Her・Story: Astor PIAZZOLLA's - María de Buenos Aire
Written by LIN Ying Hsuan
María de Buenos Aires, co-written by revolutionary tango composer Astor PIAZZOLLA and renowned poet Horacio FERRER in 1968, is a tango opera that tells the life story of María through poetry and music. A revival of this timeless classic will be staged at Weiwuying, preserving the original spirit while breathing new life into an enticing classic.
Among notable musical and literary works, many depict women's lives or embody the female perspective, such as FLAUBERT's Madame Bovary, MAUPASSANT's Une Vie, MOZART's Così fan tutte, and PUCCINI's Turandot, etc. María de Buenos Aires is a surreal song and dance masterpiece that presents María's tumultuous life through flashbacks and poetry. Due to its poetic features, María de Buenos Aires is also a metaphor for the rise and fall of Argentina and the thwarted development of tango at the time.
As a representation of social phenomena, the compelling female character adds extra layers to the operatic form. As María de Buenos Aires incorporates modern dance and poetry, song and dance evenly underpin the performance. Born in the slums of Buenos Aires, María fell into prostitution due to tango and died ill and impoverished. When the madam and thieves contemptuously remark on her death at her funeral, we see the wrongful judgment of women by society. As Jean-Paul Sartre put it, "Those who torture another strives to destroy the humanity of their kind, and consequently, destroys their own." Such a destructive tendency calls for the ongoing strive toward gender equality and the drive to understand the self, the other, and cultures.
The Confucian Analects illustrates that poetry is not only inspiring and observant, but it also can bring harmony, lead people away from disorder, and imbue tactful remonstration. María de Buenos Aires's poetic text streams and shifts between different personas, grants the operatic work richness and musicality, and injects a tango-like rhythm. At the end of the performance, we witness María's reincarnation from a forsaken prostitute to a saintly woman. The depiction of a woman who dares to love, struggles for freedom, and strives for the life she desires is the most important and profound idea of María de Buenos Aires.
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