María de Buenos Aires is a tango operetta (tango operetta) with music by Ástor Piazzolla and libretto by Horacio Ferrer that premiered at the Sala Planeta in Buenos Aires on 8 May 1968.
The first part of the surreal plot centers on the experiences of a prostitute in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the second part takes place after her death. The characters include María (and, after her death, the Shadow of María), a singer of payadas; various members of the Buenos Aires underworld; a payador who functions as a poet and narrator; a goblin-like duende; several marionettes under the control of the duende; a circus of psychoanalysts; pasta makers; and construction workers. Many elements of the libretto suggest parallels between María and Mary, the mother of Jesus (in Spanish, María) or Jesus himself.
Piazzolla himself likened María to the tango and its historical ups and downs, which is probably the best way of understanding how the piece was received, alongside the fact that it embodied a musical voice that was unique in the second half of the 20th century, indeed in the New Music scene as a whole. 'I learnt something: to be patient, to be self-critical, to co-ordinate reflection with passion. Now I am told: That is a different Piazzolla, but that is not the case. I am the same man, but I have reached a synthesis', said Piazzolla.
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Piazzólla: María de Buenos Aires
Luciana Mancini, Daniel Bonilla-Torres, Johannes Mertes, Lothar Hensel Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Christopher Sprenger