Out of the Wings

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El concierto de San Ovidio (1962), Antonio Buero Vallejo


The play is made up of three acts.

  • act 1 takes place in the Hospital of the Three Hundred and in Valindin’s house
  • act 2 begins outside the steps of the Hospital and moves to the café where the orchestra perform
  • act 3 begins in the Hospital of the Three Hundred and moves firstly to Valindin’s house, then to the café and the streets around it. It ends in Valentin Haüy’s house as he recalls the past

The action in the play takes place in a number of different locations – namely Valindin’s house, the Hospital of the Three Hundred, the café where the orchestra play, and finally Valentin Haüy’s residence. Most of the stage area is used to represent these locations at various points of the play. The immediate foreground of the stage represents the street.

The Hospital of the Three Hundred is described as being opulent, with blue curtains decorated with the French emblem of the fleur-de-lis set at the back of the stage.

When the stage represents Valindin’s living room, a door at the back leads outside. A door on the right leads to Valindin and Adriana’s bedroom. To the right of the room there is a small table with a jewellery box, wine and drinking glasses. Seats are scattered about. This room is described as a living room befitting a comfortably-off bourgeois couple. There is a door to the left corner that leads to the practice room for the musicians.

For the café, seats and tables are required. Some of the tables look rudimentary, others are more elaborate, with curved legs and engravings. A copper chandelier hangs from the roof with spaces for candles in it.

The stage inside the café from which the members of the orchestra will perform is situated at the back of the actual stage, in the centre. It is described as being around two metres high and three across. To the right of this stands a raised platform from which the singer (Gilberto) will perform and sit on a wooden throne that looks like a peacock – with the peacock’s large feathers making up the back of the throne. This platform is separated from the rest of the orchestra’s stage by small steps that split the orchestra stage. The musicians of the orchestra sit on two levels. The lower level accommodates two violinists, the higher seats two more violinists and the cellist. There are music stands with music on them.

The murder of Valindin in act 3 takes place in the dark.


The allegro and adagio from the third movement of Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in G Minor, op. 6 no. 8 (Christmas Concerto) are heard during the play. The adagio has been described as the character David’s leitmotif (Dixon 1996: 50).

Gilberto sings a song during the orchestra’s performance at the Fair, entitled La Pastora Corina (Corina the Shepherdess). Published Spanish versions of the play include the musical score for La Pastora Corina, written by R. Rodriguez Albert.

  • Dixon, Victor. 1996. ‘ “Pero todo partió de allí …” El concierto de San Ovidio a través del prisma de su epílogo’. In El teatro de Buero Vallejo: homenaje del hispanismo británico e irlandés, eds. Victor Dixon and David Johnston, pp. 29-56. Liverpool, Liverpool University Press (in Spanish)

Cast number
Minimum Maximum
14 males 14 males
6 females 9 females
20 (total) 23 (total)
Cast information
Female role doubling is possible because the two nuns accompanying the Prioress could also perform the roles of two of the girls in the café
  • LUIS MARIA VALINDIN, Businessman
  • PRIORESS, Head of the Hospital of the Three Hundred
  • SISTER LUCIA, Assistant to the Prioress
  • SISTER ANDREA, Assistant to the Prioress
  • LUCAS, An old blind man with grey hair
  • DONATO, Blind young man, not yet seventeen years old
  • NAZARIO, Blind, large and well-rounded with big hands and a round face
  • ELIAS, Thin, blind with closed eyelids. He never smiles.
  • GILBERTO, Around forty years old with a squint. Blind and acts like a child
  • DAVID, Blind, around thirty-five years old, pale and thin
  • ADRIANA, Valindin’s lover
  • CATALINA, Maid
  • IRENEO BERNIER, Handyman
  • LATOUCHE, Chief of Police
  • DUBOIS, Policeman
  • BOURGEOIS WOMAN, Member of the audience in the café
  • GIRL 1, Member of the audience in the café
  • GIRL 2, Member of the audience in the café
  • GIRL 3, Member of the audience in the café
  • DANDY, Member of the audience in the café
  • BOURGEOIS MAN, Member of the audience in the café

Entry written by Gwynneth Dowling. Last updated on 9 May 2012.

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