Monday, April 26, 2010

Tango and Flamenco at the Altar (Really)

Dancing in front of the altar. Not Dirty Dancing but not a gentle waltz either. The intense passion of Latin dancing stole the show Sunday at An Evening of Spanish Guitar, Voice and Dance at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City. This FREE event was part of Salt Lake City's Madeleine Festival 2010 series and featured Utah classical guitarist Michael Lucarelli and friends.

The dancing drama was accentuated in part because the tango dancers from Wasatch Tango Club whirled, pushed and pulled so close to the edge of the stage which was immediately out from the altar. One false move would have yielded a two-foot drop practically into the lap of Fr. Mayo, who sat in the third row. Okay, that was a slight exaggeration, but note that the priest was apparently okay with the dancing. Amen! One of the tango dancers wore 3" crimson strappy sandals that shoe afficionados would die for. They were spectacular. Flamenco dancer Solange Gomez swirled and captivated the audience with clacking castanets and stomping her turquoise dancing shoes in crescendoing double time.

Lucarelli is a modest, unassuming fellow with exquisite abilities and repertoire. Getting lost in his music was easy. The program began with Ave Maria and showcased Lucarelli's fellow musicians ranging from the powerful, yet angelic soprano Elizabeth Paniagua, tenor Jose Bonilla, to violinists Kelly Parkinson and Falvia Cervino-Wood.

And then there was the flute. Since I play flute, my ears perked for John Flanders' animated rendition of Canta Rosa, which he composed and debuted. The mood of his music was divided between ponderous and buoyant, but always with a Latin feel to it.

My friend Judi did a great job of tolerating me taking notes, singing Aye, Aye, Aye, Aye, and craving the dancers' outfits. We had great seats in the first row on the left side of the altar. This was okay til I saw that they were taping the whole thing for later broadcast. I hope I didn't scratch my nose or make a weird face.

All in all, a wonderful evening. As I was sitting there equally inspired and mesmerized by tune after tune, I wasn't sure whether I'd be dancing or playing my flute, or both, at once, before the night was through.


PS ... to those in Salt Lake City, there are more free concerts yet to come. I highly recommend Salt Lake City's Madeleine Festival 2010 series as a lovely way to conclude your spring weekends.

Disclosure: ticket price FREE

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