From the Director - El último sueño de Frida y Diego

Apr 17, 2024

Frida and Diego created some of the most fascinating works of art in the 20th century. Frida Kahlo is one of very few artists whose work is immediately recognizable. Diego is the father of Mexican Muralism, the first artistic movement the Americas gave to the world. They were extraordinary artists with extraordinary lives and a tragic love story. These two Mexican artists transcend in every aspect of their lives. They were unique, provocative, intense, and amazing artists. Frida and Diego created a whole universe for themselves with their art, their passions, their houses, their love affairs, their art collections, the way they dressed, their social and political ideals, and their love for each other. Everything in their lives was connected and truly represented who they were. Art and life were the same. They shared everything important to them, especially their love for Mexico and its indigenous past, popular art and of course their social and political ideals. They both painted Mexico´s visual identity at its core. Frida and Diego helped us remember who we were and created a vision of how we wanted to be. All they created came together in a multidimensional, multicultural universe that translated into unique, personal, breathtaking art. They live on because of that uniqueness. Their universe is profoundly appealing because we can recognize ourselves in their passion, their pain, and the beauty of what they created.

These two characters have many dimensions; they exist as icons, as artists, as a couple, and as individual human beings. But they also belong to the imagination. The Last Dream of Frida and Diego allows us to imagine them again, recreate part of that universe, and witness a last encounter. This story has all the ingredients for an opera. Love, betrayal, pain, art, death, politics, sex, gender, diversity, and disability. Nilo Cruz’s story is as multilayered and multidimensional as its characters. It’s a journey from the underworld and back; it’s about passion for art and finding identity through art; it’s about forgiveness and surrender. Finally, this story is also a dream: Diego’s and Frida’s dream of a last encounter with each other and with art. It happens on Día de Muertos and Diego’s last day on earth. The context is enormous and couldn’t be more dramatic. Our challenge in this production is to create a unique universe that conveys the main symbols, gestures and imagery of their iconography and their lives in a very symbolic and depurated style, avoiding textual reproductions and the usual interpretation of Mexican folklore cliché or massive media exploitation of Frida’s and Diego’s life and image. We wanted to create our own vision of this particular and beautiful story.

The whole creative team of The Last Dream of Frida and Diego represents eight or nine different cultures, nationalities and artistic sensibilities. I’m a Mexican stage director directing the opera of a Peruvian-American-Estonian composer with a Cuban-American librettist, depicting two cultural icons that represent so many different communities. Well, this is what the world looks like now. Not only do we live in a globalized world, but we live in a multicultural one; all the American continent is a melting pot. We are a mixture of races and cultures, migrations and indigenous people, from Alaska to Patagonia. We are all Mestizos in a sense.

I believe projects like this one can help advance diversity and inclusion, helping us understand our different cultures and shared humanity. We can genuinely connect through music and art, discovering and celebrating our differences with respect, and recognizing ourselves in others. We must embrace diversity and inclusion to live peacefully and prosper. I hope this opera can help bring communities closer and welcome new audiences to the opera. I hope that Mexicans and Americans feel proud of such a rich and distinctive heritage that belongs to all of us.

— Lorena Maza

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