Alex Waterman | Robert Ashley | Javier Sinz de Robles | Ned Sublette | Elio Villafranca | Peter Gordon | Elisa Santiago | Raúl de Nieves
Vidas Perfectas was an all-new Spanish-language version of Robert Ashley’s ground-breaking “television opera” Perfect Lives (1983). With Ashley’s blessing, Alex Waterman directed this production from a Spanish translation by Javier Sainz de Robles.
The singer-songwriter Ned Sublette starred as the opera’s narrator “R,” in the role originated by Ashley. Playing with him was “Buddy, The World’s Greatest Piano Player,” a unique all-piano role for Cuban virtuoso Elio Villafranca. Composer Peter Gordon, who collaborated with Ashley on the original incarnation of Perfect Lives, returned as music producer, to play live electronics and mixing. The chorus was Elisa Santiago (appearing as Isolde, Gwyn, and Ida) and Raúl de Nieves (appearing as Will, Ed, and The Captain of the Football Team).
Perfect Lives was originally commissioned for television by The Kitchen (NY) in 1979 and was completed in 1983, co-produced by The Kitchen and Channel Four in Great Britain. It was aired on Channel Four in 1983 and in 1984, and subsequently on German, Austrian and Spanish television. Perfect Lives’ innovative combination of chanting, storytelling, meditation and ecstatic revelation, challenges the ways in which we perceive the relationship between language and music. It has almost single-handedly changed the way we think about opera, television, and performance.
In July 2014, Vidas Perfectas traveled “on location” for theatrical stagings in Marfa, Texas and on-site performances in Ciudad Juárez and El Paso, TX. All seven episodes were then compiled and edited for television. At the completion of all seven episodes, Vidas Perfectas toured internationally, accompanied by a full recording to be released on CD and DVD.
Listen to Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at Ten radio interview with director Alex Waterman on KRTS 93.5FM.
Vidas Perfectas is presented in conjunction with the El Paso Opera, Whitney Museum of American Art, ISSUE Project Room and Irondale Brooklyn. Generous support provided by Brown Foundation Inc., Houston.
With gratitude to Sean Daly, Alex Marks, Peter Szollosi, and everyone at El Paso Opera; Tricky Falls, El Paso; and Museo de la Revolución de Ciudad Juarez, Juarez.
Generous support provided by Brown Foundation Inc., Houston.
Special thanks to Miguel Abreu; Dione Acosta; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Arthur Arbit; ArKtype Productions; Annie Arthur; Adam Bach; Vicki Barge; Brice Beasley; Jennifer Bell; Alisa Besher; Biff Bolen; Matt Bonner; Thomas Buckner; The Camino Real Hotel; Daniel Chamberlin; Chinati Foundation; the City of Marfa; Clear Channel Radio; Sarah Cork; Paula Court; Anthony Creamer III; Rick Creasy; Jane & Bobby Crockett; The Crowley Theater; Rob Crowley; Tim Crowley; The Dixon Water Foundation; Sheriff Danny Dominguez; Fairfax Dorn; Kerry Doyle; El Cosmico; Teresa Eggers; Anthony Elms; Eve Essex; Nancy Estrada, Patronato amigos del MUREF, Executive director; The Foundation for Contemporary Arts; Sabrina Franzheim; Liliana Fuentes, MUREF museum, Director; Natalie Galpern; Andrea Gonzales; Gabriel Gonzalez and the staff of Tricky Falls; Rev. Jim Gordon; David Grabarkewitz; Paul Graybeal; Elizabeth Gutierrez; Markus Häfliger; Jeffrey W. Hagerman; Nick Hallett; Maya Hardinge; David Hollander; The Hotel Paisano; Paul Hunt; Issue Project Room; Nicki Ittner; Mimi Johnson; Rebecca Johnson; Erin Kimmel; Andrew Kreps; Thomas O. Kriegsmann; Matt & Mikelle Kruger; Lawrence Kumpf; Bunny Lampert; Zach Layton; Virginia Lebermann; Chip Love; Minerva Lopez; Lost Horse Saloon; Christy Madrid; Marfa National Bank; Marfa Public Radio; Yvonne Marquez; Josie Martinez; McDonald Observatory; Melissa McDonnell Luján; Rose Mediano; Twan Meijerink; Rose Melendez; Carlo Mendo; Ty Mitchell; Eddie Montezuma; David Moodey; Moonlight Gemstones; Jenny Moore; Gordon Mumma; Linda Nuñez; Robert Pérez; Carolyn Pfeiffer; Robert Potts; Presidio County; Pueblo Market; The Riata Inn; Alexandra Rosenberg; Viola Sanchez; Rudy Scott; Josephine Sedgwick; Victoria Sendra; Lyra Serrano; Randall Sharp; Daniel Silva; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; Tabla; Yadira Torres; “Blue” Gene Tyranny; Cory Van Dyke; Kimberly Vanacek; Cameron Keith Gainer and Olga Viso; Dominic von Felten; Renate & Arthur von Felten; Corinne von Felten; Joel Wachs; Thea Westreich & Ethan Wagner; Matthew Walker; Judy & Larry Waterman; Tim Waterman; Rob Weiner; Barbara Anne Welch; Gabriela Wettstein; Lizzy Wetzel; The Whitney Museum staff and guards; and Sam Winks.