A Seductive Blend of Tango and High Art
Launching with a sell-out concert at Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room in London as part of La Linea Festival, the TangOpera project offers a heady fusion of tango and high art. Exploring the rich and wonderfully complex lyric history of the Argentine tango, the programme traces its global trajectory from roots in bel canto opera, Italian canzonetta and the Cuban habanera through to the golden age of tango canción and Carlos Gardel, to the art songs of classical composers such as Guastavino, Bizet, Poulenc, Falla, Weill, Rodney-Bennett and - of course - Astor Piazzolla’s contemporary ‘tango operita’, María de Buenos Aires. Conceived by British-Spanish pianist and Latin classical specialist, Helen Glaisher-Hernández, this unique project features the captivating voice of pre-eminent Argentine opera singer, Leonardo Pastore.
Gardel El día que me quieras
Puccini Sono andati? Fingevo di dormire
Guastavino Milonga de dos hermanos
Piazzolla Yo soy 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
Lecuona Allá en el batey
Rachmaninov Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne
Porter So in Love
The full programme line-up includes x2 singers, violin, cello, guitar, bandoneon, percussion & x2 tango dancers, but is also available in a more intimate, reduced format of x1 singer, piano & violin.
An extraordinary tenor whose
heart beats to the tango.
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.
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.
Following two 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 in London, HELEN GLAISHER-HERNANDEZ now combines her two great loves - music and hispanicity - as a concert pianist, musicologist, curator and educator specialising in Luso-Hispanic repertoire.
An adventurous explorer of undiscovered musical territories, Helen is unafraid to challenge convention and cross borders in seeking out rarely-heard repertoire. She has premiered many works by Latin American composers in the UK, including pieces by Villa-Lobos and Guastavino, and likes to blur the boundaries between ‘classical’ and ‘popular’ music with her own, unique arrangements. Helen has performed live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4, and across London’s major venues, including sell-out 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, Fairfield Halls, St James’s Piccadilly and The National Gallery. Helen has collaborated with many leading artists including Dominic Miller, Luis Gomes, Vanessa Lucas-Smith, Omar Puente, Coro Cervantes, Clara Rodríguez, José Menor and Nina Corti, and has also shared a platform with Morgan Szymanski, Fábio Zanon and Marcelo Bratke.
Helen also works for ILAMS as Artistic Director of Echoes Festival.
BBC RADIO 4 (Woman’s Hour)
Background image: Premiere of the TangOpera project at Southbank Centre's Purcell Room