Nicholas Mulroy: Maria de Buenos Aires

It’s fair to say there’s nothing quite like María de Buenos Aires. The piece doesn’t really come in a form that can easily be pinned down – Piazzolla called it a tango operita but that doesn’t really help us! Part ballet, part dreamscape, part opera, part Classical drama (with its sinisterly tenebrous spoken Greek chorus) and part surrealist trawl through the dark corners of the city and the psyche. From these diverse threads, Piazzolla is able to weave something staggeringly original and new, that is unlikely to sound quite like anything you’ve heard before.

When we did this piece in 2013 I emerged from the whole experience a little like the listener emerges from hearing María – as if out of a dream; looking at the world slightly differently. This music is infectious, and radiates a vitality and a magic that I find is utterly irresistible and that stays with me for weeks afterwards. It’s not often done – partly because it’s bafflingly not so well known, but also because of its unique challenges and unconventional musical set-up (extended tango band, three singers and spoken chorus) - so this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to record María, and for you to hear this amazing, unique, glamorous masterpiece again and again!

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photo: Andy Catlin

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