FORT WORTH You can always count on the Fort Worth Opera for a little risk-taking. This year, the company’s annual festival featured a mariachi opera; next year, it will feature a tango opera.
The tango opera may be a little less risky: It’s “María de Buenos Aires” by Astor Piazzolla, the famous Argentinean tango composer and musician. It features mezzo-soprano Solange Merdinian, who was praised — as the release notes — by The New York Times for her “smoldering stage presence.” It also stars Mexican-American baritone Luis Alejandro Orozco.
But the cast member that’s going to get a lot of people’s attention, whether they’re opera fans or not, is Gaby Natale, the Emmy-winning host and executive producer of “SuperLatina,” a Vme-TV show that happens to be produced in Fort Worth.
Natale shares the Argentinean background with Piazzolla and Merdinian: According to a September 2016 story for the Star-Telegram’s Indulge magazine, Natale and her husband, Andres “Andy” Suarez, moved away from their native Argentina in 2003. She established herself as a journalist by working as a reporter for TV Azteca in Mexico (2004) and as a news anchor for Univision in Texas (2004-2007). She launched her show in Midland-Odessa in 2007, the year she earned her green card.I n July 2014, less than a year after Natale became a U.S. citizen, SuperLatina went national on Vme-TV.
Natale is also a bestselling author who was the keynote speaker at the just kicked-off Talent Woman in Guadalajara, Mexico. A release calls it the most influential conference in the region for female entrepreneurs. But so far, she’s skewed closer to Oprah than opera, and this will be her first stab at the latter.
“María de Buenos Aires” is described as being about “a young woman [Merdinian] living in the slums of Buenos Aires, who finds herself seduced by the sounds of tango.” Orozoco plays El Payador, a “traveling, romantic balladeer,” and Natale plays “the mischievous El Duende.”
Texas Christian University alum John de los Santos, who has directed and choreographed for Fort Worth Opera and around the country, will be the director and choreographer for “María de Buenos Aires.” According to the release, “Scott Terrell, international guest conductor and Music Director of the Lexington Philharmonic, [will lead] a chamber ensemble of musicians from the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, alongside Argentinean bandoneon player Juan Pablo Jofre, and a group of tango dancers.”
“María de Buenos Aires” will kick off the 2018 Fort Worth Opera Festival on April 27 at Bass Hall. It will be sung in Spanish with supertitles in English and Spanish. Tickets are $75, available at www.fwopera.org. For more information, call 817-731-0726 or toll-free at 877-396-7372.