January 27, 1986
Tango
Composer:Robert Xavier Rodriguez
Librettist:Robert Xavier Rodriguez
Synopsis
Tango (1985) is a one-act comic concert opera for tenor solo and chamber ensemble. The text was compiled by the composer from actual news clippings, letters and sermons from the height of the tango craze (1913-14). There are three short scenes played without pause.

Scene One: The tenor enters as an elegant tango dancer, then quickly changes character and becomes a radio newscaster, reporting world-wide reactions to the tango, both favorable (tango teas, parties, baths and massages) and unfavorable (declared a crime in Boston and a sin in Rome).

Scene Two: The tenor again changes character and becomes Cardinal Basilio Pompili, Vicar of Rome, as he declaims a thunderous sermon denouncing the tango in the name of Pope Pius X, but getting caught up in the tango spirit in spite of himself.

Scene Three: The tenor resumes his newscaster character to report attempts to reform the tango into a more respectable dance called “The Paragon,” with numerous rules for avoiding physical contact between the partners. He impersonates a dance instructor and demonstrates the paragon, but is gradually drawn back to the tango as he exits in his original character as a tango dancer.

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)
00:30

Number of Acts
1

Musical Style
Concert Opera for Tenor and Chamber Ensemble

Vocal & Musical Forces
Tenor

Original Cast
Paul Sperry (Tenor)


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