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Viva Tango Mania

By Margaret Failoni

It’s no secret that the most renowned and loved Argentine export is the by-now-ubiquitous tango. In the past 10 years, tango mania has happily infected the world with pilgrimages to Argentina from such far-flung shores as Japan, Russia and now even China; tango mania is definitely here to stay.

For years now, we have seen successful tango dance exhibitions here in San Miguel de Allende, but for the first time, we were privileged to see “tango theater” thanks to a magnificent performance by the Buenos Aires-born Alicia Rappoport in October in the VC & Friends space on Hernandez Macias. The evening was magical. The first half of the evening was pure classic tango with a brilliantly combined atmosphere of cabaret and theater; Rappoport not only thrilled us with her magnificent operatic trained voice, but much to our surprise, her excellent acting abilities in performing, to a full house, the dramatic story of a prostitute, the low life in early 20th century Buenos Aires with tragic and lost love affairs. She sang and acted out the wonderful Carlos Gardel classics including the syncopated milongas. Her performance was dramatic and sensuous, keeping the audience enthralled.

The musical accompaniment was equally impressive with Aldo Suárez on bass, Mauro Ledesma on piano and the incredible Gabriel Fernández on the bandoneon, an instrument without which there just wouldn’t be tango.

The second half of the evening was a “Tribute to Piazzolla” with the “Reborn in Buenos Aires-New Tango.” As one music critic wrote, “Alicia Rappoport is without a doubt one of the leading advocates of “New Tango.” Aldo Piazzolla (1921-1992) was world renowned for the style in which he combined traditional tango with jazz, classical music and lyrics from famous poets such as Horacio Ferrer, Eladia Blazquez, Jorge Luís Borges and Pablo Neruda. Born in Argentina, Piazzolla lived and performed all over the world. Argentine psychoanalyst Carlos Kuri said Piazzolla’s fusion of tango with the wide range of other recognizable Western musical elements was so successful that it produced a new individual style transcending these influences. Biographers estimate that Piazzolla wrote around 3000 pieces and recorded about 500.”

Alicia Rappoport started her performance tours in the Museo de la Ciudad de Queretaro theatre before moving on to being part of the Cervantino Festival and performing in Comonfort, in Dr. Mora and Celaya, all in the State of Guanajuato. She will continue her tour in other Mexican cities before moving on to the United States. Interestingly enough, this artist resides here in San Miguel, which continues to grow in the incredible artistic richness this city has to offer. Hopefully, we will be seeing and hearing a great deal more of this artist.


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