Guarani Opera ‘Ñomongeta’ Set To Make Its Paraguayan Premiere

By David Salazar

The Guarani opera “Ñomongeta” is set to have its Paraguayan debut on August 27, 2019 at the Centro Cultural de la República “El Cabildo,” after successful showcases in Rome, Brussels, and Paris this past May.

The work, written by Paraguayan composer Diego Sánchez Haase and librettist Modesto Escobar Quino, lasts around 40 minutes and is written entirely in the indigenous language of Guarani. The opera features a lone tenor and indigenous instruments, including the mimby, the gualambáu, the takuapú, maracas, a tamourin, and two indigenous drums. The role of the tenor will be performed b José Mongelós with Haase serving as music director.

The opera features an indigenous man telling the story of the Aboriginal people prior to the arrival of Columbus and then after the Europeans conquered the Americas. The two acts of the opera present a clear before and after of this major event, emphasizing how the lives of this group of natives changed drastically in light of colonial rule.

“The opera ‘Ñomongeta’ could be easily and superficially perceived as a work of reproach to American colonization by Europeans and as an acid nostalgia for what it was and is no longer,” noted Mongelós in a press release. “However, in my opinion, the literal conversation between the indigenous and Christopher Columbus is the least important conversation of the work. This musical and linguistic wonder that Sánchez Haase, Escobar Aquino and Paredes give us offers much more relevant, interesting and urgent conversations, especially for the present times.”