It took a man from Hidalgo, José Alfredo Jiménez, to write these words that echo in my head on an almost daily basis. The words of the song that most often echo through my heart though are tienen todos ustedes un orgullo, el gran orgullo de ser de Mazatlán — “you all have the pride, the great pride to be from Mazatlán.”
And this week Jimenez’ words from the Corrido de Mazatlán rang especially true for me. Let me tell you the top five reasons why. Want to listen to the Corrido while you read this post? Click here.
1. Compañia Danza Ballet de Mazatlán
Late last year our already-wonderful Mazatlán was blessed once again with the formation of a brand new professional ballet company, Compañia Danza Ballet de Mazatlán. How many small cities boast their own ballet company? Makes me so proud.
This week Danny and I had the good fortune to watch them in action at the historic and gorgeous Angela Peralta Theater, in a performance of Don Quixote. We sat in the sixth row center for a perfect view, at a cost of US$25 per seat, and witnessed Cuban ballerina Mariem Valdez Martinez dance the role of Kitry splendidly. Other hits in our opinion were Javier Diáz Dalannais in the role of Gamache (just looking at him with his flaming red curls and painted clown face was delightful; but add to that his buffoon antics and it counter-balanced the artistry brilliantly) and Jorge Gorostiza in the tile role of the elderly Don.
Thanks to Ustream and CULTURA, you can view the entire performance online. They have now unfortunately added commercials for upcoming events to the video, so you’ll have to wait through those to see it. I felt our local dance company did a much better job than the Russian State Ballet that visited last month, and at less than half the cost. Kudos to the directors, Zoila Fernández and Guillermo Carrillo! The dancing was solid, the sets and the costumes were outstanding, and the entire performance charmed the heck out of the standing-ovation audience.
2. Concurso Internacional de Canto/International Opera Singing Contest
World-renowned orchestra director/conductor and our neighbor, Enrique Patrón de Rueda, first organized this contest four years ago. It has become the premier contest of its kind in Mexico and perhaps in Latin America. Another pride. It is sponsored by the Sinaloan Institute of Culture, and is designed to encourage young singers (ages 18-33) in their opera careers. This year it will give out US$16,500 in prize money; pretty incredible considering that enrollment in world-class singing classes at the Centro Municipal de Arte costs about US$250/month!
Last night we were privileged to hear ten arias sung by ten incredible young soloists from Mazatlán, other parts of Mexico, Guatemala and Chile. It was an informal event, designed to give the performers experience in front of an audience prior to the official contest events. The arias were incredible, and what added to the experience was that we were able to witness Maestro Enrique interrupting the singers to correct them, and the singers responding by raising the caliber of their performances. What an education! And what a true delight! And, as with the affordable ballet tickets, tickets to this event were 100 pesos (about US$9). Note: Addition from Sunday 22 April: Today’s paper has an article about this event, if you’d like to read it.
We are spoiled with wonderful weather here. My son tells me that my “zone of tolerance” is now about two degrees Centrigrade; otherwise I get too cold or too hot. Untrue; remember he’s 16 and is prone to exaggeration. Anyway, almost every day we have killer sunsets (you can view a few on our “Viva Mazatlán” channel on YouTube), gorgeous clear blue skies, views to the ocean and the islands, whales, turtles, dolphins, cranes, egrets, spoonbills and pelicans, and consistently hospitable weather (ok, summer gets sticky). This time of year brings a change of pace, however. The change of seasons means the cold air over the ocean mixes with the warm air over the land, causing heavy morning fog. It is so beautiful to see! Watching the islands do a striptease is quite a pleasure! That’s the photo leading this post.
4. Our Film Debut
If you read this blog, you know we love living here. That’s what this whole post is about. So what fun it was to this week receive copies of videos in which members of our family appear, talking about this place we call home! Please check it out and let us know what you think. Be sure to hang on to the end to see the joven:
The third and final video features Danny at the 2:00 minute mark:
5. Great Triathlon of the Pacific
We are also blessed with loads of special events and athletic activities here in Mazatlán, including the international marathon and the annual Travesía, where swim club members swim out to the island. This week was the triathlon, which is awesome because kids as well as adults compete, and we get to see them out in the ocean swimming, as well as biking and running up and down Avenida del Mar. This year there seemed to me to be more children than normal participating, which I find incredibly encouraging. And the adult winners included Mexican but also an Austrian, a Canadian, a Czech!
Come on! Tell us why you love Mazatlán!