Four Days in Havana

My recent quick visit to Havana at the end of September had many good outcomes.

View from Casa Luisa, the casa particular where I stay.

View from Casa Luisa, the casa particular where I stay.

  • Meeting with Director of the 2015 Havana Biennale, Jorge Fernandez. He confirmed dates for the opera performances: Friday-Sunday, May 22-25, 2015. He weighed in with advice about selecting an opera director and logistical arrangements.

 

My Cuban breakfast.

My Cuban breakfast.

  • Meeting with Orlando Vistal, Director of the Institute of Music — part of the Ministry of Culture. Vistal is very supportive. He offered to help by providing in-kind support for staging and music copying — a challenge in Cuba given limited availability of paper and printers.
  • Meeting with Maria del Rosario Herna, Dean of the Music School, ISA, and her staff. Maria loves the project and confirmed approval for using ISA/School of Plastic Arts as the venue for the site-specific performances. She wants to host a big party at the premiere, as it will be the fifty-year anniversary of the opening of ISA, the national art schools.
At ISA, the art schools.

At ISA, the art schools.

  • Music. Composer Roberto Valera just finished the piano/vocal score for the complete work. He previewed his newest compositions for me. They are magnificent! A climactic scene — the building of the Schools — is set to a 6/8 conga rhythm that will get audiences up and out of their seats, dancing in the aisles.
Never know what you'll find at the kiosks on the Plaza de Armas.

Never know what you’ll find at the kiosks on the Plaza de Armas.

  • I met with three possible opera directors. All are very well-known directors of theatre, dance, and performance. I will make a selection shortly, once I hear back about their respective availabilities.

Meetings took up much of my limited time, being in Havana for only four full days. However, Music Director Zenaida Romeu made sure I got to the top of the Television Building (tallest structure in Havana) for a quick mojito.

Havana sunset from atop TV Building, Havana.

Havana sunset from atop TV Building, Havana.