Experienced musical theater actor -he has starred in, among others, 'Les miserables'- the Argentinian Guido Balzaretti takes on the role of Rob, the protagonist of 'The Doctor', in this new version of the staging that adapts the famous novel by Noah Gordon, highly successful since he started walking again in December 2021, after the lapse caused by the outbreak of the pandemic. For the performer, who sees in the genre the best way to achieve "fullness" in his job, this musical demonstrates the good health of a genre "that we are increasingly appropriating more in Spain."
Do you remember how the proposal to embody Rob came to you and what was your reaction?
I was in Buenos Aires doing another show and Ignasi Vidal contacted me, with whom I had already worked on 'Les miserables', and told me that he was going to direct the new version of 'El doctor'.
We started chatting and little by little we reached an agreement, also with Dario Regattieri, the executive producer, and I began to delve a little into the book, which I had not read until then, although I had seen the previous version of the musical. Thus, almost without realizing it, I was in Madrid enjoying this material.
What about Rob? What particularities does he have compared to other leading roles he has played?
It's the hero's journey. The peculiarity of this character is that what drives him to go after what he believes, desires and dreams of is at the same time the shadow in his life. The gift to foresee death is something that at first generates a lot of fear, however, it is what drives him later to discover his true vocation and put an end to his life. It is the light and shadow of the gift of him.
The musical returned to the stage in December 2021 with a new version and a new cast after the break caused by the pandemic. What did it mean for you to meet the public again after the stoppage of the pandemic?
The pandemic was an absolute shock for everyone, and for the performing arts in particular. There is something about the theatrical exercise, about being on stage every day, that any break, a week without the show, is then a challenge to return to it because the material is very demanding and requires almost absolute perseverance. Imagine what it was like to stop for so many months! Without a doubt, it was something very difficult for everyone, but I think that the work and trade of the actor was resignified, of being there every day, and without a doubt also that of the public as a spectator. There was a lot of desire to see live shows.
What do you think is the most complicated moment of the montage and your own?
For the montage I think that on a musical level there is a very complex moment in which almost all the characters are making a score, which requires a very great vocal and musical accuracy. It's quite an epic moment. And for me, perhaps the climax of the character, the moment in which he makes that great anatomical discovery, in which, going against all the rules imposed by religion, he decides to open that body and finds a great surprise.
How and in what sense do you think the montage has matured function after function?
There is nothing like repetition! We do many functions per week and I always say that it is like fertile ground. Far from falling into mechanization, one takes hold and can build on it. And besides, new things are always being discovered every day. It's very interesting when someone comes doing a scene a hundred times and suddenly he sings something to him, you realize that he's like that for a reason. That has happened to me with 'The doctor'.
What about Guido in Rob -beyond the voice-?
I think there is a certainty that is somewhat similar to Guido's perseverance, to give value to a vocation and make it grow. It is very inspiring for me to observe and experience Rob from the inside. We feed each other.
He has been involved in musicals for more than a dozen years, work that he has also combined with performances in feature films and series. What do you think the musical genre allows you that you don't have in other types of performances?
I think that this ease of being able to deploy so many areas at the same time: interpreting, singing and also on a physical level, building moments on a choreographic level. It makes me feel very full. I think that musical theater has that characteristic for the performers: fullness; a material of these characteristics is rarely found. There is something about this genre that is very unique, and I love it, although each field has its strengths and I think it is always enjoyable.
Is it the genre that needs a greater demand or dedication on the part of the interpreter?
I think they all require enormous involvement, but the truth is that the musical has the characteristic that it must work like a Swiss watch. It must be a perfect mechanism at a technical level so that the creative can see the light and focus on what is being told. It is a genre that is getting stronger in Spain and in the world in general. It was considered exclusive to the United States, which is like a Mecca and where it was born and evolved, but now we are appropriating it more and more and 'The Doctor' is a clear example. It is an original material composed by Iván Macías, an Andalusian, adapted by Félix Amador, this time directed by Ignasi Vidal, and of Spanish production. I think it's a good time for musical theater.
How would you encourage a person from Valladolid to go to the Calderón Theater to see the show?
To this day it is the biggest show on tour in Spain and having it close to home is a great opportunity. People have a great connection with Noah Gordon's novel, with the book, even with the movie as well. I think that seeing this adapted version of this award-winning musical in a theater as wonderful as the Calderón is a great opportunity. We have been going through very difficult times lately. The world has lived closely a pandemic that put us on the brink of the abyss. A topic as taboo as health and death, we live it very closely and I think this material has been redefined. Hopefully people can come to enjoy it and value it! I think she will leave very satisfied and inspired. 'The doctor' redefines life.
Noah Gordon, the author of the novel, died last November. Do you conceive each function as a tribute?
Definitely!. And when his son Michael is in the audience you can't imagine it; he is very impressive. He was very involved in the whole process and was a lover of the musical. Going out to defend it every day is a challenge and an honor, without a doubt.