María de Buenos Aires

Maria de Buenos Aires

Friday, May 4, 7:30 pm
Sunday, May 6, 2:30 pm
Soreng Theater at the Hult Center


Starring Catalina Cuervo in the title role and featuring world-acclaimed tango dancers Fernanda Ghi & Guillermo Merlo, this uniquely beautiful tango operita by Argentinian composer Ástor Piazzolla was first performed in Buenos Aires in 1968.

It’s an intoxicating blend of music, poetry, and dance—a celebration of the joy, sadness, and mystery of life.

María is a prostitute “born on a day when God was drunk.” Drifting through the Buenos Aires underworld, immersed in the rhythms of tango and the spicy language of the streets, María is murdered by criminals. She returns as a ghost to haunt her old neighborhoods, and she gives birth to a child who may be herself. While the story itself is exotic and surreal, this uniquely beautiful opera conveys a palpable sense of the gritty streets of Buenos Aires, where life and death are drenched in the passion and poetry of the tango.

This work is Eugene Opera’s first production in Spanish. It will be performed in Spanish, with English supertitles.

Scroll down to read about the outstanding artists who will bring María de Buenos Aires to life in the Soreng Theater, May 4 & 6, 2018.


Catalina Cuervo (María)


Known as the "Fiery Soprano" Colombian-born Catalina Cuervo holds the distinction of having performed the most performances of Piazzolla's "Maria de Buenos Aires."
“If there is such a thing as a perfect role for a singer, then María is mine.” —Catalina Cuervo

Known as the “Fiery Soprano,” Colombian-born Catalina Cuervo holds the distinction of having performed the most performances of Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires. Ms. Cuervo has performed the role of “María” for numerous prestigious companies including Florida Grand Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Syracuse Opera to name a few.

In 2015, Ms. Cuervo made her debut in Detroit with much success as Frida Kahlo in the opera Frida with Michigan Opera Theater. This opera gave her a huge following in the state of Michigan and ended with all sold out shows and triumphant reviews, one even calling Frida the best Opera of the 2015 season.

Besides singing, Catalina Cuervo is also a successful model, fitness enthusiast and Belly Dancer.

“Soprano Catalino Cuervo sang María with full-throated passion, her ability to articulate tango rhythm while spinning long, sensuous lines a marvel to behold.” —Chicago Tribune

Visit Catalina Cuervo’s YouTube channel


Paul La Rosa (El Payador)


Paul La Rosa
Paul La Rosa

American baritone Paul La Rosa continues to gain recognition on the strengths of his vocal appeal and charismatic stage presence. 2018 witnesses Mr. La Rosa’s return to San Diego Opera and his debut with Eugene Opera, for the respective company premieres of Piazzolla’s tango-opera María de Buenos Aires, and his Princeton Festival debut as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly.

Mr. La Rosa has joined the rosters of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, Los Angeles Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Central City Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Houston Grand Opera.

Mr. La Rosa enjoyed a long association with the late Maestro Lorin Maazel, appearing under the maestro’s baton in opera and concert at the Castleton Festival, at Spain’s Palacio de la Ópera and at Rome’s historic Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.


 Milton Loayza (El Duende)


Milton Loayza

Argentine born Milton Loayza is a stage actor and director who has lately focused on bringing Latin American works to the stage. In Syracuse, New York, he has recently appeared in his own stagings of Ella/She by Susana Torres Molina, Asunción by Ricardo Monti and Don’t Blame Anyone, this last consisting of his own adaptation of short stories by Julio Cortázar.

Milton has previously taken the role of “El Duende” in Maria de Buenos Aires at Atlanta Opera, Syracuse Opera, Anchorage Opera, Grand Rapids Opera, Mill City Summer Opera in Minneapolis, and New Orleans Opera. He also recorded an album of classical Argentine tangos, Se ha mezclao la vida, and this year premiered a staged concert Tango & Borges.

Milton earned a doctoral degree in Theatre Studies from the City University of New York Graduate Center and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at State University of New York at Oswego.


Fernanda Ghi & Guillermo Merlo


Fernanda Ghi & Guillermo Merlo

Fernanda and Guillermo are true legends in the world of Argentine tango. Renowned for their elegant style, unique interpretation, creative choreography and powerful command of the stage, they have toured internationally for well over a decade now. Guillermo was the recipient of the 1997 and 1998 TONY for Best Choreography for the show ‘Forever Tango’ on Broadway and the couple won first place in the WORLD Argentine Tango Championship in 1999. Fernanda and Guillermo have performed in concert with several Symphony Orchestras (New Mexico, Long Beach, Costa Mesa) and were commissioned the creation of a tango ballet for the Tulsa Ballet Dance Company. They were the feature dancers on the PBS special ‘Tango Magic’ with Pablo Ziegler and the Orpheus Orchestra and had the honor of being the first non-Asians ever invited to perform at the Imperial Theater in Tokyo.


Also featuring local tango dancers Marisela Rizik and Deanna Murphy


Marisela Rizik
Marisela Rizik
Deanna Murphy


And Ballet Fantastique dancers Jim Ballard and Gustavo Ramirez


Jim Ballard
Gustavo Ramirez


Friday, May 4, 2018 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 2:30 pm
Soreng Theater at the Hult Center