Opera Preview - Monkey See Monkey Do and Tango.
Monkey See, Monkey Do (1986) is a delightful half-hour six-character chamber opera for children based on a traditional Mexican folk tale. An Opera America survey, published in Opera News,listed Monkey See, Monkey Do as the fourth most often-performed contemporary opera in America, with over 2000 performances throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico to date. The work was created for family audiences and may be toured with puppets, singing actors or both. (robertxavierrodriguez.com)
Tango (1985) is a one-act comic concert opera for tenor solo and chamber ensemble. The text was compiled by the composer from actual news clippings, letters and sermons from the height of the tango craze (1913-14). There are three short scenes played without pause. In scene one the tenor enters as an elegant tango dancer, then quickly changes character and becomes a radio newscaster, reporting world-wide reactions to the tango, both favorable (tango teas, parties, baths and massages) and unfavorable (declared a crime in Boston and a sin in Rome). In scene two the tenor again changes character and becomes Cardinal Basilio Pompili, Vicar of Rome, as he declaims a thunderous sermon denouncing the tango in the name of Pope Pius X, but getting caught up in the tango spirit in spite of himself. In the final scene the tenor resumes his newscaster character to report attempts to reform the tango into a more respectable dance called “The Paragon,” with numerous rules for avoiding physical contact between the partners. He impersonates a dance instructor and demonstrates the paragon, but is gradually drawn back to the tango as he exits in his original character as a tango dancer. (robertxavierrodriguez.com)