The newest composition of Miguel Farías with libretto by Alberto Mayol and staging by Jorge Lavelli, is a musical journey between rancheras, boleros and classical music that arrives this June 9th to Municipal de Santiago.
El Cristo de Elqui is an opera of four acts and a prologue, is the fruit of a long work of one of the most radical Chilean composers, Miguel Farías, known for his opera Renca, Paris and Nits. The libretto, in the hands of the sociologist and former presidential candidate Alberto Mayol, is based on the novels The Art of the Resurrection and Queen Isabel sang rancheras by the national author Hernán Rivera Letelier.
The staging of this premiere, is the renowned French-Argentine régisseur Jorge Lavelli with musical direction by Pedro-Pablo Prudencio. The baritone Patricio Sabaté, recognized for his role as Figaro in the Barber of Seville, will play the Christ of Elqui, while the mezzo-soprano Evelyn Ramírez, famous for the roles of Leonora Dorini in the Triumph of Honor and for her character Sonyetka in Lady Macbeth, among others, will interpret in this production the Queen Isabel. For its part, the young soprano Yaritza Véliz, selected to be part of the Young Talents programme of the Royal Opera House in London, will play Magalena.
“Directing a new opera is always a challenge, where you have a world to discover. The fact that there are no previous records has its difficulty, but that is the entertaining of the challenges … With respect to music, it mixes many styles, each character and personality has its own musical style, for example the policemen have a very harmonic music and correct, without dissonance and very simple. On the other hand Magalena has an almost impressionist music, while the characters who live in madness have more dissonance and a tension that does not get resolved. Or Queen Isabel singing rancheras with the guitar in hand … I believe that each country, each institution and those of us working in culture have the obligation to help, encourage and work on new creations to grow culture, giving space to new productions ” the Musical Director Pedro-Pablo Prudencio comments on the construction of El Cristo del Elqui and the value of creating new operas.
Miguel Farías, the composer of the opera, anticipates that “in the objectsRivera Letelier builds, there is a lot of musicality, a lot of humor and drama, and there is also a lot of sensibility and sensuality at the same time. I was super faithful to that language of Rivera Letelier, although it is from my compositional language, I tried to assimilate them. There are some critics that have said that I am eclectic, I believe that I do not have problem in putting popular music like music with more complex sonalities. My favorite composers of the twentieth century are Peter Eötvös, George Ligeti, even this opera may have a reminiscence to Prokofiev. What I do and I like very much, is that I like the concept of imaginary folklore, because it is how one creates patterns to resemble a style of folklore. What I seek to transmit in this opera through sound is a narrative context, and also for example personality spaces of characters and situations. It is about understanding the sound of the desert and the soul of the pampa, of which El Cristo de Elqui would be the most detailed representation of the paradoxes of a place where a new messiah can appear or where the existence of a crazy fanatic can be denounced and win followers. ”
With respect to the libretto, Alberto Mayol comments: “We use four pillars, which are the failed resurrection of Lazaro by El Cristo de Elqui in the north and the death of the Queen, who come from Rivera Letelier’s books. And the historic thing is the reception in the Station Mapocho of Cristo de Elqui with thousands of people and the letter of Cardinal José María Caro saying that it is not Christ. It is the story of that trajectory with failures and then with great success and then with the appearance of the social order that says this can not continue. On the one hand,It is a reflection regarding the history of Chile, the role of the Church, but it is also a reflection on spirituality, on what it means to believe, what it means not to believe “.
The costumer and set designer Graciela Galán comments that El Cristo de Elqui is a phenomenon that has happened in several parts of the world, so “we try to do something Chilean, but at the same time it is universal”.