Composer: Robert Xavier Rodriguez
Composer Bio: Robert Xavier Rodríguez was born on 28 June 1946 in San Antonio, Texas, where he received his earliest training in piano and harmony. Subsequent musical education included study in composition with Hunter Johnson, Halsey Stevens, Jacob Druckman, and Nadia Boulanger. He gained international recognition in 1971 when awarded the Prix de Composition Musicale Prince Pierre de Monaco by Prince Rainier and Princess Grace at the Palais Princier in Monte Carlo. Other honors include the Prix Lili Boulanger, a Guggenheim Fellowship, four National Endowment for the Arts grants, and the Goddard Lieberson Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Rodríguez's music embraces all genres and often combines Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque techniques with ethnic and contemporary materials. He has had particular success with his seven operas. His most recent opera, Frida, based on the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, has enjoyed successful runs at the American Music Theatre Festival, The American Repertory Theatre in Boston, the Brooklyn Academy's Next Wave Festival, and the Houston Grand Opera. John Rockwell of The New York Times termed Frida, "the best opera/musical theater of 1991...a fascinating, magically engrossing evening...Mr. Rodríguez's music is genuinely original and genuinely accessible, a neat combination not that often achieved." Rodríguez's charming children's opera Monkey See, Monkey Do has had more than 1,000 performances since its premiere in 1986, making it one of the most often performed contemporary American operas in the repertory. The ensemble Voices of Change received a 1999 Grammy nomination in the Best Small Ensemble Performance category for the Rodríguez work Les Niaïs Amoureux.

Rodríguez's orchestral music also encompasses wide-ranging styles, from challenging works for large orchestra such as Oktoechos and Favola Boccaccesca to ballets such as Estampie and The Seven Deadly Sins to music for children such as the popular Colorful Symphony (with a text from Norton Juster's The Phantom Toll Booth) and the circus story, Trunks.

Conductors who have commissioned Rodríguez include Eduardo Mata, Neville Marriner, and Antal Dorati. Rodríguez's music is regularly performed by leading orchestras and opera companies such as the Dallas Opera, National Opera of Mexico, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra among many others. His music is published by G. Schirmer.
Librettist: Robert Xavier Rodriguez
Other Artistic Personnel: Robert Xavier Rodriguez (Conductor)
Original Cast: Paul Sperry (Tenor)
Premiere Date: January 27, 1986
Producing Company: Voices of Change, The Chicago Ensemble and the 20th-Century Consort
Description: 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.

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).

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.

Scene Three: 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.
Character List (Major): 3 Roles, played by the same Tenor
Reviews: John Rockwell, New York Times; Wayne Lee Gay, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Length: 00:30
Total Acts: 1
Orchestration: 1 fl, 1 cl - perc - can, pf - vln, vc
Musical Style: Concert Opera for Tenor and Chamber Ensemble
Contact: G. Schirmer, Inc.
Address: 257 Park Avenue South, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10010
E-mail Address: pm@schirmer.com
Phone: 212-254-2100
Composer Web Site: http://www.robertxavierrodriguez.com/
Publisher Web Site: http://www.schirmer.com
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