Ballroom Marfa Art Fund


Making the World Strange Through Opera: An Introduction to Vidas Perfectas

1 Jul 2014


Sigue leyendo en español

Before the Texas/Mexico premieres of Vidas Perfectas – an all new Spanish-language version of Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives – in El Paso, Ciudad Juárez, and Marfa, we wanted to present you with a quick primer on some of the important aspects of the piece. The new work, directed by Alex Waterman, has been in development since 2009 and replaces not only the language but the location of the original work, moving from the American Midwest to the Far West Texas desert.

Vidas Perfectas is presented by Ballroom Marfa in conjunction with the El Paso Opera, Whitney Museum of American Art, ISSUE Project Room and Irondale Brooklyn.

Vidas is the realization of years of hard work, rehearsal, and research by the cast and crew, and will be an exciting tribute to Ashley, who passed away earlier this year.

Waterman, who is a founding member of the Plus Minus Ensemble and performs with the Either/Or Ensemble, has been engaging with Ashley and his work for over a decade. He is currently co-writing a book on the composer’s notational scores entitled Robert Ashley: Yes, But is it Edible? and working on his PhD in musicology.

Vidas Perfectas will premiere in El Paso on July 12 and then move to Juaréz (July 13) and Marfa (July 18-19). All the details are on the Vidas Perfectas page.

Who was Robert Ashley?

National Geographic Traveller on Juarez

23 Jan 2014

Photo courtesy of Nigel Richardson

Friends of Ballroom, Kaycee Dougherty and Ricardo Fernandez, recently served as guides to journalist Nigel Richardson as he explored Juarez, Mexico. With their help, Richardson, discovers a bustling city filled with culture and beauty.

An excerpt:

“Visiting Juarez is an object lesson in overcoming assumptions. Four years ago it was a narco-hell of daily shootings and reprisal beheadings but violence has abated and security improved to the point that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office no longer advises against all but essential travel there.

The people are indeed back on the streets – there is a bustle entirely lacking in El Paso, where no one walks. Children in school uniforms walk past shops selling wedding dresses. Vaqueros in cowboy hats loaf about with squeezeboxes and guitars. And everywhere there are signs of construction, rejuvenation.

At the cone-shaped Museum of Art the director, Rosa Elva Vazquez Ruiz, tells me that the museum was a refuge and consolation for many people at the height of the street violence. ‘To come here was the best thing they could do in the week,’ she says.