History of Argentina in Words, Music and Dance

10/03/2012

ArgentinaArgentina Opera Pampa: La Rural, Buenos Aires. 24.2.2012. (JSJ)

Production:

Direction: Héctor Berra
Technical direction: Juan Carlos Baglieto
Sets/lighting: Juan Carlos Baglieto
Staging: Mabel Pimentel, Oscar Murillo, Juan Carlos Baglieto, Héctor Berra
Choreography: Mabel Pimentel, Oscar Murillo

Cast:

Narrator – Singer: Leandro Falótico
Ballet Brandsen

 

The street vendors. (Photo Opera Pampa)

Don’t be misled by the title – thus isn’t opera as it is usually understood on this site. Rather it is a spectacle, about an hour long, of words, music, song and dance, through which is presented the origins of Argentina and cameos of its early history.

The setting is the La Rural agricultural showground, where livestock have been exhibited since the late 1880s – with a large stage at one end, fronting the ground across which most of the show takes place.

Launched in 2004, Opera Pampa, with script by the writer, director and show empresario Héctor Berra and music by the pianist and folk music composer Lito Vitale, begins in “Andean America” with different dance sequences recalling the peoples of the Argentine northeast. But suddenly the peace is shattered with the thundering of hooves as the Spanish Conquistadores arrive on their thoroughbred horses.

The mood then quickly changes to the streets of an 1810 Buenos Aires, with the cries of the different street vendors – only to give way once again to the birth of the nation and the battles that ensued, both against the Spanish and the Indians of the Pampas. These are characterized by a combination of theatrics and equestrian display, and for example in one scene a carriage is attacked by a group of Indians on horseback and the women occupants taken as prisoners. The horsemanship is outstanding and one can readily sense the menace that such an event would have instilled.

Then again there is a change of mood with songs based on traditional rhythms and dances such as the zamba, evoking consolidation, work and relaxation. Then the show comes to an end with a tribute to the country’s flag and a malambo, aimed to evoke the gallop of the gauchos’ loyal horses, which ultimately are as integral to the show as are the performers.

The production is obviously in Spanish (with no surtitles) but in no way would this detract from a non-Spanish speaker’s following or appreciation of it.

One also has the option not only of attending the show, but to make an “Argentine evening” out of it, with a pre-show reception with empanadas (savoury pasties) and drinks and afterwards a dinner including an asado of traditionally barbecued meats. With excellent quality and service, and of good value, this makes the evening even more memorable.

With more than two thousand performances to its credit, the popularity of Opera Pampa is evident – and it is clear why more than one friend makes a point of taking visitors to it.

Jonathan Spencer Jones

 

Comments

Comments are closed.

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Aldeburgh Festival from 12 – 28 June 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Let’s Dance International Frontiers 2020 from 29 April to 16 May in Leicester __________________________________
  • NEW! Beethoven 250 at London’s Barbican __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera and more in Buenos Aires during 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Beethoven 250 at London’s Southbank Centre __________________________________
  • NEW! Saffron Hall in February – August 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2020 – Gluck’s Paris and Helen __________________________________
  • NEW! Surrey’s Grange Park Opera in 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Leeds Lieder Concert Series 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Usher Hall 2019-2020 Orchestral Season __________________________________
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera in 2019-2020 and New Artistic Director __________________________________
  • UPDATED! ENB in 2019-2020 and Opening of their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Search S&H

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH CHINESE SOPRANO HUI HE __________________________________
  • NEW AND UPDATED! BEST OF 2019 FROM SOME OF OUR REVIEWERS __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR TOM HAMMOND IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Ballet Icons Gala 2020 at the London Coliseum on 26 January __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR HERVÉ NIQUET INTERVIEWED ABOUT GRÉTRY’S RICHARD, COEUR DE LION __________________________________
  • PIANIST JAMES LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • SOPRANO ANGELA GHEORGHIU IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NOW REVIEWED! MATTHEW BOURNE’S ROMEO AND JULIET IN CINEMAS FROM 22 OCTOBER __________________________________
  • REVIEWED! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH LISETTE OROPESA AS SHE RETURNS TO LA OPERA FOR ORFEO ED EURIDICE __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month