This piece was sacred for those who attended in person and those who joined via televised livestream. As a big fan of Baroque Music from my days at Juilliard, I was very interested in staging Monteverdi's vespers; his music has such atmosphere, such stillness and evolution, and never resolves in a predictable way to my ears. It was also a challenge, which I adore- Conductor Alejandro Zuleta (alejandrozuleta.com/music-at-co-cath) lead a Baroque orchestra) and Soprano Cristina María, Soprano, commissioned from me a devised theater piece, the task - to honor the Virgen de Guadalupe on her holiday, December 12th, set to the music of Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610.
I was so inspired by the scale of Co-Cathedral of Brooklyn, with its soaring green marble and vibrant murals- I knew the staging would involve coming out into the aisle among the people, as the Virgen of Guadalupe did when she appeared to Juan Diego. I decided to do a re-telling of her story, just as we re-enact the nativity every year. We cast a brilliant actor as Juan Diego-(Leonard Zelig) and he and I co-wrote a series of monologues in Spanish/English. We had an incredible Baroque tenor I had worked with at Juilliard, Richard Pittsinger as our lead soloist and he was transcendental. The spilling of scented roses, the draping of Guadalupe (in the video attached above) when she descends from heaven, the miracle of healing Juan Diego's uncle, all parts of her visit to the Americas were shown. At the end, a community of Guadalupanos offered a real rose offering, and all dedicated a blessing to Guadalupe. This was a very special evening, and many knelt to touch the tilma of Guadalupe's image at the end- a perfectly sacred tribute.