Nacho Cano – The Pereyra Theatre will be the temple of live music in Ibiza
Words: María Perez
Translation: Katy Hastings
Photography: Jordi Cervera
September 10, 2023
The new Teatro Pereyra is finally almost a reality. After years of building work and countless complications, its promoters hope to open it in November: “It’s imminent, the stress is coming in two months”. The musician, producer and composer Nacho Cano arrives at the terrace of the Can Pau restaurant where we do the interview, accompanied by Marta Hermida, his partner, a Sevillian who has lived all over the world and came from Madrid to Ibiza four years ago, when the businessman Pedro Matutes, co-owner of the historic building, put Nacho in charge of the artistic direction of the project: “she is more involved in the day-to-day work and the implementation of all the technical aspects”.
The works have lasted more than 15 years, with prolonged stoppages due to issues such as the discovery of archaeological remains, but the idea of recovering all the splendour of a building that was the epicentre of Ibiza’s cultural life until the Civil War goes back even further. Eric-Jan Harmsen, former manager of the theatre’s café-concert from the 1990s until its closure in 2018, went to see Nacho Cano’s musical ‘Hoy no me puedo levantar’ in 2005 and began to think about it. Nacho states categorically: “It pisses me off when people don’t respect the spirit that made something great, that’s why I’ve been talking to Eric from the beginning”. On the controversial closure of the café, although he does not go into details, he claims to have been very aware of it, not in vain, he says, “I have opened and closed the Pereyra many times”.
The former member of Mecano is enthusiastic about this project. “The Pereyra Theatre is going to be a revolution at all levels. The value of the work is many millions of euros, there are a series of hydraulic platforms to have different levels and stage capacities. There will be live music every night in summer and almost every night in winter. It will be the temple of live music in Ibiza”. The idea is to create a multi-purpose space that offers many different events and shows. In summer, the main room will host a Musical Dinner Show every night with a show by Nacho Cano entitled (“for the moment”, he points out) “Ibiza Hippy Heaven, the history of Ibiza told in songs, through the musical evolution from rock to techno”. They are also developing a carefully selected gastronomic offer with Eduard Bosch, former head chef at El Bulli, and industrial designer Luki Huber, another essential figure in Ferran Adrià’s famous restaurant. In winter, the café theatre will be open almost every day with a variety of events including classical music, jazz, silent film screenings accompanied by piano, and a flamenco week. Obviously, there will also be groups from the island and international artists, taking advantage of Nacho’s extensive agenda: “I always say that I have never invited anyone to Ibiza, no one in the world, including presidents of countries or very famous artists, who have said no to me”.
The success of the project seems assured: “Right now there is a winter audience in Ibiza with a very high cultural, social and purchasing level… In addition, we have a wonderful strategic location, very well connected to major capitals with direct flights and the possibilities of a theatre with 48 private boxes are incredible. This is an experience that is currently lacking in Ibiza”. He adds: “It is a unique space, with a brutal historical background”. The Pereyra, a building declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, was built in 1898 thanks to the initiative of the merchant Josep Tarrés Espinal, the businessman Abel Matutes Torres, great-grandfather of Pedro Matutes, and Commander Pereyra, after whom it is named.
Right now, Nacho Cano lives halfway between Ibiza and Madrid, where more than 150,000 spectators have enjoyed his musical ‘Malinche’, to which he has dedicated 12 years of work and which tells the story of miscegenation with an impressive staging with lakes, waterfalls and a 4-storey pyramid on the largest stage in Europe. His love affair with the island dates back to 1982, when he first came to play in Ku with Mecano: “A stage with a swimming pool and a grandstand with 300 people, with naked girls… I was amazed”. He immediately asked where he could buy a house and was told that a building was going to be built in Marina Botafoch, where there was absolutely nothing at the time, except Pacha. When shown the plans, he replied: “Then give me two floors”. Later, in 1998, he would buy a huge villa in the north of the island, his favourite place in Ibiza. “I definitely see myself retiring here, in fact, that’s what I’m doing, the thing is that in my retirement I’m going to fight a few. And he goes into what makes Ibiza so special: “I think it’s an island that allows you to set the pace you want to take, in Ibiza you can take the most frenetic pace or totally isolate yourself from the world and I think this is the only place in the world that has that, and with quality of life”.
The artist and entrepreneur is about to fulfil another of his dreams in charge of this venue that promises to revolutionise culture on the island: “There is such a thirst for Pereyra…we talked about it a lot with Pedro and Marta, but I think it’s going to surpass what they think”.