La prensa

Mexico’s New Wave Conquers Madrid

Author: Mark Schwarz
Created: 28 June, 2013
Updated: 13 September, 2023
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2 min read

Diego Silveti.
Diego Silveti.

Madrid’s San Isidro fair is to toreo as the Tour de France is to bicycling, or Cannes to the film industry; the attentions of the cranky, demanding, fickle denizens of Las Ventas del Espiritu Santo—the cathedral/torture chamber/primera plaza of the taurine world—are fixed for more than a month on the actions of those aspiring princes and charlatans, prodigal sons and faded flames who aspire to the glory and riches to be had if Madrid finds favor—it is the God given right of Madrid to ordain the new order, banish the unworthy; reclaim the lost.

For 41 years, Madrid has not deemed a single Mexican torero worthy of it’s greatest prize—leaving the sand of the venerable ring on the shoulders of the enraptured crowd, the coronation of taurine royalty. Eloy Cavazos, diminutive bull tamer from Monterrey, was the last to achieve the distinction, in 1972, and he will hold that honor at least another year. But the drought was nearly ended by five of the leading stars of Mexican toreo’s “new wave” — Diego Silveti, Arturo Saldivar, Joselito Adame, Sergio Flores, and Juan Pablo Sanchez. Silveti, Saldivar and Adame each cut an ear from one of their bulls, and most of the taurine press agreed that Flores, who was gored by the bull of his confirmacion—the official recognition of his status as a matador by the king makers of the capital city—offered some of the finest, most classical work of the entire 34 day odyssey and should have taken a prize as well. Only Sanchez, probably the most technically savvy of the group, was, ironically, left out in the cold by his scientifically precise, but ultimately, soul-less, action with the generally good set of bulls from the Alcurrucen ranch.

Diego Silveti, whose physique and profile are heartbreaking recreations of his father, David, Mexico’s last matador/deity, defied a hail storm of biblical proportions to take his prize, while Saldivar, the cognoscenti’s favorite son, abandoned his normally classic and reposed style in favor of a blood and guts attack that demanded an reward for his resolved, if nothing else.

But it is Adame who especially impressed the madrile-nos with his quiet, self-possessed demeanor and confidence, his ability to understand and dominate the particular challenges his bulls presented, and the variety and quality of his work with the large capote and smaller muleta. Appearing twice, once as a substitute for another of Madrid’s new crushes, Ivan Fandino, Adame could easily have gone out on shoulders both times if not for the recurring crucible of his faulty sword work; two attempts on each bull left him with one ear each day instead of a possible four, or even five. Madrid has been flirting with Adame since he became a full matador in September of 2007, and What Madrid will not soon forget, however, is determination to succeed at the highest level and his ability to, quietly walk the walk.

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