Photo Flash: New York City Opera Presents MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES

New York City Opera's 75th-anniversary season opened last night, Monday, 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. In addition to Mondays performance, City Opera will present two additional performances of María de Buenos Aires on October 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.

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.

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.

Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz

Photo Flash: New York City Opera Presents MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES
Jeremias Fors, Catalina Cuervo

Photo Flash: New York City Opera Presents MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES
Jeremias Fors, Catalina Cuervo

Photo Flash: New York City Opera Presents MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES
Catalina Cuervo, Marcel Guzzo

Photo Flash: New York City Opera Presents MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES
Catalina Cuervo, Marcel Guzzo

Photo Flash: New York City Opera Presents MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES
Catalina Cuervo

Photo Flash: New York City Opera Presents MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES
Catalina Cuervo

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