The rapturous speech, the high timbre of voice, the frequent sarcastic laughter, announced, even from a distance, the singular and irresistible figure of Gustavo Tambascio, who died in Madrid now a year ago in full creative activity. Born in Buenos Aires in 1948, Tambascio was a child actor in a company created by his sister Luz, also working, even as a teenager, on radio and television. Early militant in artistic groups of the left, he had to leave his native country, like so many other compatriots of theater, cinema and literature, in 1976, after the coup d'état of the milicos, settling himself for a long period in Venezuela, where he developed multiple activities of music management and teaching; at the Ateneo de Caracas he made his debut in 1980 as stage director of a Pulcinella of Stravinsky. After a first and long Latin American journey, Tambascio arrived in Madrid in 1988, a city in which, while continuing to travel professionally through the confines of Europe and the two Americas, he settled with his family, obtaining Spanish nationality.
He was a man of extensive musical knowledge and vast literary culture
I met him at the end of 1990, when, being the literary director of the National Drama Center that José Carlos Plaza was directing at the time, he appeared at the María Guerrero theater with an apparent shyness and two very original proposals. The first, already premiered at the Arriaga theater in Bilbao, was a great assembly of Kant's trip to America (Immanuel Kant in its original title), the work of that great playwright, as great as a novelist, who was Thomas Bernhard, then just staged outside the Germanic scope. The assembly was scheduled in the large room of the Maria Guerrero in 1991, assuming a year and a half after the CDN production in small format, within the so-called Sala Margarita Xirgu (a large room on the first floor of the theater) Fernando Krapp wrote me this letter, suggestive piece of Tankred Dorst based on a story by Unamuno. Another project that the CDN commissioned to Tambascio, the world premiere of the only play by Luis Cernuda, The family interrupted, there was no time to face it, due to the abrupt exit of Plaza, although Gustavo, in love with that imperfect but fascinating Cernudian text, managed to premiere it in 1996 in a very successful production of the Autumn Festival that was seen in Madrid, Seville and Malaga. Months before, I saw Tambascio working closely, a man with extensive musical knowledge and a vast literary culture, at the Teatro de la Zarzuela de The mother invites to eat, my second operatic libretto for Luis de Pablo, of whom Gustavo had previously performed the absolute premiere of the version represented by one of the most important vocal works of the Bilbao composer, Evening of poets.
I have spoken of my first contacts with Gustavo Tambascio, who have been frequent, stimulating and infallibly sparkling for the last twenty years, but what could not be reflected here, due to lack of space, the variety and richness of their innumerable stagings, in the ones that always shone (even in those that were not entirely well resolved due to budget constraints or limitations), their plastic talent, their narrative power, the fantasy of their occurrences. And all this having a very broad record, ranging from a successful montage of the Broadway musical The man from La Mancha, interpreted by Paloma San Basilio and José Sacristán, to his beloved repertoire of baroque and court opera, in which he covered from Lully to Durón, Literes or Nebra, from Gluck to Handel, without forgetting the zarzuela, which he adored with cause .
It shone for its plastic talent, its narrative power and the fantasy of its occurrences
I want to finish evoking the last theatrical memories that I keep of him as a spectator. His formidable work of dramatic explanation of The crazy of the balconies, a beautiful lyric text by Mario Vargas Llosa, at the Teatro Español (2014), with a masterly performance by Sacristán, a risky effort to endow a somewhat rigid and discursive opera with vivacity The emperor of Atlantis by Viktor Ullmann (Teatro Real, June 2016), and especially his long-standing determination to defend the theater of Franco-Argentinian Copi on stage, author who obsessed and understood him perfectly. The assembly of The fridge (I frigo), fulgurant monologue that interpreted another multifaceted one, Enrique Viana, in the Teatros del Canal (2017), had the absurd grace and the descocado daring that the original text demands. My congratulatory greeting behind the scenes, at the end of the performance, is the last personal image that I must always keep of this great passionate of the theater, which he toured until the last day with the eager desire, full of humor and intelligence, which he put into his life and in his realizations.