Although ‘El Canguro’ is literally translated as ‘the kangaroo’, the title of this new opera refers to a pregnant young woman, and the story tells of a corrupt adoption system that used the creation of life as an economic game. The topic is best explained with the librettist’s own words:
My first exposure to the sketchy side of Guatemalan adoptions came by casual comment as we bounced along Antigua’s cobblestone streets. As we passed a pregnant indigenous woman, our driver snorted, “You Americans think you do good adopting our babies. You created an industry.”
‘El Canguro’ is sung in English. I set it at the end of the rainy season, September 2007, when the last race was on to sell as many babies as possible before world pressure shut the corrupt system down. It’s a story of 20-year-old Roo, whose pregnancies keep her family afloat. Composer Mike von der Nahmer’s music embraces the culture collision, fusing jazz-inspired themes with choral chanting and jungle sounds. As the opera opens in the MS13 gang-controlled village, Roo’s spendthrift father has taken three different deposits on her current conception. But Roo has miscarried in the night.
It’s a fascinating piece, with haunting melodies and poetic themes. It’s not for young children. And it’s something you’ll remember.
–Cynthia Lewis Ferrell, librettist
This unique new work is only here for one show. Get your tickets today, as it’s likely to sell out. ‘Nuff said.
A Rainforest Opera
— One Night Only —
Saturday, September 10, 7pm
AT&T Center Theater
1150 S. Olive Street, Los Angeles
Tickets are $25