Maria de Buenos Aires

by Ástor Piazzolla

In the slums of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Maria is born "on a day that God was drunk...with a curse in her voice". Consumed by passion and a desire for freedom, Maria rejects innocent love and is seduced by the streets. Her fate is sealed as she is claimed by the seedy underworld, but returns to haunt the gritty streets she once owned.

The sensual pulse of Argentine tango sets the stage for this surreal and captivating work by composer Ástor Piazzolla and librettist Horacio Ferrer. Filled with the passionate pulse of the tango and Buenos Aires itself, Maria de Buenos Aires grips you from the first note and will not let go.

The tale opens on Duende (the Narrator) who relates the story of Maria, a prostitute born in the slums “one day when God was drunk … with a curse in her voice.” Maria is seduced by the rhythms of the tango and soon becomes “the most sorcerous singer and lover” in Buenos Aires. However, her “fatal passion” arouses the wrath of robbers and brothel madams who shoot her to death, and bury her in an unmarked grave. In death, Maria is pulled into a dreamlike Hell where she encounters the choral circus of psychoanalysts who dissect her to the core. She makes a resurrection of sorts when the Duende summons her to return as a Shadow, give birth to a new Maria, and haunt the sordid streets of Buenos Aires which she once walked.