The success of “Maria de Buenos Aires”, tango operetta by Astor Piazzolla, in Hungary
At the International Opera Festival in Miskolc – Bartók Plusz Operafesztivál – MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES was performed, a “tango-operita” in English with Hungarian subtitles. The piece of art is a hymn to passion, lust, and supernatural; it is considered one of the most admired works of Astor Piazzolla, inspired and dedicated to an Italian singer, woman friend, in a book by Horacio Ferrer, co-produced by Operaview and Deco Ensemble with Natalie Katsou, a young Greek director.
The performance was an unexpected appeal, sensual, difficult, but especially surreal and even enigmatic for certain observers; however, considering the people involved and the Italian inspiration, it is dedicated, without a doubt, to a hidden attraction.
It is a work in two parts and eight acts each, considered abstract by countless interpretive points of views. There is the angel-black-poet-analyst who sometimes protects Mary, sometimes ignores her; Mary is capable of passing down to the public an interpretive enigma that leaves it open to any state of mind. The original production was precisely this; each interpreter succeeds in offering a performance that entwines with the other. Thus, a work that stimulates sociological imagination and also exhibits the concrete elements to observe a typical Buenos Aires’ “barrio” poor environment. For this purpose the interpretation suits the music of Astor Piazzolla on a stage that also shows a symbol linked to the present: a rain of red female shoes.
All this amalgam was possible through the fusion of a trans-national cast in London, but coming from different cultural experiences from countries such as Greece, Holland, Portugal, Montenegro, Japan …
MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES was performed for the first time in the Colon Theater of the Argentine metropolis in 1968; in the first part, is the scenic transposition of a prostitute in Buenos Aires put in parallel in an irreverent way, desecrating the image of the madonna; the second part, takes place after her death and is referred to as “the shadow of Mary”.
The scenery is a suburb of Buenos Aires where Mary was born, who heading to the center of the city waiting lurking – is attracted to the tango eroticism and she becomes a prostitute.
In the location where she spends time, her death is decided and condemned to live in the brothel-city in the form of a ghost, “shadow” (linking her brothel slang to the poetry of the angels) where she meets: a morally mediocre gnome-poet (that the public called the “black angel”) who plays the aesthetic role from charlatan, who is the narrative voice, appears and disappears, to give way to the “puppeteers” – which he himself controls – and psychoanalysts.
Returning to virginity Mary becomes pregnant through the words of the angel-black poet; this is how Mary would be her. As Wilfredo Pareto would say, only afterwards the work is well-understood and – for those with adequate mental versatility – it becomes an occasion to meditate between religiosity, deviance and pride.
MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES is a piece that for its initial abstract effect attracts attention from the first to the last instant. Therefore, in order to express entirely the concepts presented, the work had to “necessarily” be shown in the duration for which it was produced. However, since it is an abstract work it is as if – in the specific case – the non-passionate of this art are bored. But it is a work for connoisseurs, cultured people and versatile minds.
Interpreters: Béatrice de Larragoiti (Maria), with Leonel Pinheiro (analyst), Bianca Vrcan, Sacha El Masry (dancers), Matthew Wade. In addition, with the art direction of Natalie Katsou: Amarins Wierdsma, Elena Marigomey, Ricardo Gosalbo, Bartosz Glowacki, Rob Luft (musicians), Jemina Robinson (scene), Yainnis Katsaris (collaboration with the scene), Kate Royds (costumes), Sana Zamaguchi (Lights), Ricardo Gosalbo (music), Amelia Sweetland (deputy director). A young and enthusiastic group that even behind the scenes of the National Theater in Miskolc – toasting with a glass of excellent Hungarian wine – received a further dose worthy of appreciation.
I am particularly pleased to have attended the tango opera of Astor Piazzolla MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES.
Rocco Turi, 20 giugno 2017 Miskolc