Tenth Anniversary Gala of the Mazatlán Ballet

Oh, what a night! Saturday evening, November 13 in the Angela Peralta Theater our beloved and incredibly talented professional ballet company celebrated its tenth anniversary with a gala performance. The entrance to the theater was decked out in draped red velvet, there was a gorgeous candelabra stage left, the theater was packed but with social distancing and mandatory masking, and the energy and execution of the evening were terrific!

One of only four professional ballet companies in Mexico (the National Ballet in Mexico City, Monterrey and the more recently founded Youth Ballet of Jalisco), we have been blessedly spoiled by their presence in our city these past ten years. Young professional dancers from here have gone on to dance in Mexico’s National Ballet, in Monterrey, and in renowned professional companies in the USA and Europe. In the finale of the show on Saturday, students from our Municipal School of Classical Ballet joined the pros on stage, in a nod to Mazatlán’s future generations of professional dancers.

The company’s very first production seems to me like yesterday; the comedic ballet La Fille Mal Gardeé or The Wayward Daughter was performed on November 18 and 19, 2011 with costumes from Bellas Artes in Mexico City and scenography by Raúl Font. That was during a golden age of the Municipal Institute of Culture, Tourism and Art, when artists banded together under Raúl Rico González’ leadership with a goal of positioning Mazatlán as home to the highest quality cultural arts in northwest Mexico. After performing The Wayward Daughter here, the company took it to Culiacán and La Paz. 

During the tenth anniversary gala on Saturday night the company’s 14 professional dancers presented eleven movements including nine pas de deux from classical, neoclassical and contemporary choreographies. The scenography was gorgeous, with classical pillars made of curtaining and a constructed bridge that, combined with changing projections on the big screen, leant themselves well to the various settings of the choreographies. Costuming was lovely with a broad variety of styles to appropriately accompany each dance.

The pieces performed were Romeo and JulietLe Corsaire, Thaïs, The Parting, The Flames of ParisAdagio, Penumbra, Andante, Spiegel im Spiegel, A Mí and Venetian Carnival. Two of the pieces were accompanied by live music: violin, piano and cello. Artistic Direction was by company co-founder, Guillermo Carrillo. Sadly, Oscar Treto Hevia injured his leg tendons in rehearsals and was unable to perform; he was to be the principal male dancer in Romeo and Juliet pas de deux. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

This is a young company, with one dancer performing professionally for the very first time, yet all danced with incredible aplomb, strength, grace and beauty given the early stages of their careers. The audience could feel the youthful joy and vigor of the dancers. Venetian Carnaval was the most substantial piece of the evening, with the full company on stage and costuming made for the narrative of the ballet. This is a challenging choreography that had both principal dancers, Sandra Fernández Hernández and Carlo Bravo, leaping repeatedly.

Cultura Mazatlán Director José Angel Tostado Quevedo congratulated the company for their hard work and exceptional contribution to our port. Standing with him was Zoila Fernández, company co-founder and current Artistic Director of Cultura Mazatlán. Also on stage for the rounds of applause and “bravos” were Ballet Director Guillermo Carrillo, and current and past company and ballet school members and staff.

The current repertoire of the Mazatlán Ballet includes:

  • La Fille Mal Gardeé or The Wayward Daughter
  • Don Quijote
  • Giselle
  • The Nutcracker
  • Swan Lake (2nd act)
  • Carmen
  • Romeo and Juliet pas de deux
  • Le Corsaire
  • Sleeping Beauty

I am proud to say I have enjoyed each and every one of these with them, some of them several times. The company has become an integral star of our local arts scene, participating in arts and cultural festivals, operas, the Mazatlán Carnivals and Day of the Dead festivities. 

Maestra Zoila Fernández, Artistic Director of Cultura Mazatlán and founder of the Mazatlán Ballet, told me for this article, “The company now dances in classic and neoclassical styles. My greatest satisfaction these ten years, after so much hard work, is seeing that today the Mazatlán Ballet Company is a focal point in the port, that we enjoy a public that always fills the seats of the theater, and that more than anything, we serve future generations as a source of work and a mirror. It is truly a luxury in Mazatlán to have such a serious and dedicated cultural work.”

The Mazatlán Ballet company has deep roots and connections in the National Ballet of Cuba. Its two founders, Maestra Zoila Fernández and Maestro Guillermo Carrillo, both worked and studied there. Maestra Zoila has worked with the Municipal Ballet School for 23 years, and Maestro Guillermo arrived here in 2010 with the goal of starting the new company. During its first season, 2011-12, Maestra Ramona de Saá Bello, grand dame and maître of ballet in Cuba, cancelled contracts she had in Brazil and Italy to reside here and advise. Two and a half years earlier, her daughter, Margarita Naranjo, a beloved teacher in Mazatlán’s Municipal Ballet School, had died as a victim of domestic violence.

Upon the occasion of the company’s founding, Maestra Zoila was interviewed by none other than Héctor Guardado, our much-esteemed local cultural and arts journalist with the Noroeste. She told him at the time, “This was a dream that we have been forging with much work, over two and a half years. Maestra Margarita Naranjo and I visualized it for many years, together with Maestra Ramona de Saá, one of the most important ballet maitres in Cuba. This year everything came together thanks to the enthusiasm of Raúl Rico and private interests in Mazatlán. There are many people backing this project.”

The Maestra also invites everyone to the gala on November 20, a fundraiser to put a much-needed elevator in the Angela Peralta Theater, to make the theater inclusive and attractive to everyone. I have tickets available, if you would like some, or you can stop by Cultura offices or the theater box office.

Time to Return to the Theater!

This past Saturday evening, November 6, Delfos Contemporary Dance Company put on an outstanding show at 7:30 pm in the Angela Peralta Theater. The performance, directed by Víctor Manuel Ruíz Becerra, was dedicated to co-founder Claudia Lavista’s recently departed father, and what a tribute it was! Entitled “Painting that Moves,” the dances reflected the lives and work of Salvador Dalí, Leonardo Da Vinci, Frida Kahlo, Toulouse Lautrec, Edvard Munch, Jackson Pollock, William Turner, Vincent Van Gogh, Remedios Varo, and Diego Velázquez. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

Heavy on the Spanish, particularly Catalán painters, what fascinated me was that this performance was not so obvious. The choreography and scenography did not directly replicate the painters’ work, but most definitely evoked the spirit of the painters’ lives and work. The transitions between pieces were also masterful, weaving together elements of each seamlessly.

Throughout the evening audience members wondered why the stage was wrapped in white paper, much like a gift to the audience. That became clear during the last choreography, when the colorful paint splatters of Jackson Pollack fell from hanging cans all over the performers, to culminate in an exhuberant communal climax.

Nine dancers played multiple roles with quick costume and energy changes: Johnny Millán, Surasí Lavalle, Karla Núñez, Xitlali Piña, Daniel Marín, Diego Alcalá, Jonathan Alavés, Luisa Escobosa, and Rodrigo Agraz, as part of the 2021 Mazatlán Cultural Festival.

This was the first event in the theater I have attended in quite some time, due to the pandemic/endemic. I want to let you all know that I felt very comfortable during the evening. Cultura issued many reminders for those attending to keep on their masks, there was an empty seat between groups, and people were staggered between rows. The main level was fairly full, given the seating restrictions, and I would guess the first balcony was perhaps one-third full based on current capacity. Now that we are vaccinated, it would seem to me to be worth it to get out and about, safely, again. 

You will have another terrific chance next Saturday November 13th when our local ballet company celebrates its tenth anniversary! Can you believe it’s already been ten years? What a gift to Mazatlán these two companies are, the ballet and the contemporary dance. Be sure to get your tickets as no doubt the theater will fill.

A Gala to Remember!

If you believe our beloved Angela Peralta Theater should be fully accessible to those with mobility impairments, I have a very special treat for you!

On Saturday night, November 20th, a group of people passionate about accessibility will gather together to raise funds to help install a freestanding glass elevator in the Angela Peralta Theater in order to make the galleries fully accessible. We will enjoy symphonic music and a four or five-course dinner prepared by our beloved Chef Gilberto del Toro of Gaia fame. If the tasting is any indication, you do not want to miss this! Wine will also flow freely.

The evening will begin at 6:30 pm with a “blue carpet” in honor of those who are differently abled. The performance will begin at 7:30 in the theater, followed by dinner and an art auction at 8:30 pm. Vaccination certificates and proper use of a face mask will be required.

Tickets are 3000 pesos per person; Chef Gilberto is donating his time and expertise. Wines and artwork to be auctioned are also donated. Proceeds from the event will go towards purchasing a freestanding glass elevator to be installed near the bar of the theater, to allow access to the upstairs galleries without affecting the structure of the protected building. Artists who wish to donate pieces to support the cause are welcome to contact me, as are those wishing to make a donation towards the elevator.

Plans for the elevator are not yet finalized, but this is the general type we are looking at.

For me this is a dream come true. You may remember a few years ago when I had a photo exhibition on the second floor of the opera house. It was the best-attended art event in the history of Mazatlán, CULTURA told me. However, friends on crutches or in a wheelchair were not able to join me at the inauguration, nor was anyone with mobility issues able to view the six-week exhibition. It was so unfair! An elevator will help us rectify that and make the opera house of which we are all so proud accessible.

Please contact me via WhatsApp to get you your tickets or more information: +52-669-122-8962. To make a donation to the cause send your money to the Bancomer account on the flyer above, with your name so Cultura can thank you, or send a note via PayPal to dianne@vidamaz.com and I’ll make sure it goes to the elevator account. Thanks!

Camerata Campbell 2021

I have great news for fans of the Camerata Campbell and those of you craving excellent, live and in person classical music: Camerata Campbell is back this year for its tenth season! The pandemic has meant a change of venue for the Maestro and his musicians to the acoustically sweet and open air La Casona de la Machado.

It’s not only the venue that is new and exciting this year. The limitations imposed by the pandemic also dictate fewer musicians on stage. Maestro Campbell has used this as a point of inspiration and each concert with highlight one or two musicians, enabling the audience to fully appreciate the emblematic sound of each instrument. I am told that masks will be required, and there will be one and a half meters between parties with a maximum of 200 people attending. Programs will not be given out due to sanitary precautions, so I share links below so that you can review and print your own.

Camerata Campbell showcases the best of Sinaloan musicians. One of it’s trademarks is high quality music with a bit of education thrown in, and this season will include remarks both by the Maestro as well as from the performers themselves, explaining what inspires them about the pieces they have chosen.

Events will be every Sunday, January 10 through February 28, at 5pm. Tickets are 350 pesos each and can be purchased at the Panamá restaurant in front of the cathedral or in the Golden Zone, at Pedro y Lola on the Machado, or at La Casona on the day of the event.

Maestro Campbell, his wife Guianeya and son Alexander visited with us on Wednesday to treat you to our annual sneak preview of the season.

 

CONCERTS IN THE 2021 SEASON

January 10: Bach’s Partitas with violinist Alexander Gordon Campbell Vdovina

Alexander Campbell, violinist

The very talented Alexander Campbell, the Maestro’s son, will treat us to the Bach Partitas, which are absolutely perfect for our times—uplifting the spirit and building hope. The Ciaconna in particular is famous as a very challenging piece. Part of the second partita, it was composed in honor of Bach’s departed wife. Camerata Campbell presents it in honor of all those we have lost to COVID-19 and to inspire hope that we will soon be getting the better of this horrible plague.

The Bach Partitas are the ultimate trial for a violinist due to their technical difficulty and the spirituality that inspired them. This will be an opportunity for people who don’t know them to add them to their personal playlists. 
Full program and artist biography: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/partitas-de-bach

I was thrilled to have Alexander pull out his instrument and treat Greg and myself to a private concert on our back patio during our interview. I of course recorded that gift to share it with you:

 

January 17: Mexican Waltzes with pianist Aldo Tercero

Aldo Tercero, pianist

Get ready to sway and dance, as internationally known pianist and producer, Aldo Tercero, performs a program of the most famous Mexican waltzes. Even if you think you don’t know waltzes, I’ll bet you can identify the two most famous in the world. The first, of course, is Strauss’s “Blue Danube.” Most people think the second was also written in Vienna, but, interestingly, it was composed by a Mexican: self-taught composer and musician, Juventino Rosas. You may not recognize its title, “Over the Waves,” but I bet you will recognize the tune, which combines a European aesthetic sense with Mexican passion. Rosas was actually here in Mazatlán with diva Angela Peralta when she died, another interesting connection to the plague of our times.

Full program and artist biography: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/valses-mexicanos

 

January 24: Bach Suites for Cello with cellist Arian Castro Murillo

Arián Castro Murillo, cellist

If, like me, you are fascinated by the cello, here is your chance to meditate on some of the best cello music every written, the Bach Suites, which are Indispensable in the repertoire of any accomplished cellist. The pieces will be played by Arián Castro Murillo, principal cellist of the Sinfonietta Philomusica Juventus.

Full program and artist biography: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/suites-de-bach-para-cello 

 

January 31: Spanish Guitar with guitarist Rodolfo Berralleza

Rodolfo Pérez Berrelleza, guitarist

Recipient of a Latin Grammy in 2017, Rodolfo Pérez Berrelleza will delight us with music written for or inspired by Andrés Segovia, who elevated the guitar to a classical instrument. Rodolfo has performed professionally in six countries and appeared on television and radio. 

Full program: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/la-guitarra-española

 

February 7: Barroque Trumpet with Mauro Kuxy

Mauro Kuxyipijy Delgado Díaz, trumpeter

Originally from Oaxaca, Mauro has studied and performed in France, Germany, the USA and throughout México. He will play a thrilling program of baroque style music in which the notes of the trumpet go high into the stratosphere—the most spectacular pieces for the instrument. 

Full program and artist biography: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/trompeta-barroca

 

February 14: Beethoven’s Sonatas with pianist Aldo Tercero

Aldo Tercero, pianist

Aldo Tercero will return to help us finally celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary  with the composer’s most beloved piano sonatas. The audience will quickly understand why the real testament to Beethoven’s music are his 32 piano sonatas, even better than his symphonies. Listening to Aldo perform Moonlight Sonata it will be impossible not to feel the spirituality and to know why the piece is so beloved.

Full program and artist biography: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/sonatas-de-beethoven

 

February 21: Culiacán Brass Quintet

Culiacán Brass Quintet

The largest performing group this season, Culiacán Brass Quintet is composed of musicians of different nationalities who have come together to interpret characteristic as well as original music. For this performance they will play a very happy set of music ranging from baroque through jazz and Latin; some pieces are almost Dixieland. 

Full program and quintet profile: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/culiacan-brass

 

February 28: The Art of the Horn with Gordon Campbell

Gordon Campbell, hornist

Maestro Campbell himself is, of course, a horn player, and he will finish out this season by giving us a demonstration of five different instruments— a panorama of how the horn developed. Horns were used in hunting and as signals. They eventually made their way into the orchestra and gained valves. 

Full program and artist biography: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/el-arte-del-corno

SEASON RECAP

  • When: Sundays at 5pm, January 10-February 28, 2021
  • Where: The interior open-air patio of La Casona on the Plazuela Machado
  • Tickets cost 350 pesos and are for sale at Panamá in front of the cathedral or in the Golden Zone, Pedro y Lola on the Machado, and at La Casona the day of the event.
  • Each concert will last between 60 and 75 minutes

Enjoy this treasured annual series.

Behind the Scenes of the 9th Temporada Campbell

CARTELERA-768x768

The 9th Temporada Gordon Campbell brings us loads of live music with first-rate global performers. Concerts are generally at noon on Sundays in Mazatlán’s gorgeously restored, historic Angela Peralta Theater.

Error
This video doesn’t exist

As usual, Maestro Campbell and his wife, Guianeya Román, joined me to give the VidaMaz.com community a “behind the scenes” peak into each concert this season. You can enjoy their commentaries in the short videos below.

Bach’s Magnificat, Sunday January 12, 2020 at noon in the TAP
This next Sunday in the Angela Peralta Theater you can enjoy Bach’s “Magnificat” as sung by the Culiacán Community Chorus with a solo performed by the marvelous tenor from Mexico City, Leonardo Villeda. We are privileged to have Leonardo perform here. In addition to his voice talent, he is director of the well regarded Ad Hominem Chorus in the capital. He and Gordon are such good friends that his 150 person chorus sang at Gordon and Guia’s 50-person wedding! Hear this behind-the-scenes story in the video below.

The soprano will be Perla Orrantia, and second soprano Jessica Toledo, the nineteen year old who started singing with the chorus as a ten-year-old girl. We are so blessed in Mazatlán to watch terrifically talented singers of international caliber grow up before our eyes and in our ears! Susan Sanga will be the mezzo—first time as a soloist in Mexico. Baritone Alejandro Hernandez, soloist in the cathedral concert recently, will also sing.

Mozart and His Women, Sunday 19 January, 2020 at noon in the TAP
The letters between Mozart, his wife, daughter, sister and friends are harvested to create this highly innovative, heart-touching show that provides the story behind some of the best music he composed. Narrated by Angelica Aragón (daughter of local music and film legend Ferrusquilla) while the Camerata Campbell plays, and featuring soprano Perla Orrantia. Below Gordon and his wife, Guia, share the story.

American Quartet by Dvořák, Sunday 26 January, 2020 at noon in the TAP
Antonín Dvořák wrote this piece in 1893 while he was director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York—while spending the summer in, of all places, Spillville, Iowa. In Spillville, Dvořák found an active Czech immigrant community in which he was able to speak his native language and enjoy the feel of home. He finished the chamber piece in less than a month. According to music critic Betsy Schwarm, the composer set out to capture “the spirit of America music in its melodic flow and harmonic construction.” The Marketo String Quartet returns to Mazatlán to perform the four string movements.

Mozart’s Gran Partita, Sunday 2 February, 2020 at noon and 5 pm in Casa Haas
The Sinfonietta Philomúsica Juventus, a group of young people in Culiacán who have asked Maestro Campbell to direct a youth orchestra in addition to the adult Camerata Campbell. Many of them are children or students of the musicians in the camera. In this program 13 wind players will perform Mozart’s best wind music, Serenade No. 10.

Corky Siegel Sings the Blues, Sunday 9 February, 2020 at noon in the TAP
Mazatlán’s beloved, international acclaimed, Corky Siegel returns, playing harmonica and piano while he sings the blues! What a treat this will be! The maestro promises that Corky is living proof leprechauns exist.

3 Centuries of Chamber Music, Sunday 16 Feb, 2020 at noon and 5 pm in Casa Haas
The talented string musicians of the new Sinfonietta Philamúsica Juventus join us this time for the group’s second performance during this 9th Season Gordon Campbell. They will play more than three centuries of music, starting with Renaissance music through 20th century sounds. Gordon’s introduction of the concert below:

The post-Carnaval portion fo the season will include three performances in March, including the Maestro’s personal favorite: his first time ever performance with his son!

Father & Son: Gordon & Alexander Campbell, Sunday 1 Mar, 2020 at noon in the TAP
It was a huge pleasure to meet Gordon’s long-lost and very talented son, and to see the love and joy between these two men now that they are reconnected. I for one can not wait for this concert!

Please forgive the fuzziness of the video; perhaps my concussion is still playing with my brain. I do think the stories are very worth the listen.

The Romantic Music of America, Sunday March 8 at noon in the TAP
The Rondalla will return to their welcoming Mazatlecan crowd

Looking Out for Number 1, Sunday March 15 at noon in the TAP
For the final concert of the 2020 season we will enjoy the young piano prodigy, Hermann Valdez Fregoso, with both the adult Camerata Campbell and the youth orchestra, playing Beethovens Symphony No. 1 and Piano Concerto No. 1.

Buy your tickets at the Angela Peralta box office, either for individual performances or with terrific discounts on season tickets. The Camerata and the Youth Orchestra (this latter completely volunteer) are labors of love. Your donations to support the musical mission are gratefully accepted and are tax deductible.