<< -- 4 -- David Wilkins MARIA OF HOPE OR DESPAIR?
One of the big joys of this production, after the divine euphony of Kremer's sound, is the return to
the eleven-instrument orchestration of Piazzolla's original score. My, how much better the sound with
flute, guitar and expanded percussion! How much more honestly 1960s quite a bit of it now sounds -- you
know, sometimes, that you aren't only in the world of Buenos Aires barrios but, also, under the influence
of iconic sounds of the 60s like Michel Legrand, Francis Lai, Burt Bacharach. Kremer sanctifies the
music because he loves not wisely but too well; Wendy Gadian (music director of this production) and her
expanded Tango Volcano launch into the music with more relaxed shoulders and, therefore, more sense of
fun. The amazing bandoneon effect of arrastre (keys on the upbeat, bellows on the down) is
unlikely ever to be repeated to the height of skill represented by Piazzolla's own virtuosity, but it
was pretty good here.
'Even if the sun comes to rise again it will only feed me a few crumbs of breakfast in the face of such horror!' Photo © Robbie Jack
Mandy Demetriou's choreography is, naturally, indispensable. If you've ever been to one of those
Tango display shows, this might seem a touch loose. As much as I did enjoy it, I thought that the
dancing wasn't down-and-dirty enough but, maybe, I just missed my vocation to be a South American
What becomes of Maria? Well -- before the end of the first Act, the Duende, who cannot contain his sexual
jealousy and knows that his power is such that his morals can't be questioned in this life at least,
has her killed. She becomes one of the 'Disappeared'.
Copyright © 16 May 2004
David Wilkins, Eastbourne UK