Wednesday, January 7, 2015

See artwork, then hear opera in Spanish: "Florencia en el Amazonas"

The first opera to be presented in Spanish in Nashville will be "Florencia en el Amazonas," performed by the Nashville Opera at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on January 23, 25, & 27, 2015. "Florencia en el Amazonas" was composed in Spanish by Daniel Catán and is inspired by the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the musical romanticism of Puccini and Debussy. The opera is sung in Spanish with easy-to-read projected English supertitles.

A related preview of the opera, via visual art, is open now through January 17 at The Arts Company, 215 5th Avenue of the Arts in downtown Nashville, during regular gallery hours, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The exhibition features nine local Hispanic artists. After the opera performances conclude on January 27, the exhibition will move to the Noah Liff Opera Center and will complete its run in April and May at Casa Azafran (specific dates to be announced later). The exhibition is supported through a Metro Nashville Arts Commission grant to the Nashville Opera, and presented in cooperation with Conexión Américas and The Arts Company.

The plot of the opera is set 105 years in the past, on the Amazon River:
In 1910, seven people board a small steamboat for a voyage down the Amazon River toward an unexplored jungle paradise. But soon the characters find themselves on a surreal journey that dares to venture deep into the mysteries of the human heart. Among all the passengers, Florencia seeks the most desperate love of all: Lost love. A true love she long ago let slip through her fingers, and now vows to find again.
“It is a privilege to help discover and present artists in the Nashville Hispanic community,” remarks Anne Brown, owner of The Arts Company. “Especially to work directly with the Nashville Opera and Conexión Américas, tying the artwork to the theme and style of an opera written in Spanish, as well as to the personal experiences of Hispanic artists living and working in the Nashville area."

Participating artists include Liliana Velez, Jorge Arrieta, Orlando Garcia-Camacho, Antuco Chicaiza, Yuri Figueroa, Mandy Peitz, Mike Quinones and Jorge Yances.

Mandy Peitz described her art and its connection to the exhibition and the opera:
My Hispanic roots flow deep inside my creativity – beautiful and dangerous like a river meandering through the jungle. Vibrant shades of red, blue and orange saturate my work, dancing with shadows below. This Kansas girl is thrilled to be part of a show where I can exhibit the fantastic and magical scenes that permeate my mind.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Guantanamera Restaurant closes, taking with it "most memorable" paella and leaving only banquet and event business

The closure notice posted on the restaurant's Facebook page

The same week that Nashville Scene food critic Carrington Fox listed owner Alfonso Nieto's paella as one of "2014's most memorable mouthfuls," on December 26 Guantanamera Restaurant posted on Facebook that it has closed.

Starting with its April 2013 debut, the Cuban, Caribbean, and Latin American menu had featured a variety of food and drink including fried plantains, tamales, empanadas, maduros, and mojitos.

The closure announcement cites location (near the intersection of Nolensville Road and Harding Place) as the economic culprit.

The announcement goes on to say that the banquet and events business will survive, and that a second chance for the restaurant - at a different site - might be in the cards.

Three days before it posted its closure notice, Guantanamera's paella was praised by the Nashville Scene as one of the top ten Nashville tastes of the year

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Thursday at 3pm: World Cup viewing party at Guantanamera

At 3pm Nashville time on Thursday, June 12, the World Cup begins in Brazil. Middle Tennesseans can watch the opening match, Brazil-Croatia, at a viewing party at Guantanamera Restaurant, at 3744 Nolensville Pike, near the entrance to the Nashville Zoo. The party starts at 2:30pm and will be hosted by the Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce.

A finger food buffet, live music, and mojitos await attendees. Admission is $35 ($30 for TLACC members) and includes unlimited access to the buffet and two drink tickets.
"The World Cup is the biggest and greatest sports event in the world celebrated every four years. When 32 countries come together in one location to celebrate one sport we must take notice. Every four years Latinos from all over the world gather around a TV set to see their team/country play in the World Cup, if our team didn't qualify we pick our next top choice and when or if that team is disqualified we cheer for our "mother-land", Spain. The tradition is handed down from generation to generation, the World Cup is a must watch event. This year we the, Latin American Chamber of Commerce will celebrate this tradition with passionate seasoned soccer lovers and spectators alike, we will cheer, yell, applaud and possibly cry. It was important for us to offer this viewing party in a location that reminds us of being home, Guantanamera Restaurant, offers that taste of home in South Nashville. We hope to continue to celebrate our culture and traditions in our new home city and we hope to convert spectators into fans." -Marcela Gomez, VP of the Board of the Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce.
Read a glowing review of Guantanamera in the Nashville Scene, here.

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