Astor Piazzolla's 'Maria de Buenos Aires' in Copenhagen,
recommended by DAVID WILKINS
Well -- good, I suppose, to find nothing more rotten in the state of Denmark than a bizarre local argument about the influence of the sponsor on the architect of Copenhagen's prestigious new opera house. It's a bit peculiar to find that your in-hotel magazine details the vitriolic debates about the façade that the payer inflicted on the piper while you are still trying to make sense of your initial response! I'd say that Henning Larsen's interior is pretty fabulous, the exterior is something of a non-event in terms of the potential of its location, and the lack of pre-prepared communal transport, lighting, paving should be a serious civic embarrassment. But -- all that is another story. The new Opera in Copenhagen is but a few months old, barely with milk-teeth yet already promising to sing loud of its national pride.
Kaya Brüel, as Maria, dedicates her life to the tango - dance of desire and destruction. From the opening scenes of the Royal Danish Opera 2005 production of 'Maria de Buenos Aires'. Photo © Casper Sejersen
Piazzolla's heroine (poet, Horacio Ferrer's, really) could never be expected to emerge from under the streets of this northern capital. She's an ever-reappearing image of the traditional sultriness of a different hemisphere. But, wherever Maria de Buenos Aires is invoked, she brings the universality of what makes us what we are. Lars Kaalund's production is as riotous in its deliberate confusions, as honest and provocative in its sexual allure and as beguiling in the tease of its 'define me if you dare' as any I could imagine. With the musical impact led by James Crabb as bandoneonist and ensemble-instigator, and the immediacy of the small 'Takkelloftet' performance space, this is an entirely visceral experience.
Who can tell the dancer from the dance? Maria, reborn, must be shod in her stiletto-heeled shoes to return to her life's task. Photo © Casper Sejersen
Copyright © 10 April 2005
David Wilkins, Eastbourne UK