by Melanie Wong
On Friday night, Opera Hispánica presented Ástor Piazzolla’s tango-opera, María de Buenos Aires, at (le) Poisson Rouge, the culmination of the pioneer Latino opera comapny's first festival season. With a goal of showcasing Hispanic and Latino composers and compositions, the fledgling group certainly hit their mark, and the packed house was inevitably left wanting more.
The 75-minute opera tells the tale of a girl named María, “every woman and no woman...a shadow and a saint.” She is conjured by two spirits, El Duende (the wicked ghost-poet) and El Payador (the tender country-poet), who sing her story to the audience. Unfortunately, Horacio Ferrer’s poetic libretto, while beautifully written, was difficult to follow; the subtitles were over-simplified and changed too quickly, before their meaning could be fully grasped.