New York City Opera Presents Astor Piazzolla's MARÍA DE BUENOS AIRES
New York City Opera's 75th-anniversary season opens October 22 at (le) Poisson Rouge with a new production of Astor Piazzolla's María de Buenos Aires. Directed by Tomer Zvulun, the production is based on an original concept created as part of The Atlanta Opera Discoveries Series and is presented in cooperation with the Atlanta Opera. Soprano Catalina Cuervo, the world's foremost interpreter of the title role, headlines the all-South American cast under the musical direction of conductor Jorge Parodi. This production is the fourth installment in City Opera's Ópera en Español series. City Opera will present three performances of María de Buenos Aires on October 22 and 26 and November 2 at 7:00 p.m. at (le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleeker St.
María de Buenos Aires is the only theater work of Astor Piazzolla, the composer most known for melding elements of classical and jazz composition with the traditional tango music of his native Argentina, to create the sophisticated, cosmopolitan genre of nuevo tango. With enduring favorites including "Adiós Nonino" and "Libertango" Piazzolla gained international fame and remains one of the most popular composers of the twentieth century. Lyricist Horacio Ferrer skillfully weaves together Catholic symbolism, modern psychology and contemporary urban aesthetics in the libretto of this surreal and deeply metaphorical "tango operita." Its heroine, María, born "one day when God was drunk" descends into a life of depravity and prostitution in the slums of Buenos Aires, only finding redemption and rebirth after her death. The drama is animated by a score steeped in Piazzolla's sultry tango nuevo style that features the bandoneon, an instrument essential to the Argentinian tango tradition.
Director Tomer Zvulun created the intimate production as part of Atlanta Opera's groundbreaking Discoveries Series which brings contemporary and unusual works to alternative performance spaces. Zvulun, who has served as Atlanta Opera's General and Artistic director since 2013, has an international presence as a stage director; his work has been seen on stages including the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas, San Diego, Boston, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Wexford, Buenos Aires Lirica, Tel Aviv, and Wolf Trap. Following an extended, sold-out run in Atlanta, the production was presented in New Orleans and later this season will return to Atlanta to satisfy popular demand.
This production of María de Buenos Aires features the City Opera debut of soprano Catalina Cuervo in the title role. Ms. Cuervo holds the distinction of appearing as María in more productions than any other singer in the opera's history. Howard Reich raved in The Chicago Tribune "Soprano Catalina Cuervo sang María with full-throated passion, her ability to articulate tango rhythm while spinning long, sensuous lines a marvel to behold. Rare is the singer who can walk the line between populist and classical traditions, as Piazzolla asks his vocalists to do throughout 'María,' but Cuervo accomplished this feat seemingly with ease." Appearing with Ms. Cuervo are Uruguayan baritone Marcelo Guzzo as El Payador and Argentinian actor Milton Loayza as El Duende, both of whom have a long history with the piece. The three named characters are joined by two tango dancers Analía Centurión and Jeremías Fors, both of whom have earned international acclaim for championing the dance traditions of their native Argentina.
Jorge Parodi leads the New York City Opera Orchestra. The Argentinian-born conductor's career has spanned the globe with work in companies including Teatro Colón in Argentina, the Volgograd Opera in Russia, the Encuentros Internacionales de Opera in Mexico, the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy in Japan, and the International Vocal Arts Institute in Israel. He also maintains a notable presence in New York with his work at both Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music.
María de Buenos Aires is the fourth installment of City Opera's Ópera en Español series, a multi-season initiative to explore the Spanish-language repertoire and increase engagement New York's Spanish-speaking community. The series launched in 2016 with the New York premiere of Daniel Catán's Florencia en el Amazonas. The American premiere of Antonio Literes' c. 1715 opera Los elementos and the New York premiere of José "Pepe" Martínez's Cruzar la cara de la luna followed in the subsequent two seasons.
City Opera General Director Michael Capasso says: "It is fitting that this milestone season opens with our Ópera en Español offering. As 'The People's Opera' City Opera has always had a focus on works in the language of our audience. In present-day New York, that focus must now include works in Spanish. It is also fitting that we present this work in Greenwich Village, the same neighborhood where the young Piazzolla lived as an impoverished immigrant child, where he was introduced to music, and where his father bought him his first bandoneon. I am honored to welcome this trio of South American artists, who, together with conductor Jorge Parodi will bring an authenticity to this work that we are proud to share with our audience."
New York City Opera presents Astor Piazzolla and Horacio Ferrer's María de Buenos Aires in cooperation with Atlanta Opera for three performances on October 22 and 26 and November 2 at 7:00 p.m. at (le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., New York City.
For tickets to María de Buenos Aires
(le) Poisson Rouge Box Office
Monday-Saturday from 5PM until closing