Categoría: the bulls in English

The talented Manuel Granero (on the 98th anniversary of his death)

The talented Manuel Granero (on the 98th anniversary of his death) On the 29th of June 1920, a young matador is introduced to the Madrid bullring. His name is Manuel Granero Valls. He’s a prodigy from Valencia and many bullfighting enthusiasts already consider him to be the heir to the throne, left empty by the fatal goring of Joselito ‘El Gallo’ in the plaza de toros of Talavera de la Reina. Some years earlier the future looked different. A photograph shows a nine-year-old Granero on the day his mother took him to the Conservatorio de Musica. Under his arm he clutches his proudest possession and it won’t be long before his teachers realise that this youngster has a great musical talent. In the words of his conservatory director: “No doubt Manuel will be a virtuoso violinist. Very soon he’ll play sonatas by Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven.” But Manuel is from El Pilar, a neighbourhood famous for its toreros and the applause and the glittering costumes also attract the young music student. At the age of 14 and calling himself ‘Granadito’, he makes his official appearance in the plaza de toros of Valencia. The next day, one of the local newspapers records: “The boy possesses an astounding serenity and is a natural in handling the cape as well as the red cloth. His taurine skills are exceptional!” In May 1922 Manuel...

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Remembering Manolo Montoliú

Remembering Manolo Montoliú      The first day of May 2020, marks the twenty-eighth anniversary of the death of Manolo Montoliú, one of the greatest Valencian banderilleros of the second half of the 20th century. Montoliú died on the horns of Cubatisto in the Maestranza of Sevilla. I had watched him many times and admired his skill. Over the years, the heir of Enrique Berenguer, “Blanquet,” Alfredo David, and his master Paco Honrubia, improved his art and expanded his knowledge of the unpredic-table nature of bulls. Throughout his career, novice matadors as well as veterans came to depend on him and were honored and excited to have him by their side. “You should approach a bull very calmly and concentrate on the moment he chooses to charge” he always said. Six weeks before his death, on March 19, 1992, the day of San José and an important day in the taurine calendar, Valencia saw Montoliú perform for the last time –  in the cuadrilla of his friend, matador José María Manza-nares. The first bull was a Peralta. It was weak and although two pairs of banderillas had already been placed, and against the will of the matador, the president called for a third pair. Manolo gave a little shrug and took up his tools. The scene that followed was unforgettable. With both sticks in his right hand the master...

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Vicente Ruiz El Soro, a personal tribute.

Vicente Ruiz El Soro, a personal tribute. As with everyone who saw Vicente El Soro for the first time I was an instant fan. But I must admit I still had a lot to learn about toreo and was a fan of every torero. That summer I spent a week in Madrid, on my way to the feria in Málaga and came across a taurine magazine that had just commenced publishing. It was called Aplausos and it looked more like a newspaper than the glossy weekly we know it today. I noticed an announcement for the July feria in Valencia: Four corridas, a bullfight on horseback and two novilladas. It would run for seven days in a row. I had never been to a novillada before. The first time I saw El Soro was on a Saturday evening in July 1981. He was still a novillero and appeared with Bernardino Piriz novillos alongside Pepín Jiménez and Luis Miguel Campano. Both he and Jiménez—with whom he shared many afternoons—cut two ears and left through the main gate. A week later Vicente repeated this triumph and was again carried out of the ring. It was his third and last season as a novillero con picadores. When the season ended El Soro stood sixth in the ranking with 34 novilladas and 84 trophies. His career lasted twenty years, a large portion of...

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Marker on stained paper table-cover

Marker on stained paper table-cover remembering the Semana Cultural de Foios, 1991   One evening, as I sat in Tinto y Oro quietly browsing through a volume of Cossio, José Maria Aragón invited me to accompany him to Foios for the town’s annual taurine gala. According to its tourist information, Foios is ‘a typically agricultural Valencian municipality, whose gastronomy is rich in variety and quality of rice dishes’, so the invitation was gladly accepted. Foios is also the ancestral home of the Ruiz Soro family whose main members are maestro Vicente and his brothers, matador Antonio and Jaime a picador who acted in the cuadrillas of his brothers as well as those of maestros Luis Francisco Esplá, Vicente Barrera and Abellán. I had been to Foios some years before, on the eve of Antonio’s alternativa. My hosts had warmly called the event ‘an armpit dinner’ because of the delicious, home made bocadillos wrapped in aluminium foil. But I also remembered the large decorated venue and that beside the famous silver sandwiches, there were long tables with wine bottles, water jugs and plates with Spanish omelette, olives, and a fine selection of queso manchego and Serrano ham. It was a splendid party. Tonight was all about Emilio Muñoz who had been awarded the trophies for last year’s feria by the local peñas ‘Los Hermanos Soro’ and the ‘Peña Feminina’. Emilio...

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Apunte sobre mantel manchado

Apunte sobre mantel manchado Recuerdo de la Semana Cultural de Foios, 1991   Una tarde en Tinto y Oro, mientras hojeaba tranquilamente en un volumen de El Cossio, José Maria Aragón entró y me invito a acompañarle a Foios para presenciar su anual gala taurina. Según su información turística, Foios es ‘un municipio de la Comunidad Valenciana típicamente agrícola, cuya gastronomía es rica y variada, y la calidad de su arroz es extraordinaria’, por lo que acepté la invitación con mucho gusto. Foios también es el hogar ancestral de la familia Ruiz Soro, cuyos miembros principales son el maestro Vicente y sus hermanos, el matador Antonio y Jaime, un picador que actuó en las cuadrillas de sus hermanos, así como en las de los maestros Luis Francisco Esplá, Vicente Barrera y Miguel Abellán. Había estado en Foios unos años antes, en vísperas de la alternativa de Antonio. Mis anfitriones amablemente, habian llamado al evento ‘una cena de sobaquillo’ por los deliciosos bocatas caseras envueltos en papel de aluminio. Pero también recordé el amplio local decorado, y que junto a sus bocadillos plateados, había largas mesas con botellas de vino, jarras de agua y platos con tortilla española, aceitunas y una excelente selección de jamón serrano y de queso manchego. Fue una fiesta espléndida. Esa noche el protagonista era Emilio Muñoz, que había sido galardonado con los trofeos de las...

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