by Mei Lin Leon Garcia
Dr. Carlos Tovar had a recital on the Florida State Auditorium last August 31. Some people believe that to appreciate a performance of opera one should have at least a basic notion of what the singer was doing. This is not true.
FYI: A Tenor is “the highest natural adult male voice, having an approximate range of two octaves” (Encarta Encyclopedia). Even though I do not comprehend what a ‘range of two octaves’ is I can say that it was a lovely recital.
There were about eighty persons in the Florida State Auditorium; quite a small audience. Most of the public was paying attention and clapping at the end of each section. A few people were dozing off but most were awake.
The performance had five sections. Each section was by a different composer and each composer was from a different country and therefore, in a different language. Mr. Tovar sang in Italian, French, Spanish, English and German.
After finishing the last section, Mr. Tovar addressed the audience and dedicated one song to his family. He explained that he was going to sing the first two stanzas of the poem Patria by the Panamanian author Ricardo Miró. This was a musical adaptation that the Maestro Gonzalo Brenes made from the poem.
I have to make a special note for the Piano performer Miss María Inés Rodríguez-Rey. She was playing the only musical instrument in the recital (besides Mr. Tovar’s voice). She played the piano in such a delicate and graceful way that was just amazing.
Mr. Tovar’s performance was hypnotizing. Each language had a special way of captivating the attention of the audience. The peak moment for me and I’m sure for most of the audience was when Mr. Tovar sang Patria. Patria is such a beautiful poem that means so much to Panamanians. And he sang Patria in such a harmonious way, full of sentiment that you could see in the way he moved and in the expression of his face.
Classical music is magical and it can wrap you in such a way that you forget everything else in the world: problems, time, stress.
Interview with Dr. Carlos “Tito” Tovar.
Did you always want to be a musician? If so, why didn’t you study music from the beginning?
I always loved music, but I saw it as a hobby that’s why got a degree in Dental Surgery. Later on I realized that I could actually study music and make a living out of it.
How many years did you have to study in order to become a Tenor?
Twelve years. Ten years studying in Panama. Then six years in Puerto Rico plus two more years in Philadelphia for my Master Degree.
What do you think about classical music in Panama? Is it appreciated?
It’s been appreciated little by little (step by step). What we need here in Panama is more advertising and production by Panamanians for this kind of event. If the press were more involved then it would spread out and reach more Panamanians.
Why did you choose the Florida State University Panama Auditorium for this event?
A Recital like this one needs a good piano, which was pretty much the main reason. Besides this is a small auditorium with great acoustics, so it had everything I needed.
Any words of advice to Florida State University students interested in pursuing a career as performers?
Well, first of all you’ve got to have talent. That is basic for anything you do in life, whether is been a tenor, a painter or a doctor. If you have the talent you should cultivate it and make the best of your gift.
Mr. Tovar made a comment about the last song, Patria. He sang this adaptation in Puerto Rico for his Bachelor of Music. Mr. Tovar said that as any Panamanian that listens to the verses of Patria; when he sang it in Puerto Rico he actually had to stop singing take a deep breath and continue singing, because he felt like crying.
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