PEDRO GIRALDO, MATADOR AND AFICIONADO

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Pedro Giraldo mementos at the altar of the Parroquia de San Sebastian for his
funeral mass, celebrated 19 June 2024/Rose Maramba

 

OBITUARY

 

Bullfighter Pedro Giraldo, husband of New York author, photographer and GUIDEPOST senior writer Muriel Feiner, died at the age of 77 from multiple organ failure following a complicated surgery.

The loss of this beloved matador and cradle-to-grave bullfighting aficionado is keenly felt in the world of Spanish tauromaquia.

Pedro/Muriel Feiner

Pedro was born in Cisneros, the province of Palencia, but moved to Seville at an early age where he found work in a restaurant frequented by bullfighters. This auspicious turn of events transformed his childhood dream into a passion for life. At 14 all he could really do was the capea where the wannabe matador would lure the calf or steer with his capote (cape) into charging towards him, and then maneuver the beast around the ring in a series of passes.

Traje de luces/Dennis Jarvis, CC BY-SA2.0

But by 1968, when Pedro was 21, he put on a traje de luces for the first time,the definitive bullfighter’s magnificent “suit of lights”, a richly beaded and embroidered ensemble consisting of a short jacket, a waistcoat, and knee-length skintight silk and satin trousers. It was his debut as a bullfighter.

However, it was not until 1973 that Pedro performed with picadors, those bullfighters who jab the bull with a sharp spear to anger and rile him up. The picadors, along with the bandirilleros, are a bullfighter’s cuadrilla (support crew).

In May 1976, at the monumental Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas in Madrid, Spain’s largest bullring, where he had been countless afternoons as a bullfight aficionado, Pedro gave such a masterly performance before a novillo, a young bull, that he received a “white” ovation from the spectators who manifested their rousing approval waving their white kerchiefs in a bullfighting fashion.

Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas/Ramon Duran, CC BY2.0

The President, who is the ultimate authority in the bullring, heeded the acclaim and granted Pedro a bull’s ear, bulls’ ears being the bullfighters’ trophies.  In the bullfighting lingo, Pedro cortó una oreja (he cut an ear). A great honor.

That memorable afternoon in Las Ventas was the prelude to Pedro’s alternativa on 2 September 1978 at the Feria de San Antolin de Palencia, in his hometown. At this matador’s “graduation ceremony”, Pedro finally obtained the longed-for, much-awaited status of Matador the Toros, the highest rank in the bullfighting hierarchy. His sponsors were no less than the demi-gods of tuaromaquia, El Viti and Palomo Linares.

Once again, Pedro received a clamorous ovation from the spectators.

He will always be a matador and a diehard bullfighting aficionado.