New Director For Teatro Colón (JSJ)

04/02/2015

New Director For Teatro Colón (JSJ)

In what was a surprise announcement, Teatro Colón director general and artistic director, Pedro Pablo García Caffi issued his resignation, almost 6 years to the day of his appointment and just a month after announcing the 2015 season.

He will be replaced by Darío Lopérfido, director of the Buenos Aires International Festival (FIBA), a biennial festival of drama and cinema.

In a statement García Caffi, who turned 70 last September and was himself appointed following the surprise resignation of then incumbent Horacio Sanguinetti, said he was happy as he had completed his objectives in the post.

Remarkably, according to the statement García Caffi has been one of the longest holders of the post in the history of the Colón. He was reportedly not popular, as people in his position seldom are, especially when cuts are involved and where the workforce is heavily unionised, as in Argentina. He faced several clashes and there were indications of another looming towards the end of last season with the orchestra making its discontent publicly known, especially over salaries, with placards at the start and end of performances.

During his tenure García Caffi oversaw the reopening of the Teatro Colón in 2010 following a four-year closure for renovation, and the rebuilding of the programming, especially for the opera, on which the reputation of the house is primarily based. Numerically the season is about half the now unrealistic 14 works of the ‘glory days’ of the 1960s that some critics would like, and there are significant gaps in terms of titles, but there has still been plenty of interest and some novelties. One feature has been to promote very modern works. He has also directed occasionally, including a well regarded Elektra last year. However, there also appears to have been an over reliance on imported singers (although very few ‘big names’) at the expense of locals.

Lopérfido, 50, began his career as a journalist and brings experience from posts in both national and local government as well as from drama and popular/rock music production. However, he has no apparent experience in the performing arts or classical music.

Lopérfido has said he will continue with the programmes set out for 2015 and 2016, and also will “solidify synergies with different areas of the city government.” What this means isn’t clear but in interviews he has indicated that he wants to broaden the publics for the Colón’s productions. While laudable, there are concerns, expressed by Colón workers among others, that the questionable practice initiated by García Caffi of using the house for popular productions and commercial activities will be expanded, to the detriment of the traditional activities. Indeed in one interview Lopérfido has already indicated that jazz would bring in new audiences.

Time will tell. But there is also the possibility of Lopérfido no longer in the position by the end of the year. A political appointment, with elections coming up and the prospect of a new city mayor, there may be a preferred appointee.

Jonathan Spencer Jones

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