Dejando a un lado las toneladas de polvo acumuladas durante un par de siglos, la maquinaria del teatro late con una precisión sorprendente. “Todo funciona a la perfección”, me dijo mi sherpa; sólo que a base de trabajo humano. Es maravilloso contemplar el almacén donde conservan los telones antiquísimos y recorrer el túnel-galería por donde los arrastran a mano en vagonetas sobre unos rieles que los conducen hasta la chácena, o pasear bajo el escenario y descubrir las trampillas por donde desaparecen Carabosses y Auroras desde hace siglos.

Finalmente, la enorme chácena -mi espacio favorito en cualquier teatro- alberga dos gigantescas campanas, fijadas al muro desde que se construyó el edificio, que participan desde detrás del escenario en Boris Godunov y otras óperas rusas; aunque nadie me lo ha podido confirmar con total certeza, parece probable que en un principio también se emplearan como alarma de emergencias.

El Mariinsky representa la perfección del caos organizado; la magia del arte escénico elevado a la enésima potencia. Y además, está lleno de fantasmas. Doy fe.

My grandmother taught me that I should choose my clothes by the seams, looking inside, because sewings and the way zippers are fixed, are what makes a dress worthy. The same thing happens with theatres. It is not how fancy the hall looks what distinguishes one theatre from another, but the inside of the building, that inner space that the audience never see. According to that, the Mariinsky wins by a mile.

Behind Golovin’s curtain. A walk through the theatre, guided by an expert, left me, like the last time I was here, breathless [a wink to Ginés Caballero, my accomplice in this expedition, because what a magical ride we had again, walking through tunnels and stairs; we were almost in the dark sometimes, and we didn’t really know where we would come out].

Leaving aside the tons of dust accumulated for the last two centuries, the stage machinery keeps beating. “Everything works perfectly,” said my sherpa, but only by human hands. It’s wonderful to see that huge room where very old curtains are stored, and walk through the ancient tunnel/gallery where trucks crawl over rails, bringing the curtains to the chácena; I also enjoyed a lot strolling under the stage and finding the traps that Carabosses and Auroras have been using to disappear from the stage for the last two centuries.

Finally, the huge chácena -the back of the stage, my favorite space in any theater- keeps two gigantic bells, fastened to the wall since the Mariinsky was constructed; these bells play from the backstage in Boris Godunov and other Russian operas, and although nobody has been able to confirm the information, it seems well-founded that they were also employed years ago as the emergency alarm of the building.

The Mariinsky represents the perfection of a very well organized chaos, the magic of stagecraft elevated to its maximum potential. And also, it is full of ghosts. I can testify to that.

* Photos Mariinsky © Elna Matamoros, 2011.

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