El retablo de maese Pedro: 100th anniversary

PostClassical Ensemble in collaboration with The Foundation for Iberian Music Presents Entwined: A Double Feature

PCE celebrates the 100th anniversary of the seminal opera “El retablo de maese Pedro” with animation, flamenco dancing and a premiere performance about Spanish artists Manual de Falla and Frederico Garcia Lorca, starring David Strathairn and Robin DeJesus

See full PROGRAM here: RetabloDeMaesePedro

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Manuel de Falla’s seminal chamber opera El retablo de maese Pedro, inspired by Don Quixote, PostClassical Ensemble (PCE) will present Entwined: A Double Feature on Wednesday, April 19 at The Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater at 7:30pm.

As the name implies, this concert, which has been named an advanced ‘critic’s choice’ by Washington Classical Review, will feature two separate performances. The evening will be centered around the 100th anniversary of the Spanish comic opera El retablo de maese Pedro (Master Peter’s Puppet Show), which is rarely performed in the United States but is a seminal work in the Spanish canon. This performance is presented in partnership with the Embassy of Spain as part of a global celebration of the opera’s anniversary.

“Master Peter’s Puppet Show, written in 1923, is possibly Manuel de Falla’s best work,” PCE Music Director, Angel Gil-Ordóñez, “It’s a trip into the past but understood not as nostalgia but as the starting point of an original and innovative way for composition in a new Century.”

The first presentation of the evening will be the first public showing of Entwined: Love’s Magicians, a new multi-disciplinary performance piece created by acclaimed playwright/director Derek Goldman (Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski). The piece is a ‘concert reading’ inspired by the deep and unlikely friendship between Federico García Lorca, widely regarded as the greatest Spanish poet of the twentieth century, and Manuel de Falla, Spain’s most prominent composer of the period. The role of Falla will be read by Emmy Award winner David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck, Nomadland, Where The Crawdads Sing) while Lorca will be read by Tony Award Nominee Robin DeJesus (Tick, Tick, Boom, In the Heights, Wicked, see following photo). The piece will feature projected visual design by Kevork Mourad, Flamenco artists, singer Ismael Fernandez, dancer Sonia Olla, and guitarist Ricardo Marlow, along with the PCE Ensemble.



“On the surface Lorca and Falla were a study in contrasts, given Lorca’s homosexuality and radically expressive exploration of poetic and theatrical forms and Falla’s devout Catholicism and austerity,” says playwright/director Goldman. “But the story of their relationship is an inspiring account of two extraordinary artists bonded through a shared vision of art that emerges from and belongs to the soul of the people. It is also a tragic and timely account of artistic visionaries whose lives and work fell victim to a Fascist political regime.”

Following Goldman’s piece, PCE will present a concert opera version of de Falla’s El retablo de maese Pedro, written in 1923 and inspired by the second part of Don Quixote, set in the early 17th century Spain. In this collaboration with visual artist Kevork Mourad, the puppets that were used in original versions of the performance will be replaced by animated illustrations synced with the score, some created live on stage. The opera will be conducted by PCE Music Director Angel Gil-Ordóñez and performed by PostClassical Ensemble with an international trio of soloists, that includes vocalists Israel Lozano (tenor), Jennifer Zetlan (soprano) and José Sacín (bass-baritone).

El retablo de maese Pedro was originally dedicated to Princess de Polignac who commissioned the work and who premiered it at her salon in 1923. In the opera, Don Quixote is watching a puppet play. It is a Medieval story of love and quarrels between Moors and Christians, in which Don Gayferos, a knight at Charlemagne’s court, frees his wife Melisendra, who was held captive by Moors.

Entwined: A Double Feature will have a run time of approximately 90 minutes and include conversations contextualizing each piece prior to the performance as well as a post-concert discussion with Gil-Ordóñez, Derek Goldman, and others.Tickets to Entwined are available online through the Kennedy Center at: https://www.kennedy-center.org/whats-on/explore-by-genre/classical-music/2022-2023/entwined-a-double-feature/. All tickets are $45. For other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Kennedy Center Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.

Angel Gil-Ordóñez, a frequent guest conductor across Europe, the United States and Latin America, Angel Gil-Ordóñez holds the positions of Music Director/Conductor of PostClassical Ensemble, Principal Guest Conductor of New York’s Perspectives Ensemble, and Music Director of the Georgetown University Orchestra. He also serves as advisor for education and programming for Trinitate Philharmonia, a program in León, Mexico, modeled on Venezuela’s El Sistema. Originally from Madrid, Spain, Gil-Ordóñez trained under Romanian conductor, composer, musical theorist, and teacher Sergiu Celibidache (1912-1996). Though Gil-Ordóñez’s musical affinities are global, he has long championed Spanish repertoire, including works and composers little-known outside Spain. In 2006 the King of Spain bestowed upon Gil-Ordóñez the Royal Order of Queen Isabella, the country’s highest civilian decoration, for advancing Spanish culture around the world, and in particular for advocating Spanish music in its cultural context.

Derek Goldman is an award-winning international stage director, producer, festival director, playwright, adapter, developer of new work, teacher, and published scholar, whose artistic work has been seen around the country, Off-Broadway and at numerous major regional theaters, as well as around the world. He is Artistic & Executive Director of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, the first signature joint initiative of the School of Foreign Service and Georgetown College, with a mission “to harness the power of performance to humanize global politics.” He has received the President’s Award for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers at Georgetown and the Provost’s Award for Innovation in Teaching for his work as creator of In Your Shoes, an internationally recognized groundbreaking model for using performance to counter polarization. He is the director and co-author of the internationally celebrated production Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, starring David Strathairn, as well as co-director of the feature film adaptation Remember This.

New York-based artist Kevork Mourad employs his technique of live drawing and animation in concert with musicians – developing a collaboration in which art and music harmonize with one another. Counted among his diverse collaborators are Yo-Yo Ma, Kim Kashkashian, and PCE, and they stretch from North America to African, Asia, and the Middle East. Mourad premiered his animated film, 4 Acts for Syria, at the Stuttgart Animation Festival and was the 2016 recipient of the Robert Bosch Stiftung Film Prize. His works are in the permanent collection of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Mourad has been a resident teaching artist at Brandeis University, Harvard University, and Holy Cross (Worcester).

PostClassical Ensemble (PCE) creates a welcoming, inclusive and joyful experience that nourishes the soul, touches the spirit and inspires the mind. Through the brilliant playing of some of the area’s most distinguished musicians, and an array of artistic mediums, PCE strives to capture each composer’s extraordinary vision along with the cultural, political and artistic landscape in which their music was created.