María de Buenos Aires Tango Opera Incorporates Contemporary Dance into Piazzolla's Acclaimed Musical Allure Online Viewing Tickets Available
Weiwuying is continuing to witness the power of opera in the latter half of 2021 with hot box-office sales. Conducted by CHIEN Wen-pin and directed and choreographed by Helen LAI, Weiwuying's production of Astor PIAZZOLLA's classic María de Buenos Aires features outstanding vocalists Jeannie CHIANG and YEH Chan-yu along with music by Circo Ensemble. Tickets sales for the three performances – one each day from September 17 to 19 (Fri. to Sun.) – are almost sold out. Also, for online viewing of the Saturday performance (at 14:30), tickets sales started on September 13 (Mon.) at noon so that all the opera lovers may enjoy the allure of PIAZZOLLA's tango either in Weiwuying's Opera House or via live streaming.
Weiwuying General and Artistic Director CHIEN Wen-pin said, "When Weiwuying established an operational task force in 2015, the first thing we did was sign contracts for two international opera co-productions, opening up the international market through performing arts productions while showing Weiwuying to the world by working with overseas partners. This year is the great master PIAZZOLLA's 100th birthday, so we decided to pay homage to him by putting on our interpretation of his only opera, María de Buenos Aires. We are doing it in the form of operetta. Compared with other types of performances, it has a stronger sense of improvisation: changes in the performance will occur based on what is happening. Incorporating classic standards with improvisation will be a new experience and challenge for me as a conductor."
Helen LAI, hailed as the "greatest Chinese choreographer" by Cloud Gate founder LIN Hwai-min and known as the "Mother of Hong Kong's contemporary dance," is the stage director and choreographer, assisting online (from Hong Kong) to Taiwanese dancer CHEN Qiu-yin with rehearsals. Also, this will be soprano Jeannie CHIANG and baritone YEH Chan-yu's first collaboration with Weiwuying on an opera, and their exceptional techniques are sure to stun the audience. The narrator, El Duende, is played by Ricardo CANZIO, retired professor of musicology at National Taiwan University and a native of Buenos Aires. He also provided any needed language guidance in helping the performers present the appeal of Latin American Spanish.
Noteworthy is the youth of the production team in charge of creating a significant visual aspect: set designer CHEN Wei-kuang, costume designer FAN Huai-chih, and lighting designer KUO Chien-hao. Conductor CHIEN Wen-pin will lead Circo Ensemble, one of Taiwan's few musical ensembles, to use the bandoneon in creating the nostalgic atmosphere of a small Argentine tavern. The piece is a blend of tango music, operetta, and contemporary dance, with six dancers giving interpretations of Maria's different aspects. Coupled with the dazzling lighting effects, it showcases a world where reality and fantasy come together.
María de Buenos Aires introduces the format of flashbacks. It describes Maria's birth into a low society in Buenos Aires by the design of God while drunk. Her exceptional voice attracts numerous lovers, but each relationship causes her pain. Unlike Mary, the Holy Mother of God (whose name is Maria in Spanish), this Maria is entirely forgotten by God and eventually dies. El Duende (a spirit) takes pity on her and brings her back to the world of the living, allowing her to transform from a miserable prostitute forgotten by society into a woman as pure and holy as the Queen of Heaven.
If you are interested in the bandoneon, Weiwuying has created a DIY wine-box accordion, especially for María de Buenos Aires. The two sides of this simple five-key, ten-note instrument are made of recycled wood from red wine boxes.
For more information: