Miami Transfer. Promotional Video
Interview [In Spanish]
Miami Transfer ~ The new opera
The Opera Atelier (TOA) is a nonprofit organization in the field of opera with a double emphasis in performance and education, based in Miami, Fl. As its motto “Culture for the Mind and the Heart'' proclaims, TOA explores timeless issues of the human condition - as well as those posed by contemporary life and society -. Cross-pollination with diverse art forms and meaningful international exchange facilitate this exploration while bringing new perspectives to the art of opera, whose repertory often centers on a few tried-and-true masterpieces.
The Miami Transfer Project was initially inspired by the seminal Manhattan Transfer novel by John Dos Passos and its intersection with the language and the subjects of his contemporary Edward Hopper. As in its counterpart, Miami Transfer was to exult a city that had come of age. The work, celebrating the variegated lives of our city and Miami’s unique landscape, was to explore timeless subjects such as love and friendship, as well as contemporary themes such as alienation, immigration, and mental illness -within the existential encounters and dis-encounters of modern urban life. The artistic language was to combine dance, cinematographic elements, and performance art, emphasizing the wisdom of the body, and exploring the intersections of the art forms along a common expressive thread. The characters were to inhabit Hopper-like spaces with a Miami twist developed by contemporary Venezuelan sculptor Xiomara Ponce, and virtual scenographer Jacqueline Solórzano.
Since both Dos Passos and Hopper were greatly influenced by film, Miami Transfer was to incorporate Dos Passos's nonlinear approach, as well as montage and fragmentation, film techniques Dos Passos used to great advantage in Manhattan Transfer. Hopper reported “going on a movie binge” when he was not feeling creative. His paintings resemble picture frames, with lonely subjects who seem to be waiting for something to happen or for someone to arrive. Hopper’s techniques, in turn, influenced many film noir works such as The Window (1949), scenes of which parallel Hopper’s Skyline over Washington Square (1925), and other works. T.V. series such as Miami Vice have elevated Miami and its landscape in the collective popular culture as a unique setting to be reckoned with. Miami Transfer scenery would take advantage of technology to generate changing urban landscapes with Hopper's, Ponce, and Torres references intersecting, supported by virtual scenery and cinematographic elements and resources adapted and created by Jacqueline Solórzano.
As the project evolved- in response to artistic reflection, practical considerations, and general circumstances- from when it was formulated over two years ago, the emphasis shifted to the work of artists in solitude in response to the special circumstances and uncertainty of the last two years. As posited by Xiomara, in relation to the New York “melting pot” image, the Cuban migration to Miami could be a valid parallel to that of the many groups that emigrated to NYC.
The theme of exile is central in Cuban literature with José Martí, José María Heredia, Bonifacio Byrne, and Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, to name but a few. Avellaneda penned the famous sonnet “Al Partir”, which expresses the tragedy of exile and the nostalgia of times and places lost. Thus, the theme of exile and uprooting are now central to the project. The project is not be linear but consists of a series of vignettes or scenes in which artists will perform solos and duets and join in a celebratory final scene. The artistic characteristics of the project with regards to the artistic language and production techniques remain in place. The selections by Mercedes Jaruco (Countess Merlin), de Avellaneda and Martí, together with Daniel’s poems will support the theme of exile and uprooting- and extending to that of trying to find one’s bearings amid feelings of being uprooted and exiled, even in familiar environments. And as Sandra said to Daniel, “mourning what once was”.
Miami Transfer is a project of team creation (creation colectiva). The artistic team is international. The composer and musical director are Luis Prado, and the coordinator for the libretto is Daniel Daroca. The choreography has been created by Carmen Werner and Roberto Torres, who will perform it, while Sandra López will be the soprano soloist.
The partner organizations, Provisional Danza, and Companía Nómada, led respectively by their founders Carmen Werner and Roberto Torres, bring to the table brilliant trajectories as dancers and prolific choreographers. Sandra López, in turn, brings her successful career fashioning the great heroines of opera in some of the greatest opera theatres of the world. Luis Gustavo Prado’s body of work encompasses diverse genres- from the piano concerto to the symphonic works with great inspiration and superb technique. The Opera Atelier and Provisional Danza had already established the basis for this upcoming collaboration with the work Embraces, a fusion of opera and dance presented in Miami in September 2019, which is expected to be reprised later this year.