María de Buenos Aires

A tango-opera by Astor Piazzolla
Libretto by Horacio Ferrer

© Richard Termine for The New York Times; Jeff Roffman for The Atlanta Opera

You’ll lose all sense of boundaries as you experience María de Buenos Aires, the famous tango-opera by Astor Piazzolla. Who is this woman of the night that wanders the streets without fear or reason? Is she a mother, a child, or a ghost? Saint or harlot? She is María, the most common name, and the name of the Most Exalted.

Jorge Parodi is music director and conductor of choice for Maria, which he has conducted more productions of the beloved piece than any other conductor in the world.  In the USA alone he opened the 18-19 season for new York City Opera with a sold-out series of performances, and has also conducted it for The Atlanta Opera, Opera Hispánica, and Opera Grand Rapids.  Upcoming productions include the return to The Atlanta Opera.  Argentinian by birth, Parodi grew up listening to tango and spent his college years in Buenos Aires, where he became extremely familiar with the style of tango and fell in love with the idiosyncrasy of that great city.

He knows intimately the piece and its unique characteristics: the musical language,  the lunfardo (a Buenos Aries slang), its unique instrumentation, and the dances that gave origin to the several numbers. The spirit of tango is not evident from the printed score, the same way a piece of jazz is hard to recreate by only reading a score without familiarity with the style that created it. Maestro Parodi is also acutely aware of the necessities of any given production, in term of casting (type of singers, actors and tango players) and sound: Maria is atypical in the fact that requires attentive amplification and an unique coordination between pit, chorus and soli.

In a recent interview, soprano Catalina Cuervo comented on her work with Mtro. Parodi:

“I would love to take him everywhere with me. Maestro Jorge Parodi is a brilliant conductor. He is so sensitive and a wonderful human being. He is a pleasure to work with but he is also very firm in what he wants. He knows the music of this work to perfection. He knows the libretto inside out. Jorge Parodi knows “Maria de Buenos Aires” completely in all respects and he conducts it perfectly. I love his tempi, the colors, and energy of his orchestra, and how he finds different emotions and colors. Jorge Parodi is number one when it comes to “Maria de Buenos Aires.”