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