29 Apr 2008

"Maria de Buenos Aires" turns 40

In the present moment, Apr 2008

The coming 8 May 2008 marks 40 years of the première of "Maria de Buenos Aires", an operita work of Astor Piazzolla in collaboration with the poet Horacio Ferrer that became known around the world.

It is a surrealistic song cycle-like story told in 2 parts, recounting the life and death of Maria, who came from the slums of Buenos Aires to the city, fell to the seduction of tango and became a streetwalker. After her death, Maria was condemned to hell - of the city of Buenos Aires itself. Her shadow wanders through Avenida Corrientes, the epicenter of cinemas and theatres in Buenos Aires.

"Maria de Buenos Aires" was the first collaborative work between Piazzolla and Ferrer, the start of a partnership that left compositions from "Balada para un loco" to "Chiquilín de Bachín", "El Gordo Triste", "La ultima Grela" and many others.

The operita premièred on 8 May 1968 in the Sala Planeta, located at the streets Suipacha and Paraguay in the microcentro of Buenos Aires, with Piazzolla (bandonenon) and Ferrer (narrator): sang by Amelita Baltar and Hector de Rosas, Hugo Baralis and Antonio Agri (violins), Nestor Panik (viola), Victor Pontino (cello), Kicho Diaz (bass), Tito Bisio (vibes), Cacho Tirao (guitar) and Arturo Schneider (flute).

The operita was released in September of the same year under the recording label Trova (LP Trova TL-20/2).

It has been reported that Maria de Buenos Aires will form part of the next season of the Colon Theater, which herself will turn a century old this year.

The above has been partially sourced and translated from the publication "La Portena Tango", Buenos Aires, Issue No.45, April 2008.

Writer´s notes:
1. During his lifetime, Piazzolla struggled for recognition for his avant garde creations to be regarded as tango by the country that gave birth to him and his music. The acceptance came perhaps slowly, and not until his works shot to fame overseas before this land took their prodigal son to their embrace. Maria de Buenos Aires was one of the key works that led to his resounding success around the world, that came to know of Astor Piazzolla and tango.

2. Since my arrival in Buenos Aires almost a year ago, the grand Theater Colon has been stubbornly barracaded behind scaffoldings for renovation works.

I heard that the reopening of Theater Colon is scheduled for May 2008! Although this remains to be seen. Renovation works of heritage structures can be notoriously tricky to manage.

3. The Trova re-issue is a double CD 5013 & 5014 (1993, Argentina).

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