Liebestod El olor a sangre no se me quita de los ojos Juan Belmonte

History/ies of theatre III

  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2021 archive

Angélica Liddell

Gent - Madrid / Created in 2021

Bringing together Andalusian torero Juan Belmonte and the music of Richard Wagner, Angélica Liddell gives voice to the sacred origins of her theatre.

Liebestod - El olor a sangre no se me quita de los ojos - Juan Belmonte, Angélica Liddell, 2021 © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


By bringing together revolutionary Andalusian torero Juan Belmonte and the music of Richard Wagner, Angélica Liddell gives voice to the origins of her theatre, to what she calls “a history of theatre which is the history of my roots, of my depths.” More than an art, bullfighting was for Juan Belmonte a spiritual exercise, elevating emotions into an infinite space, into eternity. A ceaseless research for tragic beauty that is at work in Liebestod, an attempt to communicate directly with the sacred, as much in the work of the bullfighter as on Angélica Liddell’s stage. “I’m always looking for the sublime moment, for transfiguration, for overflowing enthusiasm, for radiance and light, this lyrical transport which takes place when one loves.Liebestod is therefore much more than an epic of bullfighting; the show becomes an offering, “it’s the work of a woman in love, a mortal woman. It’s also an immolation.”

Juan Belmonte (1892-1962), the "divine stutterer" from the Triana district of Seville, is considered the creator of spiritual toreo. He lived obsessed with the death of Joselito in the bullring. His phrase "We fight as we are" sums up his philosophy. His suicide tells us about the feeling of "no longer being able to live" that Emil Cioran describes in On the Heights of Despair.

The title of the climax of Richard Wagner’s 1865 opera Tristan und Isolde, Liebestod literally means “love death.” The composer wrote the music to his own poetic rewriting of the medieval Celtic legend. The word liebestod refers to the theme of the eroticism of death or of “love till death,” with the idea that the consummation of the couple’s love takes place in death, or even after it.


With Angélica Liddell, Borja López, Gumersindo Puche, Palestina de los Reyes, Patrice Le Rouzic and the participation of extras

Text, direction, stage design, costumes Angélica Liddell
Lights Mark Van Denesse
Sound Antonio Navarro
Costumes Justo Algaba
Assistant direction Borja López

Stage management Nicolas Guy, Michel Chevallier
Lights management Sander Michiels
Stage machinery Eddy De Schepper
Set and costumes design Ateliers NTGent
Dramaturgy of the project Histoire(s) du théâtre Carmen Hornbostel (NTGent)
Production management Greet Prové, Chris Vanneste, Els Jacxsens (NTGent)
Communication and press Saité Ye et Génica Montalbano
Production direction Atra Bilis, Gumersindo Puche
Translation in french for the surtitles Christilla Vasserot
Translation in english for the surtitles Snapdragon


Production NTGent, Atra Bilis
Co-production Festival d'Avignon, Tandem Scène nationale Arras-Douai, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt)
With the support of the Onda - Office national de diffusion artistique

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Press conference - 6 July

  • Press conference
With Christiane Jatahy, Grégoire Korganow, Joanne Leighton, Agnès Troly and Angélica Liddell

The 2021 archive