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"A Slave's Transports: Caribbean Testimonio and European Opera"

A talk by Roberto Ignacio Díaz (University of Southern California)

Thursday, May 05, 2011
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Rolfe 4302
Lydeen Library

Miguel Barnet’s Biografía de un cimarrón, which tells the story of the former slave Esteban Montejo, became an emblematic text of the Cuban Revolution soon after its publication by the Instituto de Etnología y Folklore in 1966.  Visiting Havana at the time, Graham Greene famously proclaimed: “There wasn’t a book like this before, and it is quite improbable it will be repeated.”  Yet Montejo’s tale was soon “repeated,” albeit in a different medium, by Hans Werner Henze in El Cimarrón, a “recital for four musicians” with words by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.  By focusing on a performance of Henze’s work at the Royal Danish Theater in 2009, this paper considers the effects of adapting Montejo’s words into music drama and showcasing his story on a European operatic stage.  What does Copenhagen’s El Cimarrón say about the afterlife of slavery?  What kind of tale is told when the slave’s transports are viewed under the sign of opera?
Roberto Ignacio Díaz is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literature at University of Southern California. He researches Latin American literary and cultural history with a focus on transatlantic relations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has written on multilingualism in Spanish American literature and on the prose of Borges. His groundbreaking book, Unhomely Rooms: Foreign Tongues and Spanish American Literature (2002) discusses the importance of foreign tongues in the development of the Spanish-American literary canon through the analysis of literary work written in languages other than Spanish. He is presently at work on a book-length study of opera in Latin America.



Cost : Free and open to the public.

Jorge Marturano

Download file: A-Slaves-Transports2-sj-db5.pdf

Sponsor(s): Latin American Institute, Spanish and Portuguese, the LAI Cuba and the Caribbean Working Group

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