By Margaret Failoni
The tango originated in the mid 19th century and was played and sung by the European immigrants in Argentina and Uruguay. Since 2009 it has been on the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage site.
Tango Music, Song, and Dance
With Alicia Rappoport
Thu and Fri, Mar 17 and 18, 7pm
Bellas Artes Auditorium
Proceeds will benefit Creando Lectura
From the 1890s and into the 20th century, tangos became songs of love and protest and the favorite music of thugs and gangsters. Later they became the music of anger and dispute for the popular masses. Once associated with the underclass, the tango was the target of attempts by ruling governments to restrict its influence. In spite of scorn, many important intellectuals in both countries as well as in Europe became ardent fans of this music form. By the end of WWI, tango had conquered the world.
Towards the end of the 1920s, tango had moved out of the lower class brothels to become a more respectable form of music and dance. The ’30s through the ’50s saw its golden age, thanks also to Carlos Gardel in films and recordings. But it also coincided with the beginning of rebellion against political tyranny in both countries. During that period many “rebellious” tangos were composed such as the famous Cambalache, a Milonga-style tango denouncing everything and everybody including the complacent church. By the seventies the military dictatorship in Argentina banned many tangos outright along with other forms of popular music, followed by a diaspora of many Argentinians, and then came the Tango Nuevo.
The era of the Tango Nuevo was dominated by the composer Astor Piazzolla, whose “Adiós Nonino” became the most influential work of tango since Carlos Gardel’s “El Día Que Me Quieras.” Piazzolla consciously tried to create a more academic form with sounds breaking the classic forms of tango, drawing the derision of purists. The Piazzolla generation’s Nuevo Tango had been admired in Europe and the United States years before finally being accepted in Argentina.
Soprano Alicia Rappoport is an exponent of Tango Nuevo and and of the Tango Teatralizado, a very special way of performing tango. She is that rare performer who, with the music of the forbidden tangos of the past and those of the Piazzolla years, brings to the audience a superbly theatrically interpreted performance of the drama and pathos of tango. This inspired Alicia’s new recording Forbidden Tango, which will launch in the Bellas Artes Auditorium, San Miguel de Allende, through “Tango Music, Song and Dance” on March 17 and 18 at 7pm. Proceeds will benefit the NGO, Creando Lectura.