Photo Journal: Astor Piazzolla's 'Operita de Tango,' from David Parsons Dance and Gotham Chamber Opera

Classic Arts News   Photo Journal: Astor Piazzolla's 'Operita de Tango,' from David Parsons Dance and Gotham Chamber Opera
Astor Piazzolla, the Argentine composer and musician who made the music of tango into high art, wrote a single opera. Mar‹a de Buenos Aires, which the composer described as an "operita de tango" (a little tango opera), uses sung melody, spoken dialogue and dance to tell the story of a woman who spends her short life as a leading light of the Argentine capital's bars and bordellos — and who, after her death, wanders the city's streets as a sort of guardian angel.

Tonight, a new production of Mar‹a (of which we offer photos below) by the renowned company Parsons Dance opens Gotham Chamber Opera's 2007-08 season. Choreographer David Parsons directs the staging; his co-choreographer is Pablo Pugliese, scion of one of Argentina's most famous tango families.

Contralto Nicole Piccolomini, a recent graduate of Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts and The Juilliard School, plays Maria; bass-baritone Ricardo Herrera takes the various sung male roles, referred to collectively in the score as "Porteê±o" (which means someone from Buenos Aires). In one of many allegorical elements in the work, the narrator is called "El Duende," the Spanish term for powerful artistic inspiration; the role is played here by Diego Arciniegas, the artistic director of Boston Publick Theater. Gotham Chamber Opera artistic director Neal Goren conducts.

Mar‹a de Buenos Aires, runs tonight, Friday and Saturday (September 28 and 29) at New&nbspYork University's Skirball Center on Washington Square South in Manhattan. Tickets and information are available at

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All photos by Richard Termine.

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