Havana's Opera de la Calle (Opera of the Street - see video below), whose mission is to bring opera to the widest audience in Cuba, will stage the inaugural production of Hatuey: Memory of Fire opening March 3, 2017, Theater Arenal, Havana, Cuba. Click here for rehearsal photos.
Elise Thoron (writer) and Frank London (composer) have joined in a historic cultural and artistic collaboration with Ulises Aquino Guerra, the founding director of the Opera de la Calle, to bring this new opera to the people of Cuba. Ulises relishes this opportunity to bring this new perspective on the legendary Cuban hero "Hatuey" to his audiences, uniting the hero-myth, the story of Jewish immigration in Cuba, and the fusion of Spanish and Yiddish song.
The inaugural production of Hatuey: Memory of Fire will be during the first ever Celebration of Cuban Jewish Culture, March 1 – 5, 2017, curated by scholar and writer Ruth Behar. The production will be under the auspices of the Cuban Ministry of Culture and the Jewish Community Center of Cuba, El Patronato. The Celebration will be a major cultural event in Cuba and promote cultural and artistic collaboration between the USA and Cuba in this time of opening relations. Click here for their website.
We are raising $75,000 in support of this production, of which $25,000 has been committed. Your funding will support the costs of production and cultural exchange, including singers, actors, design team, creative team; and scenery, costumes, lighting, video, copying and printing score and script. After the festival, Opera de la Calle will continue to present the opera within its repertory, at its theaters in Havana and throughout Cuba exposing tens of thousands to the work. Any amount donated is appreciated, we are especially seeking supporters at commitment levels of $10,000; $5,000; $2,500; $1,000; $500. All contributions are deeply appreciated.
Contributions to the production of Hatuey: Memory of Fire can be made through the Fund for Reconciliation and Development and are fully tax-deductible. Donations may be made online here. Please be sure to specify "Hatuey" in the area labeled "Designate your donation to a specific program or fund."
Or you can send a check made out to "Fund for Reconciliation and Development", marked for "Hatuey Project" to:
c/o Fund for Reconciliation and Development
64 Jean Court
Riverhead, NY 11901
We thank you for your support of this exciting endeavor, and invite you to join us in Havana!
Hatuey – Memory of Firehas been developed with support for symposiums and creative residencies from Slifka Center at Yale University, Sundance Institute Theater Program, Music Theatre Group, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund's Pocantico Center. We are deeply grateful for their support and belief in the project.
Maestro Ulises Aquino Guerra, Director General, Compañía Opera de la Calle. The leading figure in Cuban Opera, Ulises founded Opera de la Calle in 2006 to integrate Cuban popular traditions with opera. Hugely successful, Opera de la Calle company of more than 120 singers, actors, and musicians now has annual attendance of thousands, performing not only in its two theaters, but also in plazas and theaters throughout Cuba. Described as "authentic, energizing, and joyful", Opera de la Calle performances are a must see for Cuban audiences and visitors alike.
Elise Thoron, librettist. Elise is a playwright, director, educator, who brings stories which have not been widely heard to life on stage. She previously collaborated with Frank London to create Green Violin, based on the story of Marc Chagall and the Soviet Yiddish Theatre, commissioned by the Prince Music Theater, Philadelphia (Winner 4 Barrymore Awards); Teatr na Mokhovaya, St. Petersburg; Jewish Music Festival, Amsterdam; Jewish Museum, New York; published in Nine Contemporary Jewish Plays.
Frank London, composer. Frank co-founded the Klezmatics in 1986, and plays trumpet and keyboard and sings with the group and he's written many of the Klezmatics' most popular songs. But his mile-long resumé has also seen Frank adding virtuosity to hundreds of concerts and recordings by everyone from John Zorn to They Might Be Giants, Mel Torme to Iggy Pop, Pink Floyd, Youssou N'dour, LaMonte Young, Allen Ginsberg and LL Cool J! Called the "mystical high priest of Avant-Klez jazz," Frank has made 30 solo recordings and is featured on over 400 CDs.
Ruth Behar is the organizer of the first ever Celebration of Jewish Culture festival in Cuba, March 1-5, 2017. Ruth was born in Havana, Cuba, and grew up in New York. She is the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Ruth has worked as an ethnographer in Spain, Mexico, and Cuba, and is known for her humanistic approach to understanding identity, immigration, and the search for home in our global era. Her many books explore these themes. Ruth was the first Latina to be awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellows Award.
Diane Wondisford, Co-producer. As Producing Director of Music-Theatre Group, Diane Wondisford, oversees the making of music-theatre from scratch; ranging from quiet work with composers, writers, directors and designers in the conceptual phase of their creations to the controlled chaos of the performing company's first attempts to physicalize the words and music, to sitting amidst the audience at a performance of MTG's work and providing timely feedback to the creators and their company.
Michael Posnick, Co-producer. A graduate of Yale Drama School, Michael has directed more than 100 plays in venues including Manhattan Theatre Club, Yale Repertory Theatre and Lincoln Center. His interest in theatre celebrating Jewish themes spans decades; he served as Artistic Director of the Mosaic Theatre at the 92nd St. Y. A Professor Emeritus of Manhattanville College, he has taught at Yale, Hunter College, the National Theatre Institute and the National Theatre of the Deaf. He co-authored Nine Contemprary Jewish Plays, published by University of Texas Press. He is married to Asher Penn's daughter, Eileen.