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Alicia Rappoport performs Aires de Tango Prohibido

By April Gaydos

Comparing Argentinean soprano Alicia Rappoport to France’s beloved little sparrow, Edith Piaf, is not a far stretch of the imagination. Like Piaf, Rappoport vividly evokes the passion of her native country’s iconic music through the powerful resonance and soulfulness of her voice. Like Piaf, the diminutive Rappoport’s magnetic stage presence draws you into the emotional drama of the music and its message.

Aires de Tango Prohibido
Audubon de Mexico benefit
Sat, Aug 30, 8pm
Sun, Aug 31, 6pm
Bellas Artes
300 pesos from August 1–15
400 pesos from August 16–31
Students 200 pesos
Tickets available at La Conexion
Aldama 3 and

Rappoport will premier her new show, Aires de Tango Prohibido, on August 30 and 31 at the Bellas Artes before departing San Miguel for a series of international performances, beginning with Australia next year.

Alicia’s passion for tango arose from her interest in folk music as a cultural expression of human events and sacraments. A chance encounter with a Chilean film director, Pedro Zandor, directed Rappoport’s attention to tango. Within the music she says, she renewed her connection with the “creativity and spiritual expression of the Argentine soul” and found a language with “the power to touch most everyone.”

It was Alicia’s San Miguel vocal coach Joseph McClain, founding general director of the Austin Lyric Opera and Director Artìstico emeritus of Òpera de San Miguel who conceived of combining her strong operatic voice with her dance experience to perform tango as musical theater.

The San Miguel performances benefit Audubon de Mexico whose conservation work to protect birds and the environment she supports. Birds as metaphors for freedom and resurrection punctuate many of the selections of Aires de Tango Prohibido, referring to a dark era in Argentina’s history when tango was censored and banned from the radio during 1940’s dictatorships, effectively denying “the music of the people” to the people. In 1949 poets and musicians came before President Juan Peron, who lifted the ban, and tango re-emerged as a part of people’s daily life and as a symbol of solidarity.

Beginning in 1955, a shift away from classical tango was taking place. Led by Astor Piazzolla, Nuevo Tango incorporated elements from jazz and classical music. There was resistance to Nuevo Tango, this time from the Argentinean people themselves. Rejected by the public, Piazzolla took his music to Europe and the U.S. where he found acceptance and eventually fame.

Alicia will perform selections from both traditional and Piazzolla’s new tango in her Aires de Tango Prohibido concert. She will be accompanied by three outstanding Latin American musicians: Argentinean Gabriel Fernández on bandoneon, who has performed all over the world with some of today’s foremost tango artists such as Raul Di Blasio, Armando Manzanero, and Ricardo Montaner; Mexican pianist Daniel Romo, who won second place in his category in the 2011 EPTA International Competition; and Aldo Suarez on double bass, who was chosen to represent Mexico in the Latin American Youth Orchestra, comprised of young people from 23 countries.

Tickets for the August 30 and 31 performances are available at La Conexion, Aldama 3, and A special ticket price of 300 pesos is available until August 15. After the 15th, ticket prices are 400 pesos and 200 pesos for students.

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