March 11, 2013

The Carlos Gardel Tango Show

One of the largest and most elegant of BA's many tango shows is performed at the luxurious Esquina Carlos Gardel in a part of the city known as Abasto. The theatre is beautiful in its old-style appearance and features high tech acoustics and superb dancers. The performance is one of the biggest in Buenos Aires and apparently one of the most expensive, and it shows.

For the patron, in this instance, the former Berton House resident-writer, the show begins with a glass of Brut and a video show of the history of tango. Dinner is an option but we didn't partake. Wine flows through the night, though not quite in an endless stream as advertised. As the curtain opens the orchestra plays a sad sounding song that haunts the performance throughout; a beautiful refrain leading to the signature Mi Buenos Aires Querido.

Gardel was the preeminent Argentine singer, song writer and movie star, associated with the tango. He, along with lyricist Alfredo Le Pera, wrote many of the world's most popular tango songs. Gardel photos and representations abound in this theatre, and around the city. Born in 1890, Gardel (and Le Pera) died in a plane crash in 1935, sealing his fate as a tragic hero. His death was mourned throughout Argentina and around the world.

The show is quite amazing indeed with colour, sound and highly impressive dancing. I think the audio levels were a bit high, possibly to compensate for the large number of older American tourists in the audience, but that was a minor irritation. The female lead singer was terrific, and her male counterpart was quite good too. The haunting melody remains.

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