Main Gate or Infirmary Door

Corrida de toros. Fifth of the Fallas festejos. March 17.00. Cold, overcast day.

Maestro Enrique Ponce leads the paseillo with Alejandro Talavante. Paco Ureña, the third name on the cartel, is the matador I will especially be looking forward to. He returns after his amazing encounter here in July of last year and later was garlanded in almost every feria. The emotional but fragile toreo of the young man from Lorca (Murcia) is a refreshing change to the somewhat mechanical toreo we see too much of. I am not a great fan of Talavante’s toreo and Enrique Ponce is a torero with a career of 28 years whose intelligence, his taurine knowledge and his grace has enchanted many people although I must admit Ponce can also bore my socks off. Bulls from Garcigrande/Domingo Hernandez, colours red and white/and blue. Weights of the bulls 539, 534, 534, 540, 545 and 553 kilos.

Ponce in a mole-grey suit, Talavante in bright red and Ureña in white and gold.

A clouded sky after a rainy afternoon. It stayed dry throughout the corrida. A sold out plaza saw me once again take refuge in the press box.

I never thought I’d say this but after a career of 28 years astonishing the people with his taurine intelligence, Enrique Ponce has become a torero of habits, who bases his toreo on adornos and desplantes. He poses more than he torears. If El Cordobés (that is, the fifth califa) based his success on his spider-like jumps, Ponce is now depending on the effect of his poncinas to drive the people hysterical. Ponce, the idol of the Valencian public, thrives on effect, stands in profile and waves the bull through. Ponce pretends. Enrique Ponce has become a showman who will kill with a sword in the bull’s side and still get two ears and a passage though the Main Gate for doing it. Even the president of a first category plaza fell for his tricks.

Talking about showmen in toreo, Talavante is still my number one cynic. He took one look at his first bull, shook his muleta on the right, then shook it on the left and killed it straight away. Signalling we should wait for his second bull we did, we waited but got nothing. Because when Veleto (the bull) was prepared for his fate, Talavante stood in profile and sent it outwards with the tip of his muleta. He passed the bull and the bull passed Talavante. A sword in the ribs got poor Veleto down and Talavante was on his way to the next event.

Which left us with Paco Ureña, a torero who had been so shaken about in his last encounter with the Valencia bulls. In his first faena he moved his opponent in low passes, which were only interrupted when the bull suddenly stopped and ripped away the muleta. In the following series the bull almost understood that it was not the cloth but the man behind it he should go for and threatened to overthrow the matador. By now Ureña’s white suit was now almost dark red, for standing so close to the animal. Manoletinas ended the faena, the sword ended the life of Postinero.

The last bull, called Treinta y Una (31), was a complicated bull that, like his brother before him, gradually unveiled the secret of the bullfighter and his red cloth. We then saw an exact copy of what had happened almost a year before. The images of Ureña, overrun by the bull and being helped to his feet by his colleagues, bloodied and limping like a broken rag doll, were the same we had seen in July 2017. And as before, the public took pity on him and asked for an ear for the courageous but unfortunate matador who carried his trophy with him across the sand on his way to see the doctors.

Once again an old adage came true: you’re either carried through the Main Gate or you leave through the infirmary door.






 Cronica de Pieter Hildering

Fotografias de Mateo . Tauroimagenplus