martes, diciembre 29, 2015

Iberoamerican summit of opera directors in search of cooperation

            For the first time Buenos Aires is the city which receives a high number of opera directors from all over Latinamerican and Spain with the specific plan to articulate cooperation and reciprocity. It is a worldwide trend and a good one, for it lowers costs and permits partnerships that bring worthwhile productions to different audiences.

            The host  and President of Ópera Latinoamérica is the current Colón Director, Darío Lopérfido, and this is the seventh summit of the organisation founded at the initiative of the longtime General Director of the Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile, Andrés Rodríguez. He was of course present, but seven others from  Latinamerica and four from Spain were also there in the ample table prerpared for the press conference at the Colón CETC (Center for Experimentation).

            The other seven from Latinamerica: Ramiro Osorio Fonseca (Director General of the Teatro Mayor Santo Domingo at Bogotá; Alejandra Martí (Development Manager of the Teatro Municipal de Santiago); Lourdes Ambriz (Artistic Director of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, México DF); Daniela Bouret Vespa (General Director of the Teatro Solís, Montevideo); Alejandro Chacón (Artistic Director of the Ópera de Colombia, Bogotá); Gerardo Grieco (General Director of the Auditorio Nacional del Sodre, Montevideo); and Joao Guilherme Ripper (President of the Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro).

            From Spain: Juan Carlos Matellanes (President of ABAO-OLBE of Bilbao); Joan Matabosch (Artistic Director of the Teatro Real, Madrid); José Luis Rivero (Artistic Director of the Auditorio de Tenerife, Canary Islands); and Jorge Culla (Administrator of the Teatro Auditorio de Escorial).

            The members of the Comisión Directiva of O.L.A. (Ópera Latinoamérica) for 2015-18 are: Lopérfido, President; Rodríguez, First Vicepresident; Osorio, Second Vicepresident; and Martí, Executive Secretary. Apart from those already mentioned, here are the other members and associates: theatres in Argentina: Argentino de La Plata; El Círculo de Rosario; del Libertador San Martín, Córdoba (I believe that Buenos Aires Lírica and Juventus Lyrica would do well to be associates); in Brazil: Municipal of San Pablo, Amazonas of Manaus, Festival Amazonas de Ópera, San Pedro; Chile: Teatro del Lago (close to Puerto Montt); Ecuador: Nacional Sucre; Perú: Gran Teatro Nacional, Asociación Cultural Romanza, Festival Alejandro Granda, Prolírica. There´s one glaring absence: Venezuela, although it has a great theatre, the Teresa Carreño.

            Lopérfido gave the main talk, in which he clearly presented the purposes of the institution and the progress they hoped to accomplish  in two days of deliberation (Saturday and Sunday). And as he mentioned projects he gave some indications of the Colón opera season for 2017. It would include a coproduction with Madrid and London´s Covent Garden of "Das Liebesverbot" ("Love´s Forbiddance"), Wagner´s first opera, written in 1836 on a comedy by Shakespeare, "Measure for Measure"; it would of course be a première.  There´s also a Latinamerican project to produce Weill´s "Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny" ("Greatness and Fall of the City of Mahagonny"). And there are plans for two repertoire operas, Verdi´s "Aida" and Strauss´ "Der Rosenkavalier". There could also be an interesting première, Villalobos´ "Yerma" on García Lorca. 

            There is also a training aspect in O.L.A.´s plans: classes, seminars, lectures. And there are contacts with Opera America and Opera Europe. Technical developments such as web platforms and social nets. Promotion of chamber opera. Search for new audiences.

            Osorio stressed the importance of having founded Teatro Mayor Santo Domingo in a decayed section of Bogotá, and how a brand new theatre has changed the borough positively. (In a way, our Usina del Arte accomplished the same purpose).

            The sessions on Saturday will be dedicated to projects of coproductions. The same subject will continue on Sunday, but leading to final conclusions.

            There have been some collaborations, especially with Chile, in recent seasons, but the trend should be intensified. E.g., Lopérfido mentioned that if in any theatre they want to present the ballet "Sylvia", they should have in mind that the Colón has the costumes and they can be rented. And there has been a recent interchange between the Solís and the Colón.

            Naturally, the financial circumstances in each country have a lot to do with the destiny of a season, and the Colón or the Argentino have had recurrent crises for such reasons. But it happens elsewhere: Valencia has great problems, New York City Opera closed... Opera is costly, and if you share between three theatres a U$S 300.000 production, it costs a third for each concern.

            However, a final reflexion: each theatre has its history and seasons must be programmed on solid artistic reasons; by all means, find a way to cut costs, but don´t sacrifice the proper planning: do the operas that are really needed, and if you can find a way to share it, alright, but otherwise, face the music and do it. Priorities are priorities.

For Buenos Aires Herald 

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