top of page


A Seductive Fusion of Tango and High Art

Originally launched in 2013 with a sell-out concert at Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room as part of La Linea Festival, the TangOpera project offers a heady fusion of tango and high art.

A celebration of cultural diversity, the programme illuminates the rich and complex history of the Argentine tango, tracing its trajectory through the trade routes of the Atlantic melting pot, in which a diverse range of influences converged towards the development of the world’s arguably most multicultural art form. African rhythms rub shoulders with Italian bel canto opera and canzonetta, Cuban habanera, Spanish flamenco, Brazilian maxixe, French chanson, and Eastern European folk tunes, their traces revealed in the juxtaposition of opera and zarzuela arias, lieder, tangos and musical theatre songs, by composers as seemingly disparate as Puccini, Bizet, Guastavino, Piazzolla, Hahn, Falla, Poulenc, Weill, Henrique, Lecuona, Rachmaninov and Cole Porter.


Conceived by the British Latinx pianist, Helen Glaisher-Hernández, the project is inspired by the artist widely regarded as the greatest tango singer of all time, Carlos Gardel, and whose ineludably semi-operatic phrasing and technique clearly betray the lyric antecedents of the genre. Think of this programme as a would-be classical songbook for the great Zorzal himself.


TangOpera features the exhilarating voices of three of Argentina's finest opera stars: soprano Jaquelina Livieri, mezzo soprano Florencia Machado, and Latin Grammy Nominee Leonardo Pastore - 'an extraordinary tenor whose heart beats to the tango' (Echoes Magazine).

Gardel Poster Mono.jpg


Gardel El día que me quieras
Delfino Griseta
Puccini Tango bohemio
Guastavino Milonga de dos hermanos | Pampamapa
Piazzolla Yo soy María | Ave María
Hahn La barcheta
Bizet L’amour est un oiseau rebelle
Falvo Dicitencello vuie
Falla Tus ojillos negros
Poulenc C’est ainsi que tu es
Weill Youkali
Rodney-Bennett Tango

Lecuona María la O

Henrique Adeus

Rachmaninov Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne

Porter So in Love

Full Line-Up

  • Tenor

  • Soprano

  • Mezzo soprano

  • Piano

  • Violin

  • Cello

  • Guitar

  • Bandoneon

  • x2 Tango Dancers

Reduced Line-Up

  • Tenor

  • Soprano

  • Piano

Anchor 1


Leonardo Pastore

Leonardo Guitar Square.jpg

An extraordinary tenor whose

heart beats to the tango.        



LEONARDO PASTORE is a unique voice amongst Argentina’s great tenors and a pioneering ambassador for the preservation of his country’s oldest vocal traditions. Leonardo was born in Buenos Aires where he began his professional tango career aged only ten, performing vintage songs by Gardel, Magaldi and Corsini at the famous Café Tortoni. This early immersion in tango’s nightlife allowed him to rub shoulders with many of the Capital’s tango elites, including some of the greatest ageing stars of tango’s golden era.

One such onlooker was the eminent tango singer Héctor de Rosas (one of Astor Piazzolla’s favourite singers and collaborators) who would go on to become Leonardo’s first formal singing teacher. Rosas was followed later by the soprano Nilda Hoffmann, with whom Leonardo learned classical technique. This led to an illustrious career performing some of bel canto’s greatest roles in operas such as Rigoletto, Tosca, La Boheme and La Traviata amongst many others, across Latin America’s principal opera houses and concert halls. Leonardo’s singing has been praised by Plácido Domingo, Alfredo Kraus and Teresa Berganza, with whom he has also taken numerous masterclasses.


Leonardo’s longstanding dual career in the opera and tango worlds has allowed him to cultivate an authoritative and compelling vocal fusion of the two genres. His most recent CD, Gardel Original, pays tribute to the grandfather of the tango canción and revels in the lyric dimensions of Gardel’s own singing style - a ground-breaking project which faithfully reconstructs the original arrangements of Gardel’s songs for the very first time. The album, which was produced by León Gieco, was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2016, and is available on Spotify HERE.


Pianist HELEN GLAISHER-HERNANDEZ is part of a new generation of Latinx practitioners elucidating the cultural diversity of classical music.


Following degrees in Spanish and French at the University of Cambridge (including a year abroad studying Piano at Argentina’s Conservatorio Nacional Superior in Buenos Aires) and an MMus in Piano at Trinity College of Music, she now combines her two great loves - music and hispanicity - as a concert pianist, producer, educator and Iberican specialist committed to the decolonisation of music programming and performance.

An adventurous explorer of remote musical territories, Helen is unafraid to challenge convention and cross borders in seeking out rarely-heard repertoire. She has premiered many works by Iberican composers in the UK, including Villa-Lobos and Guastavino, and likes to blur the boundaries between ‘classical’ and ‘popular’ music in her own, unique arrangements.


Helen has performed live on BBC Radio 3 (In Tune) and BBC Radio 4 (Woman's Hour), internationally, and across the UK’s major venues, including appearances at Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Barbican’s Milton Court Concert Hall, St John’s Smith Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St James’s Piccadilly and The National Gallery.


She has collaborated with leading artists such as Dominic Miller, Lizzie Ball, Luis Gomes, Omar Puente, Coro Cervantes, Clara Rodríguez, José Menor, Nina Corti, and has shared a platform with Morgan Szymanski, Fábio Zanon and Marcelo Bratke.


Helen also works for ILAMS as Artistic Director of Echoes Festival, and teaches Piano at the Sheffield Music Academy.

Helen Glaisher-Hernández

Trying the Piano Square.jpg

So beautiful!
         BBC RADIO 4 (Woman’s Hour)



         BBC RADIO 3 (In Tune)



Jaquelina Livieri

_DSC5279 A4 B&N (2).jpg

Full of vitality.        


Argentina’s award-winning prima soprano, JAQUELINA LIVIERI, is quickly establishing herself as a rising star in the next generation of Latin American singers. Praised by critics for her ‘powerful voice’ (Opera Actual), ‘perfect tuning’ (Opera in the World), and ‘depth of expression’ (La Crítica), Jaquelina delivers passionate performances compellingly blending pyrotechnic technique with interpretative verve, nuance - and a touch of glamour.

A born communicator, she is also beloved by audiences for her naturally warm and beguiling stage presence. Equally at home on the opera and recital stage, her impressive vocal range and rich timbre make her a versatile artist with a diverse repertoire ranging from everything from Baroque oratorio to tango. A leading exponent of Argentine song, she has premiered innumerable works by some of her country’s most salient composers, including Williams, Iglesias Villoud and Gaos.

Jaquelina has appeared internationally and across all of Latin America’s major opera houses, where she has performed many of the principal lyric coloratura roles. In 2016, she performed with Erwin Schrott at the Ljubljana Festival, and in 2017 was selected to sing with José Carreras as part of his farewell tour, A Life in Music. Recent highlights include her Spanish debut as Pamina at Teatro Campoamor, Oviedo, and her debut at Madrid’s Teatro Real as Grande Sacerdotessa, as well as Liu and Norina at Teatro Colón; Violetta at Ópera de São Paulo; Micaela at Teatro Calderón, Valladolid; Liu at Teatro Nacional, Lima and her UK opera debut as Margarita at Welsh National Opera in Golijov's ground-breaking opera, Ainadamar.


Strong performances.  



Live & Backstage Pics


Background image: Premiere of the TangOpera project at Southbank Centre's Purcell Room

bottom of page