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San Isidro by Miguel Ángel Perera

Category: Art & Culture May 13, 2013
Miguel Ángel Perera. Feria de San Isidro

Miguel Ángel Perera

The festivities of San Isidro are about to begin. Every year, Madrid honours its patron saint with a programme packed full of cultural events that is scheduled to coincide with the world’s number-one  bullfighting festival, starting this afternoon in the Las Ventas Bullring.Up until 1 June, you can make the most of the amazing atmosphere inside and outside the bullring, and enjoy a line-up featuring some of the biggest names in bullfighting. Miguel Ángel Perera will be one of the first matadors to step into the ring on Madrid’s most important holiday, the 15th of May, together with Sebastián Castella and Ángel Teruel (facing Alcurrucén bulls), and on 23 May, with Finito de Córdoba and Morante de la Puebla (fighting Jarandilla bulls). And who better to tell us how it really feels to step out into what he describes as “the world’s premier bullring, the best arena, with the most demanding audience“ than the matador from Extremadura himself. Here’s what he said when I met him.

Miguel Ángel Perera. Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas

Miguel Ángel Perera

How does it feel to take part in the Feria de San Isidro?

It’s a dream come true. It’s the world’s premier bullring. The best arena, with the most demanding audience. Madrid has a tremendous reputation, and it’s absolutely true, but if you can do well in this bullring, it’s also incredibly rewarding. That’s not to say that other bullrings matter less, as each one is important in its own way.

What makes the Las Ventas Bullring so special?

Everything – from its unique and spectacular setting to the bullring itself. As the bullfights go by you can see the rivalry between the bullfighters getting more and more intense. This is the purest essence of the art, in a setting where absolutely nothing is overlooked.

Is it true that even though Madrid audiences have a reputation for being tough, they’re also very appreciative?

Madrid audiences follow every detail of what goes on in the bullring, and just like anywhere else, they have their own favourite bullfighters. But I do think that audiences here can really understand the unique relationship between the bull and the bullfighter. If they see you can handle a complicated bull, they’ll give you credit for it. And when things turn out well, they’re behind you all the way.

Miguel Ángel Perera. Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas

Miguel Ángel Perera at Las Ventas bullring

Is it true that even though Madrid audiences have a reputation for being tough, they’re also very appreciative?

Madridaudiences follow every detail of what goes on in the bullring, and just like anywhere else, they have their own favourite bullfighters. But I do think that audiences here can really understand the unique relationship between the bull and the bullfighter. If they see you can handle a complicated bull, they’ll give you credit for it. And when things turn out well, they’re behind you all the way.

Tell me about your best bullfight in Madrid.

Thankfully, since my debut in Las Ventas, I’ve had some great bullfights. But I must say that the best one in terms of artistry was on 6 June 2008, when I was given the ultimate accolade of being carried out through the main gate on my team’s shoulders. From a personal point of view, the one I’ll always remember is my one-man bullfight against six bulls during the Feria de Otoño that same year. That day I was carried out via the infirmary, as I was severely gored. My most important achievement on that day was being able to cope with a setback, not just winning a trophy.

What are your hopes for the two bullfights you have this year?

I’ll be honest with you: success! I hope the bulls charge and I hope to be able to enjoy the experience as much as I do in the country and in other bullrings. I think my technique is more mature than last year, my capework is longer, and I feel more comfortable fighting au naturel. And I really hope the audience inMadridwill be able to see that.

What do you do on the days before your bullfights in Madrid – do you go for walks, do you hole up in a particular place?

I don’t usually do anything special. I’m a very disciplined person: every day I go to the gym, I go for a run, I do some bullfighting practice, etc. I always say that my home is my haven, that’s where I feel happiest. That’s my special place before and after each bullfight.

Miguel Ángel Perera. Por la Puerta Grande en Las Ventas

Miguel Ángel Perera leaving through the Main Gate at Las Ventas

Your favourite place in Madrid is…

I love just wandering through the streets. I used to live here when I was very young, when all I had was a dream… I never even imagined I would go so far. Those walks around the backstreets and alleys of oldMadridtake me back to childhood.Madridis a city I love.

Lastly, why don’t you take the chance to invite people to come to the bullring and enjoy the fair?

Of course! I know it sounds like a cliché, but the bullfighting festival is a really unique spectacle. Anyone who loves bullfighting can expect to see some really great bullfights. And if you’ve never been to a bullfight, you should definitely come so you’ll be able to know what you’re talking about. You can be certain that everyone will have an opinion. And if it’s a really good day, I’m sure they’ll be back, and that means we’ll have gained more fans. The show’s expensive, I know, and especially nowadays. ButMadridis a really large bullring and some of the seats cost just over five euros. Make the most of this chance to come and enjoy the fair!

 

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