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Music, Dances and a Parade Celebrate 145 Years of the Peralta

By Jesús Aguado

Teatro Ángela Peralta is celebrating its 145th anniversary with several free events and a parade re-enacting the arrival in San Miguel de Allende of “The Mexican Nightingale,” famed soprano Ángela Peralta.

The parade, the celebration’s inaugural event, begins Sunday, May 20, at 5pm, leaving from the temple of San Juan de Dios and moving toward the Peralta Theater via calles Beneficencia and Canal, the Jardín Principal, and calles Hidalgo and Mesones. It will feature live music, mojigangas (giant puppets), locos (crazies), and Antonia Guerrero playing the role of Ángela Peralta. At 6pm the same day, there will be a contemporary dance performance and musical pieces by the children´s choir of Casa de la Cultura, accompanied by wind instrumental music. Tenor Juan Pablo Domínguez from León will continue the program.

All events are free.

Lun/Mon, May 21

7:30pm Contemporary dance performance featuring folkloric pieces.

Mar/Tue, May 22

7:30pm Performance by Ballet Folklórico Representativo of San Miguel

Mié/Wed, May 23

7:30pm Rock in Spanish and English by Mechanics

Jue/Thu, May 24

7:30pm Folkloric dances by Mazatl

Vie/Fri, May 25

7:30pm Performance by Mariachi Los Camperos

Did you know?

Until 1871, there was no proper space in San Miguel for holding major artistic events. Several residents worked to have a theater built, led by the local administrador de rentas (administrator of the state offices in the city), Juan Mañón, in co-operation with the local government and private investors. In 1873, the construction of the new building was completed. Its walls were made of adobe and the ceiling of tejamanil (a kind of wood). Bricklayer Don Antonio de la Serna constructed the building’s current classical style façade in 1914.

Ángela Peralta, a Mexican soprano, gave several performances in Europe between 1862 and 1865 and later returned to Mexico. In April 1873, while Peralta was performing in Guanajuato, she accepted an invitation to visit San Miguel. It is said that the residents were so excited by her arrival here that they untied the mules from the cart carrying the Mexican Nightingale into town and pulled it themselves. The theater was inaugurated on May 20, 1873, and Peralta gave four concerts at it after the opening of the theater. She was so beloved here that it is no surprise that the owners gave San Miguel’s new theater her name.

According to the theater’s website, Peralta thanked those who welcomed her to the city and in a speech said, “I have organized a presentation the likes of which has not even been seen in the country’s capital.”

 

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