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.
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.
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.
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.