Manhattan Series at Opera America

Owlsong Productions continues betting strong on the diffusion of Spanish vocal music in the United
States. Coming up as part of Ana María Ruimonte’s Manhattan Series at the National Opera Center of Opera America, 330 Seventh Ave in midtown Manhattan in April and May are two exciting programs.

 Thursday, April 21 Owlsong presents “Romeo and Juliet Meet in Manhattan,” presenting selections from Bellini’s opera Capuleti e i Montecchi starring Ana María Ruimonte, “The Spanish Mezzo & Soprano” as Romeo and an international cast including an Argentine soprano, an American tenor and a Spanish pianist.

On Thursday, May 5, “Sephardic Treasures” will feature music and stories of Spain’s one-time Sephardic Jewish community, with lyrics in the medieval Ladino language as interpreted by Mezzo Meets Bass. Ana María sings the ancient melodies as collected by musicologists about 100 years ago accompanied by original jazz- and flamenco-influenced arrangements by bassist, Alan Lewine. 

These are part of Ana María Ruimonte’s Manhattan Series of concerts every month at the National Opera Center of Opera America in New York City, presented with the assistance of a generous grant from the Association of Artist and Performers of Spain.

“I have been a member of this association since I was a part of the Chorus at the Teatro Real.  It provides support to the musicians and protects and defends their rights. They have decided to support this project, for its cultural interest. It is a series of programs all completely different and original and they loved my approach.”

The Manhattan Series presents a concert each month throughout 2016, on Thursday at 8 pm. 

“We started with my multimedia, bilingual spectacle, “El Carro de Amor” or “The Cart of Love” with stories and songs with puppets and projections featuring the 17th century music from the Spanish Baroque, especially Juan Hidalgo.” The next concert, last week, titled Nights at the Alhambra, was a great success. “I collaborated with a young guitarist who is also a teacher. I researched the music and found scores at the Libraries of the University of Pennsylvania and in the marvelous collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia, including pieces available nowhere else. For example, the Líricas Castellanas by Joaquín Rodrigo, or La Marchenera of Moreno-Torroba in an arrangement for guitar, and other pieces from the renaissances. Rob Adler wrote transcriptions for guitar of some of them and we rehearsed together during several months. This collaboration has a view to the future. We hope to repeat this concert again in other places, after such a great reception from the public.”

The next recital “Romeo and Juliet Meet in Manhattan” will take place on April 21 with excerpts from Bellini’s opera, Capuleti e i Montecchi. “I will sing Romeo, what we call a trouser roll.  Eugenia Forteza is an Argentine soprano who I met during a performance of the zarzuela Luisa Fernanda at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. She will sing Juliet, the American tenor Christopher Eaglin sings Tebaldo. On the piano, the young Isabel Pérez-Dobarro of Spain. It is an exceptional cast”.

The rest of the series includes Sephardic Treasures with Alan Lewine on the bass on May 5.  In June the Series presents music by Ernesto Lecuona for voice and piano, Lecuona in the Air.  Other performances will include music by little-known Spanish composers such as Martín y Soler, L’arbore di Diana, a Commemoration to Paco de Lucía, other excerpts of French opera, including from “Carmen” and “Herodiade”, German opera from “The Lovers at the Court”, Italian “Cavalleria Rusticana” and American “Tony and Maria Meet in Midtown”. Admission to the concerts cost only $10 and for students and children receive a special discount at $8. Advance tickets and season passes are available at www.mkt.com/owlsong.

The Next Trip to Cuba:

Also this year, Ana María and Alan Lewine will travel to La Habana, Cuba in May where they will perform in concert sponsored by the Cuban Ministry of Culture. “I am invited to perform with the great pianist Huberal Herrera, at more than 80 years old he is the greatest interpreter of the music by Ernesto Lecuona. I love this music and this collaboration is very important to me.”  Alan and Ana María will also perform as “Mezzo Meets Bass” with their program “9 Centuries of Music in less than 2 hours”, and another concert of the original jazz compositions of bassist and composer Alan Lewine.

Commemoration to Enrique Granados in Philadelphia:

In another recent collaboration with a guitarist, Ana María Ruimonte performed in concert with Prof. Allen Krantz of Temple University’s Beasley School of Music at Rock Hall Auditorium of Temple University in Philadelphia on Thursday March 24. This featured the music of Enrique Granados, a Spanish composer who died in a tragic accident at sea 100 years to the day before the concert. “I met Allen Krantz through Douglas Riva, a musician who organized American commemorations of Granados. So, we decided to perform some of the Tonadillas Escénicas by Granados and other Spanish pieces for voice and guitar. Prof. Demetrio Ballesteros who was my teacher at the Conservatorio in Madrid was very helpful with advice and in finding the scores.  Prof. Krantz transcribed much of the music for guitar himself, as it was originally written for voice and piano. The program also included the Bachiana Brasileira No. 5 by Villa-Lobos, I provided new lyrics from a poem of Pablo Neruda titled The Wind in the Island. The concert was beautiful”. Allen Krantz said: “Ana María, your voice is made to sing this repertoire. You understand and transmit the words and the spirit of the music of Granados”.

This concert at Temple follows Ana María presentation of her most recent CD titled “Alma y Vida de Mujer” or “The Soul and Life of a Woman,” her own commemoration to Enrique Granados, who she always feels close to her spirit. 

Fotos:

Concierto “Nights at the Alhambra” Ana María Díaz de Lewine y Rob Adler, guitar. También un póster de Enrique Granados con una foto del pintor Ramón Casas y los créditos son “Foto del Museo Nacional d’Art de Catalunya”. También otras dos fotos de ayer, con el prof. Allen Krantz y yo tras el concierto.

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