Last night I attended a tango performance in Galería Güemes, a restored Belle Époque building in Buenos Aires. The Art Noveau design is gorgeous and the building has a gallery, apartments, offices, and restaurants as well as the tango theater and cabaret.
The Four Seasons of Tango by Piazzolla Tango was performed in the Galeria’s underground theater. The performance featured the traditional songs of Astor Piazzolla, the world’s foremost composer of Tango music.
The Argentine version of tango requires great physical strength. The power and energy of the wonderful dancers was impressive! The show lasted two hours with amazing music, dancing, and singing.
The performance included twenty vignettes accompanied by musicians – two bandoneons, two violins, a bass, and a piano. In between tangos, singers performed solos and passionate duets. Each tango was unique with spectacular costumes and lighting.
Astor Pantaleón Piazzolla
Astor Pantaleón Piazzolla was born in 1921 in Argentina. When he was a boy his family moved to New York City where Astor’s father gave him a bandoneón (similar to an accordion). He took lessons and became a virtuoso.
In New York Astor met Argentine actor and singer Carlos Gardel, famous for his tango ballads. Gardel became a close family friend. He hired Astor as a translator and encouraged him to become an actor.
Astor made a short appearance in one of Gardel’s tango movies – El Día Que Me Quieras (The Day You Love Me). The small part introduced him to classical Tango and the many ways of expressing tango. Astor became the bandoneonist and composer who changed tango music forever by incorporating elements from jazz and classical music.
Piazzolla’s family returned to Argentina in 1936. Astor started playing in bands and joined several famous orchestras. He continued producing experimental compositions through the 40s and 50s. During the 60s through the 90s he perfected his controversial style and performed all over the world. In June 1983, Piazzolla proudly played a program dedicated to his music at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.
The extraordinary performance last night inspired me to take a few tango lessons before leaving Buenos Aires. It will be a fun experience. During the time here I’ve seen the presence of tango everywhere. Buenos Aires and tango are inseparable – exciting city, exciting dance.
Since the performance ended late I decided to take a taxi and not ride the subway. At night the city lights in Buenos Aires are magic. It was a lovely ride home!