Watched "Tango Magic" last night on Channel 9. The promo listing read:
"Hosted by actor, Hector Elizondo, this special features four pairs of dancers, including the principal cast of Boradway's acclaimed "Forever Tango." The performances take center stage, but the program also presents the history of tango through the eyes of the late composer/musician, Astor Piazzolla, whose "New Tango" revitalized the dance and introduced it to a younger generation in the 1950s. Short documentary style interludes, along with montages of photos and archive footage, help tell the story of what has been described as "more than a dance...a way of life." This program features Carolina Zokalski and Diego di Falco, the stars of "Forever Tango", virtuoso violinist, Gidon Kremer, bandoneon player, Ryota Komatsu, singers, Maria Grana and Jose Angel Trelles, and Piazzolla's own star pianist, Pablo Ziegler, all backed by the Orpheus Orchestra, the celebrated chamber music ensemble from New York City."
Now, right off, some people would disagree with some of these observations with justification and might disagree even further after viewing the program. This did have the look and feel of a full-blown tribute to Piazzolla. That being said and taken into account without further discussion, here are the things I enjoyed about the program.
Hector Elizondo made a good host. The lighting, colors (lots of red and black) and staging were very dramatic and effective for the small space being used. At times, one could see that the dancers were necessarily "shrinking" their dance to the space available.
The four dance couples were: Roberto & Guillermina, Guillermo & Fernanda, Diego & Carolina, and Sandor & Beverly. We've seen most of their dances before, but once again Guillermo & Fernanda were just HOT/HOT/HOT!! What more can I say?! Roberto & Guillermina did a tango ballet/theatre arts tango to an ethereal Piazzolla piece. They were even more splendid and "out there" than I've ever seen them - I can only say WOW!! I just can't believe those two in their perfect and beautifully expressive execution, style and originality. They leave me breathless; the way they s-t-r-e-t-c-h, pose and hold is unbelievable! Diego & Carolina and Sandor & Beverly were very good and probably would've been better with choicer cuts of music.
Maria Grana sang "Volver" in a full, rich, "trembling" voice; very nice, however, just a touch weak on the high notes. She also did a "duet" with Carlos Gardel (on videotape), which made one wish to hear Gardel only all the way through. However, they sounded very good when they finished the song together. Jose Angel Trelles was a great surprise to me 'cause, not only is he very attractive but, he sings with a strong voice full of feeling, skill and soul and without physical histrionics - he didn't "impose" himself on the song. I actually wanted to hear (and see!) more.
Overall, the Orpheus Orchestra and Pablo Ziegler did a great job on Piazzolla's works. A rendition of Piazzolla's original "Michelangelo 70" with Gary Burton on vibraphone was as good an example as any of the revolutionary jazz tangos Piazzolla created. Pablo Ziegler's composition, "Once Again Tango", with saxophone was, besides being very modern and jazzy, quite a fun and interesting milonga, especially as creatively danced by Diego & Carolina. All in all, not social tango, but a very good show, nonetheless.