Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sounds of Oaxaca

If you wanted to, you could hear a musical performance every day of the week here.
I do.
This week was a case in point. On Monday, I went with my neighbors to the 19th anniversary concert of the Chorus of the City of Oaxaca. Accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of Oaxaca, they performed Mozart's Coronation Mass, along with Handel's Water Music, a Bach prelude, and other tunes. The venue was the Teatro Juarez, a super modern theater with the latest and best in scenic technology. The theater was formerly home to the State Congress of the State of Oaxaca. Here a link with pictures: Admission was 70 pesos, or about $5.

Last night, Saturday, I walked over to a free concert at Teatro Macedonio Alcala (that's the photo above). Opened during the Porfirio Diaz administration in 1909, the grand old wedding cake of a theater is celebrating its centennial with a series of performances. The group, Paulina and El Buscapie, performed traditional music with an emphasis on Son pieces. In the middle of the performance, they announced that a favorite local poet was in the audience and invited him to the stage. He declaimed extemporaneously for about 20 minutes.

Then today, Sunday, I headed down to the town square for breakfast. Afterwards, I noticed them setting up for the weekly free Sunday open air Oaxaca State Band concert "Under the Laurels," big shady bay laurel trees. I had about an hour to kill before they began at 12:30, so I sat and chatted with a visitor from Amsterdam and read the paper. The concert focused on works from opera: Verdi's Nabucco and Aida, Bizet's Carmen, as well as Tchaikovsky's March Slav and a Strauss waltz. It couldn't have been a more idyllic setting, sitting in the zocalo under an enormous shade tree, perfect temps in the 70's, a light breeze, and great music filling the air.

I came home and threw together a big pot of veg and chicken for a Caldo de Pollo (chicken stew). It cooks all afternoon, and the smell is making me hungry right now! It's 4:30 and I've got about an hour before I need to walk back up to the Teatro Juarez for another free concert tonight with the Symphony Orchestra of Oaxaca, this time celebrating the 45th anniversary of the founding of the local university radio station.

Who said retirement would be boring?