Thursday, December 15, 2011

“Doing What Makes Me Smile”

Together with Titi Rábago and Ivan Montes, Kate Burt  has formed a new singing group, Aoide, named for the muse of song. It will present Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and early music at the Museo Iconografico December 15, 8pm. Some pieces are a cappella but Dulce Escudero/harp and Kate and Miguel Espinozo/harpsichord will be there when a piece requires accompaniment.

Several years ago, Kate used the internet to decide where to study Spanish. During her first weeks in Guanajuato, this effervescent woman began meeting people who share her passion for  theater and music. Now she has lived here for two years, bringing her experience with her.

Near New York City, Kate did everything from dressmaking to costume design, took student theater groups she directed to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, went into New York to sing with opera groups, and presented recitals of Edith Piaf’s songs.

A year ago, she repeated her Piaf concert at the Olga Costa. She and Silvana Santibañez assisted Alonso Echánova in his work with a cast of student actors. Now the two women have founded a Little Theater called El Quinto Elemento that has started rehearsing what Kate refers to as a sweet comedy, “Milagritos a la orden,” by  Norma Roman Calvo.

Kate says her teaching style owes much to her experience working under the director of the Amato Opera Company. “Because my students at the Music School are understandably afraid of auditions, that’s what we work on. Even a little trick like putting your thumb on the line you are singing can  help.”

The opera scores Kate brought with her occupy a specially built bookcase. Her eyes sparkle as she mentions an opera performances she thinks was done just right--Franco Zeffirrelli’s version of Carmen, set during the Spanish Civil War, with Carmen shown as a double agent.

“It worked,” says Kate, savoring the memory.