two women against black backdrop. One is smiling and looking at the camera, the other is singing

Core Ensemble: “Las Magnificas”

A chamber music theatre performance
Sep 24, 2019, 7:30 PM
Jewett Arts Center
Free and open to the public

In this chamber music theatre performance, focusing on the Cuban singer Celia Cruz and the Chilean singer Violeta Parra, Core Ensemble combines music with performance elements such as narrative and dance.

Las Magnificas, scored for cello, piano, percussion and singing actress, is based on the lives of two renowned Latin American singers: Celia Cruz, the Cuban “Queen of Salsa” and Chilean singer-songwriter Violeta Parra, “the Mother of Latin American Folk Music.”

Celia Cruz and Violeta Parra were extraordinary Latina artists. Singers deeply rooted in the tradition of their own country’s musical history, both were iconic figures in their respective countries, yet history intervened in their artistic and personal lives. Both used their voices as instruments of change and resistance, in the midst of political turmoil in their countries.

Las Magnificas was created by award-winning Chilean-American poet Marjorie Agosin. Agosin has gained notability for her outspokenness for women's rights in Chile. The United Nations has honored her for her work on human rights. The evening-length work is filled with music popularized by Cruz and Parra: Tu Voz, Gracias a la Vida, La Vida es un Carnaval and Volver a los 17 as well as instrumental music by other Latin American Composers such as Ernesto Lecuona, Eduardo Sanchez de Fuentes, Victor Jara, and Tania Leon. The narrative illuminates the social and political struggles and triumphs of the two artists.

Founded in 1993, Core Ensemble has earned acclaim for developing a new genre of chamber music theatre works, as well as commissioning and performing contemporary chamber music. Core Ensemble maintains a deep commitment to reaching the widest possible range of audiences demographically and geographically, in formats ranging from formal performance to informal lecture and educational residency programs.

Core Ensemble has commissioned many of today’s finest composers for new works featuring the unique instrumental combination of cello, piano, and percussion, many funded by the most prestigious commissioning programs in the United States. CD recordings have been released on the New World, Albany, and Centaur labels.

For more information, please contact:

Jael Matos,

Generously supported by:

the CLCE, International Friends of Chile Commission on Human Rights, the Newhouse Center, and the Wellesley College Department of Music, Theatre Studies program, and Writing Program,

Image Credit:

Michael Parola