It’s a double dose of elegance, passion, and sensuality. And it’s about to explode onto a local stage.

Thalía Spanish Theatre will present Tango + Tango over the next four weekends.

As the title suggests, the show celebrates traditional and modern versions of tango, a musical genre with corresponding dances that surged out of the slums of Argentina and Uruguay in the 1880s.

So audiences will hear classics like “La Última Copa,” whose lyrics tell the story of a struggling, despondent actor who drinks a bottle of poison after losing the love of his life. The 1926 song garnered worldwide fame through megastar Carlos Gardel and it is still a standard today.

But Tango + Tango attendees will also get to experience pieces like Astor Piazzolla’s “Preludio Para El Año 3001,” which ponders Buenos Aires in the future. With a heavy jazz influence, this song helped popularize the Nuevo Tango style when it was released in 1970.

Latin Grammy-winning bandoneón master Raúl Jaurena, a Thalía regular who hails from Uruguay, arranged and directed the score. He also performs it along with Emiliano Messiez (piano), Pablo Lanouguere (doublebass) and Avigail Malachi-Baev (clarinet). There are also four dancers, Yaisuri Salamanca, John Hernán Raigosa, Andrés Bravo and Sarita Apel, along with singers Marga Mitchell and Ernesto Camino.

Performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 4 p.m. until Sunday, June 23.

General weekend tickets cost $45 in advance, but $48 at the door. On Fridays, tickets are $40. (Students and seniors pay $3 less for all shows.)

Thalía is located at 41-17 Greenpoint Ave. in Sunnyside near the 7 train’s 40th Street/Queens Boulevard station. Its main venue has capacity for about 75 spectators.

Tango combines European genres such as Waltz and Polka with those with African and Native South American roots, such as Candombe and Milonga. The most commonly used instruments are the bandoneón, violin, double bass, piano, and flute. The word “tambo” used to refer to musical gatherings of slaves during the 18th century in what is now Uruguay and Argentina. The music hit a peak in the early 20th century, when performers from those countries brought it to Europe and New York City. Its popularity rose and declined over the following decades due to dictatorships, economic waves, and general tastes. In 2009, the Tango was added to the UNESCO Tangible Cultural Heritage List.

Images: Thalía Spanish Theatre


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