One of the best musical, dance, and theatrical events of the year in Mazatlán occurs the weekend before Carnaval begins—the “Evening of the Arts.” The event makes the sold-out crowd that fills our historic Angela Peralta Theater beam with pride and delight at their good fortune to live here.
Saturday night February 11, 2023, talented Mazatlecos lit the stage of the Angela Peralta Theater on fire. In a program entitled “Pagan Love,” the night was directed by local legend, Maestro Enrique Patrón de Rueda—born, bred, and still residing right here in our port. The Maestro is Artistic Director of the Mexican National Opera Company, of the opera for the Mexico City Philharmonic, and of the Sinaloan Cultural Festival. Maestro Enrique was trained in the Mexican National Conservatory of Music, London Opera Center, the Royal Academy of Music, and Morley College. His conducting style is filled with passion and a heavy expression of emotion, as you can see in the photos below. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.
The Amor Pagano program united Mexico’s National Dance Company, founded in 1963 and the oldest in Mexico; Mazatlán’s Ballet Company, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary; Brújula Dynamic Flamenco from Michoacán; and the Camerata Mazatlán, founded in 2006.
The second Mazatlecan showcased Saturday night was Sarah Holcombe, beautiful and talented mezzosoprano, who sang the first half of the evening’s program: “Amor Brujo” by Manuel de Falla. Born here in our port, Sarah began her opera studies in our local School of Opera under another local legend, Maestra Martha Félix, in 2007. She further developed her skills in the Angela Peralta Chorus and the Gullermo Sarabia Chorus, demonstrating the high caliber of musical education available to local youth.
Director of our Municipal School of Classical Ballet, Maestra Zoila Fernández is Mazatleca by adoption and choice, though she was born and educated in Cuba. Maestra Zoila teaches students as young as seven years old in our local ballet school and sees many through to professional careers with internationally renowned companies throughout the Americas and Europe. She choreographed the program on Saturday night, including the first act’s Amor Brujo and the final act, Carmen by George Bizet. The flamenco portion of the evening’s dance was choreographed by Nashieli Buelna, another Sinaloan talent shining brightly this Evening of the Arts.
The four key dancers from the National Ballet who starred in Carmen were Ana Elisa Mena Chávez as Carmen; Argenis Montalvo as Don José; Roberto Rodríguez as Escamillo; and Martha Mariana Romero Iribe as Destiny. Their performances were breathtaking—incredible strength, flexibility and grace reminded the audience of the unbelievably perfect beauty of a healthy body. The dancers from our Mazatlán Ballet Company and the 43 talented musicians of our Camerata Mazatlán did an outstanding job, making for an incredible night.
The ostensible reason for this incredible night’s entertainment was to celebrate the winner of the Mazatlán Prize for Literature. This year the award went to David Toscana, from Monterey, for his powerful novel entitled, “The Weight of Living on Earth” (El Peso de Vivir en la Tierra).
Many of our resident foreigners and visiting international tourists love Mazatlán for its miles of beaches, her unbelievable sunsets, the warmth and joy of her people, and our wonderful seafood. Yet another reason to love Mazatlán is for the richness and affordability of her cultural arts scene. If you have not availed yourself of CULTURA’s offerings, you are definitely losing out!