Puerto Rican Art Song Project
Talk about Hispanic American literature and any avid reader around the world will tell you about Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Julio Cortázar, Mario Vargas Llosa, Juan Rulfo and Ernesto Sábato. A poetry enthusiast might mention Pablo Neruda, Rubén Darío or Jorge Luis Borges. If you talk about art, you are certain to run into Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and when you bring up classical music, you may end up debating whether Pablo Casals could be claimed by Puerto Rico. Someone may mention Heitor Villa Lobos (Latin, but not Hispanic) and perhaps an opera connoisseur or film fan may bring up the late Daniel Catán.
To say that the Hispanic American world is underrepresented in the classical music international scene would be a huge understatement. But what is more interesting to me is how underrepresented Puerto Rico is, even within the Hispanic and Latin classical circles.
I want to share René Marqués. I want his plays, stories and novels to be translated and published in all sorts of languages around the world. I want the world to know Rosario Ferré. I want the revolutionary poems of José de Diego, the simple-life and social commentary stories of Abelardo Díaz Alfaro and Luis Lloréns Torres. I want to present the feminist poetry of Julia de Burgos. I want the sound of “rococo” to evoke José Campeche.
I launched the Puerto Rican Art Song Project in 2016 with a program featuring compositions by Jack Délano, Narciso Figueroa, Noel Allende Goitía and Ernesto Cordero, bringing this subcategory to an audience already familiar with art song, in an informal, chat-laced performance that included a presentation of beautiful art work and text translations, as well as a spoken journey of historical context and personal significance of the compositions. This music is as much my gift to you as it is part of my exploration of my own identity. I hope you’ll join me on this journey.
Next #PRAS Performance:
Forjando Patria: Puerto Rico en el Siglo XX
Forging a Homeland: Puerto Rico in the 20th Century
Saturday, September 25, 2021, 7PM
Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Parish
602 E. 9th Street, #1
New York, NY, 10009
Laura Virella, mezzo-soprano
Alla Milchtein, piano