Opera Wire: “When you go back to a masterpiece, it’s like seeing old friends again and rediscovering them”
Maestro Jorge Parodi On ‘Maria de Buenos Aires’ in NYC.
By David Salazar
When conductor Jorge Parodi was a young man growing up in Argentina, he often heard a melody played as an introduction to a television series. “I never imagined it was from an opera,” he told OperaWire in a recent interview. Everyone knew that the tango melody was by Piazzolla, but it never occurred to him that the tango melody might be from an opera. A few years later, he found himself in New York, already specializing in conducting opera. For his birthday he received a gift – a recording of Piazzolla’s “Maria de Buenos Aires.” “That was my first real encounter with the opera,” he noted and the melody from his youth now had a context. “I was taken aback by the use of tango in such a dramatic and operatic context. Tango is usually quite short, but to see it expanded into an entire work was a unique experience. And the way Piazzolla uses it is so full of creativity. There are a few musical ideas that he reinterprets numerous times that give the work cohesiveness.”
Growing Into Piazzolla’s Top Interpreter
During that time, Parodi, who is currently Music Director of the Senior Opera Theatre at the Manhattan School of Music and the Opera in Williamsburg, was running Opera Hispanica and immediately suggested that the company take on the Piazzolla work. The production company took him at his word and mounted “Maria” at the Poisson Rouge. “It isn’t really a work of traditional theater and it works best if you’re in a more relaxed space,” Parodi noted regarding the choice of venue. After that run, he would go on to become one of the great champions of the opera, conducting the work at Opera Grand Rapids and the Atlanta Opera, where he is slated to do it once again later this season. Per his website, he has conducted more productions of the opera than anyone else. “When you go back to a masterpiece, it’s like seeing old friends again and rediscovering them,” he noted about his passion for performing “Maria de Buenos Aires. “The relationship you have with the music deepens every time you go back to it.” But now he is going to take it on at the New York City Opera. The venue? The Poisson Rouge.