Cuban Blizzard

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The Cubans are coming!

Composer Roberto Valera, soprano Barbara Llanes, and tenor Bryan Lopez will be in New York later this week to present excerpts from the opera to a group of invited guests. Their warmth will melt whatever snow might remain on the ground.

This is their first time in the U.S. It is an exciting time for them, for me, and for our two countries.

After New York, it’s on to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

We are expecting some stories in the press. So watch this space.

 

Ricardo Porro, 1925-2014

Ricardo Porro passed away in Paris, France on December 25, 2014. I had the good fortune to meet and spend time with him over the last several years as I conceived and developed the opera, “Cubanacan.”

He had passion, eloquence and a fantastic (and fantastical) sense of design. He was ever-positive about the idea for this opera. No matter what hurdles had to be jumped.

During our first meeting together in New York City, I deferred from asking him all the questions I wanted answered about his life and the story of the Art Schools. Instead I suggested he might have questions for me.

“I have just one question,” he said, in perfect, slightly aristocratic English. I waited breathlessly — in just one word he could sink the whole enterprise if he thought an opera with him as the main character might be an unwise undertaking.

“Am I tenor… or a bass?”

We both agreed a tenor was most appropriate.

You can read a moving, detailed obituary for Ricardo in the New York Times.

Ricardo will miss the opera premiere in Havana at the Bienale this coming May 22. But his spirit, and his School of Plastic Arts, will be front-and-center.