The lack of continuity of the administrations of each six-year term is only one of the problems faced by the archives. Such is the case of the aria Eccomi al fine, from the opera Leonora by Luis Baca, which will be heard for the first time on Thursday, July 1 at 7:00 p.m. through the YouTube channel of the National Center for Research, Documentation and Musical Information Carlos Chávez (Cenidim), after more than 170 years of being archived.
The rescue came from the invitation received by the researcher Áurea Maya to create the Catalog of the Historical Archive of the National Conservatory of Music.
“In 2011 the management of the Conservatory invited me to organize what was called at that time the Reserved Fund, where 4 thousand works were cataloged, and there was the manuscript of the first act for song and orchestra by Leonora”, he details in the researcher interviews.
The aria for soprano will be performed by Ana Rosalía Ramos, who will be accompanied on the piano by David Pérez, as part of “Opera: Our Forgotten Heritage”, a project that is focused on the rescue, performance and promotion of Mexican opera.
However, recorded data assure that Eccomi al fine was sung in Paris by the French soprano Jenny Rossignon in 1850, at the Théâtre Italien, and that a part of the aria was performed in 2011 as part of the Fourth Meeting of the Mexican Song, at the UNAM; but the aria in its entirety will be heard for the first time on July 1.
Give up medicine for music
Luis Baca (Durango, 1824-Mexico City, 1853) showed an early interest in music, because when he was orphaned at age six, he was adopted by his uncle, who played the violin. A year later he took music theory and piano classes with Vicente Guardado, chapel teacher at the Cathedral of Durango. In 1839 he studied at the Great Philharmonic Society and later took private lessons.
However, Áurea Maya explains, “they sent him to study medicine in Paris, but he always liked music, so he decided to drop out of medical school and enroll in the Paris Conservatory. He told Francisco Zarco, one of his biographers in the 19th century, that he went to see Gaetano Donizetti, who listened to one of his piano works and gave him some lessons. We have not been able to confirm this, but it is said that it is thanks to that that he entered the Paris Conservatory ”.
Creative period in Paris
Baca studies between four and five years in País and there he edits six pieces for piano, some polkas, dances and also the cavatina of the opera Leonora, in a version for song and piano and another for song and orchestra. In February 1852 he returned to Mexico.
According to the researcher, “we are in the process of studying this aria and evaluating the figure of Luis Baca in the music scene of the mid-nineteenth century. We can consider it the antecedent of what will be the beginning of an opera composition movement by Mexicans. The first Mexican who was able to premiere an opera at the National Theater was Cenobio Paniagua, in 1859; Seven years earlier, in 1852, Luis Baca arrived in Mexico City from Paris, with all the decision to go find the premiere of his two operas: Leonora and Juana de Castilla, but his illness and death prevented him. . If he hadn’t died, maybe the father of Mexican opera would be Luis Baca ”.
“That aria and the entire first act is what we know about Leonora,” says the specialist, who will also be presenting the Catalog of the Historical Archive of the Conservatory Library published by Cenidim, in the context of the 155th Anniversary of the National Conservatory of Music . The catalog of the 4 thousand works will be available on the INBA website. _