After driving down from the Bay Area on the I-5 we arrived in Los Angeles.
Pit stop on the I-5.
To be hosted by the opera project’s loyal, gracious, and generous friend, Lyn Kienholz.
The following day, a short driving tour: Mulholland Drive, Laurel Canyon, Hollywood Boulevard, and freeway traffic… to arrive at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for the final presentation of this trip.
We’re in there somewhere.
In spite of a slight hiccup — the electric piano is delivered without a power cord! — the performance was extraordinary.
Finale: “En el campo de golf”
And greeted by 56 audience members with a standing ovation.
A warm response.
Big thanks to Adolfo Nodal, Darrel Couturier, and Olga Garay for helping make the evening such a success.
The next day it was time for abrazos and goodbyes to Roberto, Barbara, and Bryan at LAX. But just for the moment. Charles will soon be back in Havana to continue preparations for the Havana premiere.
Following our debut in New York City we travelled to San Francisco. Tenor Bryan Lopez arrived from Havana/Miami, passport and visa now in hand.
Roberto welcomes Bryan to San Francisco.
On Sunday my wife and I gave the artists a tour of the area. The Golden Gate Bridge rated high among the favorites — the Haight-Ashbury not so much.
Barbara at the edge of the Pacific continent.
Roberto with Golden Gate Bridge, San Franciaco.
My wife Deborah, son Jonah, and I had the pleasure of hosting the artists in our home. Oh, and the music!
Rehearsal in mi casa.
Composer fingers on my piano.
On Tuesday, February 3, we presented excerpts in the Wattis Room at Davies Symphony Hall. Composer Roberto Valera had a baby grand piano this time.
Barbara and Roberto share a moment.
Barbara and Bryan sing.
The room was full! Guests included Danny Glover and his family, members of the San Francisco Opera Board of Directors — and some staff, Revolution of Forms book author John Loomis, patrons of the arts, friends, and family.
Audience at the Wattis Room, San Francisco
Thanks to supporters Bill and Alice Russell-Shapiro for helping make the night a special one.
Composer Roberto Valera, soprano Barbara Llanes, and producer/librettist Charles Koppelman appeared at The 8th Floor in Manhattan on Thursday evening, January 29. They presented excerpts from the opera for an audience of invited guests.
Roberto and Barbara performing excerpts.
The audience responded very warmly to the music, and to the concept of the opera. Several expressed interest in supporting the work and traveling to Havana to see the premiere at the 2015 Havana Biennale.
L-R: Roberto, Barbara, and Charles in NYC.
Several members of the press — foreign and domestic — came to a press event earlier that evening. We are expecting stories to result from the Voice of America, Opera America, the Associated Press, and others.
We arrived from all points: Barbara from Paris where she gave a concert of baroque songs; Roberto from Havana via Miami; and Charles from San Francisco. Unfortunately tenor Bryan Lopez was still stuck in Havana awaiting his U.S. visa. He did finally receive it and will be joining us for presentations this coming week in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
This is the first-ever visit to the U.S. for the Cubans. So it was an extra bit of culture shock to arrive in New York on the heels of the blizzard-than-never-was. Lots of snow on the ground and chill in the air.
Barbara threatens producer with snowball.
“Where is my espresso?”
We did make time to see the sights: the Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, Central Park, Carnegie Hall and MoMA. And attend an amazing concert of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra led by Arturo O’Farrill, featuring guitarist/composer Lionel Loueke.
Who is that masked man?