Symphonic Concert Opens Arts Festival in Cuba

A concert by the Philharmonic Orchestra of the University of the Arts of Cuba will inaugurate the 9th Arts Festival, an event by the high studies house to take place from June 11 to 17, according to the organizers.

The performance will be held at 21:00 local time and will be hosted by the capital's Mella Theater, where the Brazilian singer Fabiana Cozza will appear on stage as a special guest.

The festival, considered one of the most important events organized by this artistic school, will gather more than 600 local and foreign participants, said in a press conference the rector of the center, Alexis Seijo.

Aimed at establishing a permanent dialogue between the artistic expressions and promoting the work of young creators, the festival proposes an intense program for this edition that includes all art expressions placed in different parts of the city.

Students from universities in Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina and the United States will be present at the event, which includes stage presentations, exhibitions, audiovisual projections, competitions, lectures, master classes, work demonstrations and workshops.

The Bertolt Brecht Cultural Center, the Hubert de Blanck Theater, the Villena Hall of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, Plaza 31 and 2, and the Cuba Pavilion are among the main venues of the festival.

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European Film Festival in Cuba to Screen 18 Films from 16 Countries

The third European Film Festival in Cuba will show, from June 5 to 17, in this capital, 18 films from 16 countries of the so-called old continent, organizers of the event announced today.

The programmer of the Cinematheque of Cuba, Antonio Mazón, commented in a press conference the presentation of 14 fiction feature films, a documentary and three co-productions made by Latin American filmmakers that would have been impossible without the contribution of European companies.

Most of the works are premieres in Cuba and can be seen at three venues: 23 y 12 cinema, Multicine Infanta and the Center for the interpretation of Cuba-Europe cultural relations, located at the Palacio del Segundo Cabo.

According to Mazón, the films come from member states of the European Union such as Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Greece, Hungary, Denmark, Italy, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Sweden.

Among the titles on the program are works recognized in international festivals such as The Emigrants, Different Worlds, Notes on Blindness, Magical Mystery, Rosita, Beautiful Youth and Winter.

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Cuban President Recognizes Art as a Means to Forge Respect

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel highlighted the power of art and culture to forge relationships of respect when exchanging with artists who participated in recent events in Peru and the United States.

According to the president, during the People's Summit held last April in Peru it was demonstrated that there is a force capable of uniting Cubans: the identity; and it is time to defend it because in the world some try to fracture it in order to manipulate the history.

Artistic directors such as Elito Revé and Pepe Ordaz told how they performed in Lima, in the context of the celebration of the Summit, to defend their people there through music.

The Cuban president said that the presentations in Peru and the Festival Artes de Cuba that takes place since May 8 at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, prove that art is an irreplaceable space for communication between peoples. In the meeting with artists, held on Wednesday at the cultural center La Plaza, Diaz-Canel considered that the events put to the test the effectiveness of the Cuban system of artistic education and valued the role of art as a bridge builder, his contribution to mutual respect and peace, despite the differences.

The dancer, director, and choreographer Irene Rodríguez celebrated the excellent reception of the American public that awarded the artists with extensive standing ovations, while the singer and composer Zule Guerra highlighted the shared spirituality, good energy and great joy around the festival.

To her surprise, many people sang with them Feeling themes and Latin American Boleros.

The best way for the American people to know who Cubans are is to enjoy our art, said Lele Rosales, singer of the iconic orchestra Los Van Van.

The prejudices fell to the floor, the musicians believed that they were going to play in a very serious event, and when they saw people standing ready to move to the beat of the rhythm, the show overflowed with joy, because Cubans are like that, the artist said.

The members of the Miguel Faílde Orchestra assured that at the Kennedy Center Danzón was danced and they praised a group of casineros (dancers of the casino-style) existing in Washington and composed of people from different countries.

The event combines the different arts and visual arts was represented by works of Roberto Diago, Manuel Mendive, and Roberto Fabelo, contemporary dance by the company Malpaso, the theater by plays directed by Carlos Díaz and Carlos Celdrán, among other artists and events.

Artes of Cuba festival in the US capital will conclude on June 3 with presentations from the National Ballet of the Caribbean country, led by the legendary Alicia Alonso.

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Carlos Díaz: "Theater has to be Taken Care of, Although is Non-Profitable"

On celebrating on March 27th the world theater day we offer our readers this interview with the Cuban Carlos Díaz, director of El Publico Theater and National Prize for Theater.

Cuba has had great examples in this artistic expression. Which of the many ways of making people feel have you learned more as a creator?

"Each time has its unique artistic expression, its sweet side and its bitter ones. I officially appear in this world in the 90’s, when little theater was done. It was already the endless economic crisis and it reigned the concept how long will it last, but I believe I did the best of my career back then, like La niñita querida (The Dear Little Girl), a staging of Virgilio Piñera with which I won the admiration of many people.

"I thank that success and the later one to Roberto Blanco and his company Irrumpe. I had the chance to be his assistant after I graduated of Theater and Drama at ISA. I did everything there: costume design, scenography; to make rehearsal plans and production… I Learned what should be done and what not. I am very grateful because they gave me the training to dive into theater."

You have been one of the loved ones and, at the same time criticized for the audacity of your plays. Do you believe the Cuban theater of this time needs that audacity?

"I believe that audacity is there and it’s necessary to practice it. If we don't go through there it’s like we had problems to breathe. When, regarding art, you push your boundaries, how much one can say and if the receiver is happy watching your proposal.

“There are people who come to theater and, before asking who is the author or actors, they ask if there is nude in the play. It’s the same as going to Coppelia Ice-cream parlor and ask for almond and they reply: No."

Which do you think is the way to walk by this art and its main characters in what follows?

"It’s your time to struggle young people, the youths, for technology. It’s important that every day there are more social networks, more computers; bridges to reach the moon and go camping people spend holidays in Mars… But theater is too hard to eliminate, despite its old age and craft.

“You must be next to Chekhov when he says that it’s necessary to work every day."

That old theater could be in crisis some may think. What is going on that people don’t fill theater rooms anymore?

"Theater must be taken care of. It’s a luxury to work in it, it belongs to chosen ones. It feels like one is in Mount Vesuvius, although you don’t earn a penny. You feel very happy.

"Not all rooms have problems with the public. Each company should take care of what they do to keep their audience and filling their room, not just during the Festival season.

"Today people rather stay facing a cell phone screen or a computer. But that is impossible with theater: you cannot take home the entire staff so that they make the representation of a play.

"We were recently in New York, at the event "Bajo el radar" (Under the radar), with Antigonón, an epic troupe, and a friend, Armando Correa, current editor for People magazine in Spanish, he gave to four of our young actors tickets to Broadway to watch The French Girl, starred by Uma Thurman. Having such talented actress on stage, right in front of you, it’s a luxury you only find in theater; otherwise, you must seek a movie where she stars in El Paquete (The package).

"On the other hand, having a theater like ours is a privilege, because in the developed world it’s more complicated the existence of so many groups, it takes many resources. Our economy is not fit to sustain this utopia for too long, but let’s enjoy it while it lasts."

I was talking about technology. Do you consider it, next to the new media (Internet), enemy of the theater?

"No, nothing as new and young that struggles for the image can be an enemy. Enemy is the intention of allotting money to achieve something unhealthy, but the social networks help a lot. There is already a generation that could not live without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… and we must also get to them.

"I am a director who loves visuality. I believe more in the power of an image than in a text. A sentence can lie, an image cannot. That’s why I use audiovisual elements, for example, in Antigonón… The mixture of artistic specialties becomes new languages in the practice of what you do."

Which are your expectations with El Publico Theater, especially when you are no longer directing it?

"I still have some projects left. I still have to do the Orlando, of Virginia Woolf, but El Publico will always exist. I will appear eventually and unleash hell if I don't like what is going on! "

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

Tributo 2018, First Cuban Smoked Rum

Tributo 2018 is the first Cuban smoked rum, produced in a limited edition with only 1,500 bottles for the whole world.

This edition of Tributo, honor the experts's contribution of a barrel for the rum, allowing to discover nuances given by the barrel wood. It also has a special case that looks like the white oak wood, said Cristiasn Barre, director-general of the company Havana Club International Inc., during the presentation.

This year, he explained, we will expand the production of the product and reach 21 countries, but not the amount of bottles.

During the presentation ceremony, held in the context of the 20th edition of the Habanos Festival, which is developing in this capital until March 2, Abel Alvarez, sales director to the company, highlighted that the rum was a jewel among the Havana Club rums, designed to be tasted while smoking Habanos.

We have great expectations, based on the success of the editions Tributo 2016 and Tributo 2017, he said before specifying that there were 330 bottles had been set aside for Cuba.

Cuban rum expert Asbel Morales announced that there would be new surprises in 2019, especially due to the emphasis we will make on the making of the rum.

  • Published in Cuba

A Festival for a City

Havana welcomes its Theater Festival, an appointment where groups and artists from Europe and Latin America participate.

The Theater Festival of Havana will occupy the main theaters of the city until next Sunday. In its 25th edition it will aim for variety in its proposals: it’s difficult to find a fixed pattern, predominant coordinated aesthetic, main topics… But there is a guiding concept: theater as a transforming entity. Mostly as a space for critics.

Many of the shows already on scene approach polemic situations, "reviewing" controversial moments of contemporary history, they established a questioning dialogue with their audiences.

The Knights of the Round Table (Freddys Núñez Estenoz, from a text of Christoph Hein) is an interesting twist for the company of Camaguey Theater of the Wind. With a style of the most exaggerated, eccentric and crazy cabaret, particularly difficult topics are approached.

  

Nobody understood what the actors of Jo Strømgren Kompani, from Norway said on stage. There wasn’t a way, because it’s a pointless language that evokes "Soviet" sounds. There, however, says a lot: powerful metaphors (tragicomic, if you want) about the uncertainty of the future.

Eugenio Deoseffe demonstrates an extraordinary domain of the technique of marionettes. In Magnifying Glass: Worlds to Look Closely (Magnifying Glass, Puppets Company, Argentina; run by: Javier Lester Abalsamo) tells simple and delicious stories that can seduce spectators of all ages.

Stories Well Kept (The Salamander), directed by Ederlys Rodríguez, could be perfectly assumed as a plastic arts proposal. But here we have several stories (truthful or made-up) that interweave in a stylized essence. Theater of environments, of singular poetic touch conceived for an audience not greater than 15 people.

Jacuzzi (Trebol Theater) deals with role of the artist and his positioning in the complex panorama of present times. The nearness of the audience enables an interesting "dialogue."

In Ecstasy (Buendía Theater), Flora Lauten recreates the incidents of one of the most exciting personalities of the Church and literature: Mother Teresa of Jesus. The script written by Raquel Carrió, Eduardo Manet and Lauten herself put on top landmarks events in the life of the famous clergy woman, without seeking to do a biographical retell. There is a lot of poetry that establishes a mild dialogue with our day-to-day life.

The Two Princes (Las Estaciones Theater) it’s a small jewel, where mastery and sensibility of an inspired team come together. It’s about telling the antecedents of the sad homonymous story published by José Martí in The Golden Age, in a succession that awaits some unexpected incidents.

Amilkal Labañino Valdés / Cubasi Translation Staff

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Santiago de Cuba: Capital City of Cuban Trova Music

Soon, Santiago de Cuba city will be invested with the honor of being again the capital city of Cuban troubadour song. On March 18, the Pepe Sánchez National Trova Music Festival will be inaugurated. This event has been celebrated since 1964 and it is the most ancient musical one of the country.

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