Dúo de Amor

The Velada de las Artes last night, Saturday 19 February at 8 pm in the Angela Peralta Theater—entitled Dúo de Amor—was spectacular and left me with my mouth hanging open quite a few times.

The crowd was greeted in the lobby by the Guillermo Sarabia Chorus, waiters passing red wine, and a beautifully draped and chandeliered ceiling. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

The chandeliers continued through to the theater and on the stage, making for a stunning effect. The first subject of the evening was to award the Mazatlán Literature Prize, one of the most prestigious awards given out during Carnaval. Prior recipients have included Ángeles Mastretta, Fernando del Paso, Octavio Paz, Francisco Hernández, my favorite, Elena Poniatowska and Carlos Fuentes.

2019’s awardee is Guillermo Fadanelli, who was recognized for his body of work—Lodo, Educar a los topos, Mis mujeres muertas, El hombre nacido en Danzig, and Hotel DF are a few of his best-known novels, and he also writes essays. Fadanelli’s works have been translated into six languages. José Ignacio Lizárraga, Ernesto Velázquez Briseño and Alejandro Páez Varela comprised this year’s panel of judges.

Fadanelli received the award from Óscar Blancarte Pimentel, Director of our Instituto de Cultura, Turismo y Arte de Mazatlán, as well as from our two 2019 queens, Karla II and Yamilé I.

For such a prestigious event in such a gorgeously historic venue, Fadanelli could have at least tucked in his shirt, or even pressed it. But Ithe crowd did enjoy his bright red shoes and Ivery much appreciated his remarks. “Culture is life, it’s an extensión of our thoughts, it’s the desire to be someone… language amplifies our imagination… words, language and writing help us better the world,” he remarked in accepting the prize.


After the award presentation we had a short break, so the sofas and podium on stage could be changed out to make room for the Camerata Mazatlán and part of the Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes. The musicians did an incredible job. It was a night of love and passion, with arias from Die Fiedermaus, Turandot, l’amico FritzAndrea Chénier, A Masked BallAida, Nabucco, and Madame Butterfly.


The highlight of the evening were the two international opera star headliners: soprano Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs, and tenor Dario Di Vietri. Kudos to the stage light professionals, as they did an excellent job. There were no costuming, props or backgrounds, but via the music, the incredible voices,  acting and lighting, the audience was transported to each opera and filled with the passion intended in each aria. The audience demanded, and got, two encores.

We all know how blessed we are to live in Mazatlán, where we can enjoy world-class cultural events in intimate spaces at affordable prices. Last night, however, was over the top. Where in the world can you enjoy a renowned symphony conductor encouraging the audience to sing along with the stars on stage? Or witness the two stars vamping an incredibly campy, passionate kiss, only to break out into heartfelt laughter that delights the soul? Or witness the conductor scold a queen for over-use of her cell phone, or joke about a percussionist’s mishap on stage? The only reminder of our small-town-ness were the frayed carpets and the dirty podium on stage. In the presence of such incredible artists, surely we can do better than that.


The theater was nearly full. Carnaval royalty from this year and last year atended, as did Papik Ramírez Bernal, Director General of the Instituto Sinaloense de Cultura, and Victoria Aída Tatto Prieto, State Director of Cultura.

Carnaval has officially begun, people. We have our royalty, we have our award winners. Now get ready to party!

2019 Camerata Campbell Series

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The 2019 Temporada Campbell started off with a bang—a Big Bang. Entitled “The Big Bang Without the Theory,” the outstanding percussion concert did include a bit of theory after all. Click any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

Quick! Do you know how many types of percussive instruments there are? Two main categories: membranophones and idiophones. And what differentiates the two?

The Camerata’s Percussion Ensemble has played for us before, and they always astound—especially because they are so young to be so incredibly talented!

Mazatlán, we are in luck, as this was the first concert of this Sunday at Noon series, which continues through the end of February. Do NOT miss getting your tickets and enjoying a Sunday afternoon of pleasurable music followed by a lunch al fresco in historic downtown. February 27th should be of particular interest to our readers. See you in the theater!

Behind the Chamber 2017: Gala Handel

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Every winter in Mazatlán we are privileged to enjoy a series of innovative chamber concerts on Sundays at noon. The Campbell Chamber, or Camerata Campbell, was formed in 2012, and its repertoire is based on classical and baroque music. It is an independent project supported by CULTURA Mazatlán, Instituto Sinaloense de Cultura, Proyecto Centro Histórico Mazatlán, our two local hotel associations, as well as the local and foreign communities.

This year’s season will take place January 15 through March 5, 2017. Usually the concerts are held in the Angela Peralta Theater, but twice this season Carnavál events will dictate that the concerts take place in Casa Haas. You can purchase your tickets for specific concerts (300 pesos each) or a series pass (2000 pesos) at the Angela Peralta Theater box office—open 9am-3pm and 5-7pm—or online at CULTURA Mazatlán.

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In 2015 we published a series of “Behind the Chamber” interviews with Gordon and his wife and collaborator, Guianeya Román. So many of you told us how delightful and helpful those sneak peeks were that we have reprised the interviews again this season.

January 15, 2017 is the first concert in the annual series, at noon in the Angela Peralta Theater. Entitled “Gala Handel,” the concert will feature the full Community Chorus of Culiacán as well as baritone José Manuel González Caro. The choir has never before opened the Campbell Season, so be sure not to miss it. Piano, concertino, violin, viola, cello, bass, trumpets, oboe, timpani and clavecin will accompany the singers. Would you like to hear the Maestro’s “sneak peek” about the performance? Listen up:

Support the Camerata
Tax-deductible donations to recover costs of the Camerata and the community chorus are received by the Patronato Philomusica AC, Banco Bajio account number 14166839. Your donation is tax-deductible in Mexico and worldwide. Please help support the high caliber of arts in our community by pledging generously!

Maestro Gordon Campbell
Director of our state symphony, the Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes, Maestro Gordon Campbell was born in Youngstown, Ohio. Most of his life he has played the coronet professionally, and he directed orchestras in Paraguay, Uruguay and the USA in addition to Mexico. His multicultural experience has lead Gordon to produce innovative programming with a fusion of influences, blending classical and baroque music with Big Band, mariachi, tango, danzón, and the sounds of Paquito d’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, the Beatles, Queen, Ferrusquilla and Pedro Infante.

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Maestro Gordon Campbell

Gordon received Mexico’s most prestigious classical music award—the Mozart Media—in 2007, awarded to him at the Palacio Nacional de Bellas Artes in 2007 by the Austrian Ambassador. Twice his orchestras have been invited to perform at the internationally respected Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato: once with the Aguascalientes state orchestra in 1997, and again with the Sinaloa state orchestra in 2012.