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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

Weekender: Symphonic Acrobatics, Tango And The Saga

Juliet Photography

From acrobats and symphonies to a tango performance to a multi-media anniversary, the weekend is here! First off, head to the Tobin Center.

According to the San Antonio Symphony's Katie Brill, Friday and Saturday’s performances of Tchaikovsky, John Williams, Holst and others will feature something really different.

"The show starts in such a way that the acrobats start on the ground," she said.

You read that right. This weekend’s symphony performances also feature acrobatics from Cirque Musica in various disciplines.

"The acrobats start on the ground. And then as the concert progresses they gradually go higher into the air," Brill said.

The acrobatic athletes will dance ballet, do acrobatics, and even aerials, all to the sounds of live symphonic music.

Credit Juliet Photography
Cirque Musica

"Yes, and one of the acrobats will even be playing the violin solo as she's doing her acrobatic tricks," she said.

Associate Conductor Noam Aviel conducts a performance that Brill said many of you will view in different ways.

"You can pay attention to the acrobats. You can pay attention to the musicians. You can pay attention to Noam as she's conducting," she said. “There are a lot of different entry points."

IF YOU GO What: San Antonio Symphony Where: Tobin Center for the Performing Arts When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday Cost:  $10-$96

Also on Saturday at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, Azul Barrientos says one music genre takes center stage.

Azul Barrientos

"It's going to be all about tango and only abouttango," she said.

I asked her what exactly makes tango… tango? Her answer: rhythm.

"That rhythm that makes you want to move," Barrientos said, citing its distinctive beat that dancers love to dance to.

Despite the way tango sounds, she said there's actually a deep sadness inherent in tango.

"Like blues, like rancheras, it's something that happened that pretty much you had no control over it and you're still going through it," she said.

Barrientos is not performing alone, but with a solid band to back her, including the father/son Prados.

"Aaron Prado on the keyboard and the piano, George Prado on the upright bass, Emilio Alvarez on the cello, Nina Rodriguez on the percussion,” she said. “I'm going to be on the guitar and singing. And we'll have a beautiful guest, her name is Giomara [Bazaldua] and she's going to be dancing two pieces of tango as well."

IF YOU GO What: Azul Barrientos concert Where: Esperanza Peace and Justice Center When: 8 p.m. Saturday Cost:  $7

And Saturday night on Main Plaza: the Main Plaza Conservancy’s Casey Glueck said it will be a momentous occasion.


"It is our 5th anniversary of San Antonio: The Saga," she said.

She’s talking about the 24-minute long computer animated history of South Texas that is projected on the facade of San Fernando Cathedral Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. This marks the halfway point on the film's 10-year contract at the plaza. Glueck details the evening’s event.

"We are kicking off at 4 o'clock with some folklorico dancing. At 5 o'clock we have our very own Mariachi Corazon de San Antonio coming. They are so amazing," she said.

Rachel Yvonne Cruz and Juan Cabrera will mix it up with a little opera singing, followed by former San Antonian, performer Patricia Vonne.


"She's a two-time Austin Music Awards Artist-of-the-Year award winner,” Glueck said. “And then our big headliner: we have Stephanie Urbina Jones and the Honky-Tonk Mariachis."


After it's all done, stick around at 9 p.m. to watch The Saga. As to what all this will cost, Glueck said, "It's free and open to the public!"

IF YOU GO What: The Saga 5th Anniversary Where: Main Plaza downtown When: 4 p.m. Saturday Cost:  free


A local theatrical group doesn't do what they do just to provide a night on the town. They're called the Surround Project, and Eva Laporte explains their approach.


"We focus on one, hopefully great project a year. We take a contemporary play that we think is important and timely," she said.

Credit Siggi Ragnar
Andrew Thornton plays Warren, Kathy Couser plays his mother Peggy

The productions deal with unresolved issues and societal problems. And this is where they veer away from what a playhouse does: they invite relevant non-profits in beforehand to see rehearsals.

"They tell us from their point of expertise what's real about the play or challenging about the play,” Laporte said. “And when they see the play and they bring their community to see the play, we have a new and expanded type of audience, and a new kind of conversation we can have after the play."

Most art is designed to inspire change, but the Surround Project takes it one step further by drawing lines between those in need and those whose job it is to help them. The current production is called Four Places and it involves a storyline many of us have lived out.

Credit Siggi Ragnar
Kathy Couser (center) plays Peggy, pictured here with Catherine Babbitt (right) and Andrew Thornton

"It's an aging mother, and a son and daughter who take her to lunch. And at lunch they're going to have a difficult conversation about the living situation," Laporte said.

It's that weird turnabout where the child, in a way, becomes the parent. Suddenly the child is having to make key decisions about how and where the parent will be living.

"It's a very hard transition, and I think a lot of us can relate to that," she said.

They have already begun their run Thursdays through Sundays at the Classic Theatre, with evening performances through June 23. Sunday performances are at 3 p.m.  

IF YOU GO What: Four Places Where: The Classic Theatre When: 8 p.m. Thu-Sat, 3 p.m. Sunday Cost:  $25


Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii