"We saw nothing was being done,” says Chris Ludwa, artistic director of the Indianapolis Arts Chorale, of his ensemble’s attempt to reach out to the city’s burgeoning Hispanic community.
And so the IAC has created a world premiere production of Franz Josef Haydn’s The Creation, translated into Spanish by ensemble member Melissa Garr and featuring three Hispanic soloists.
Ludwa says the production, funded by the Lilly Endowment as part of a three-year grant aimed at serving underserved audiences, has been designed to overcome certain barriers. The first of these was geographic. Rather than performing in a typical performing arts venue, the IAC chose to go to where its target audience was, in this case, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, an institution with a large Hispanic congregation that Ludwa calls “a beautiful venue” with fine acoustics.
Cost was another consideration. Tickets for the performance will be free to St. Mary’s parishioners and deeply discounted for other members of the Hispanic community.
Finally, getting the word out about the performance is a challenge being met through a conscious effort to collaborate with the city’s Hispanic media.
Ludwa says the Arts Chorale has received some criticism for translating The Creation into Spanish. But he points out the piece was originally in German, then translated into English. Adapting the piece for a Romance language, he says, has been an exciting challenge. “Haydn does a masterful job of setting text in a way that the music paints what’s happening.” Ludwa says his ideal scenario will be to play for an audience that is half Spanish-speaking and half English-speaking “in a way that grabs both of them.”
The Indianapolis Arts Chorale’s premiere production of Haydn’s The Creation takes place April 21 at 8 p.m. St. Mary’s Catholic Church is located at 317 N. New Jersey St. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.