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15 July 2007
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15/07/2007 by Mary Miliken

Powerful people all over the world would do just about anything to get renowned architect Frank Gehry to design for them. All Mariza had to do was sing. Her interpretation of fado, the soulful music of Portugal, has moved Gehry to turn the stage of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the steel-clad architectural gem he created for Los Angeles, into a cozy tavern. Their joint creation will last a single night, October 28. "When I met Mariza and heard her sing I was immediately connected to a whole bunch of things and Lisbon became symbolic of the greatest place on earth," Gehry said in an interview on Friday. Gehry was seduced by the light and character of Lisbon, where majestic pastel-colored buildings reflect off the waters of the Tagus river and evoke the riches of Portugal's colonial empire. "Lisbon somehow connected California to Europe for me," he said. That was five years ago. Mariza, born in the former Portuguese colony of Mozambique in 1973, has since become an international star, performing in the likes of Royal Albert Hall in London, New York's Carnegie Hall and yes, the Disney Concert Hall. "Once she did a concert here, I was staggered by how she understood this room quickly. She just got it," said Gehry as he sat with Mariza on stage, the soaring ceiling overhead. Mariza had been wowed by the outside of the building, but the inside, she said, was a masterpiece of a music hall, that felt intimate on contact and pushed her to sing a cappella. "Only a person who really loves art and music could think about what the artist is going to feel on stage," said Mariza, who goes by that single name. So Gehry asked Mariza if he could design a Lisbon "taverna" on stage and her costume the next time she came. "For the first time in my life, I am going to have my own taverna," said Mariza, who grew up around her father's tavern in the traditional Mouraria neighborhood on a Lisbon hillside. 'MAYBE MY OWN FANTASY' Gehry won architecture's highest honor, the Pritzker Prize, in 1989 and his best-known work, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, made him one of the world's most sought-after architects. He remains in high gear at the age of 78, working on projects all over the world including the large-scale redevelopment of downtown Los Angeles. But he has never collaborated with a performer like he has with Mariza. "I don't really go looking for stuff like this. I wouldn't do it with many people," said Gehry, who was born in Canada but moved to Los Angeles early in life.
"This is very important. I would like to see her more visible in the U.S. and I would like people to hear about and understand the connection between Southern California and Lisbon, the light, and the quality and the character of life." Fado, which translates to fate in English, is often associated with melancholy and the waves of Portuguese emigrants afflicted by "saudade," or longing. But Mariza insists it is not sad, and she herself bears no resemblance to the black-clad, somber fado singers of the past, such as grande dame of fado Amalia Rodrigues. She is tall, lithe, wears vertiginous high heels and sports shortly cropped blond hair. "You can have a happy concert, because fado and Lisbon have that side too, not just the melancholy side," said Mariza. "They have the happiness, the fashion, the love, the saudade, everything." Gehry nodded as he soaked up Mariza's words, but he maintained he is a fan of Mariza more than a fan of fado. "When I hear her sing, she represents Lisbon to me. Maybe it's my own fantasy and I've built it up into something. But she does. It's Lisbon and Lisbon is a great story."

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Biografía: If we were to ask each and every one of Mariza’s sigue...



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