Exploring the Power of Music and Community Through “El Canto de las Manos”

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The upcoming feature documentary “El Canto de las Manos” (Song Of The Hands) is set to provide audiences with a unique and inspiring look into the world of a deaf choir’s production of the Beethoven opera Fidelio. Directed by Spanish actress and director María Valverde, and produced by superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel’s Quinchoncho label, this film promises to showcase the transformative power of music and community.

Long fascinated by Beethoven’s Deafness, Dudamel staged a groundbreaking production of Fidelio at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2022. This production brought together the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra, opera singer-soloists, a vocal choir, signing actors from the Deaf West Theatre company, and the Venezuelan Deaf choir, Coro de Manos Blancas (White Hands Choir), for a truly memorable performance. The success of this production led to a European Tour that visited Barcelona, London, and Paris.

“El Canto de las Manos” takes place after the 2022 production and before the recent tour, focusing on the members of Coro de Manos Blancas as they prepare for a production of Fidelio in Caracas, Venezuela. The documentary follows three choir members, Jennifer González, Gabriel Linarez, and José Gabriel Abarca, as they strive to reach world-class performance levels. This intimate portrayal offers audiences a glimpse into the daily lives and challenges faced by these talented individuals.

For Valverde, this documentary marks a significant step into the world of directing. She hopes to use this film as a platform to bridge the gap between the hearing and Deaf communities, showcasing the transformative power of music for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community. By highlighting the leadership and resilience of the members of El Coro de Manos Blancas, Valverde aims to create a greater understanding and appreciation for Deaf culture.

“The film is a celebration of the transformative power of performance, and the magic that happens when Deaf talents are offered the chance to perform on the world stage,” stated DJ Kurs, the Artistic Director of the acclaimed Deaf West Theatre company. Through resilience, creativity, and the profound possibilities of sign language and Deaf culture, this documentary promises to showcase the richness and diversity of the Deaf community.

“El Canto de las Manos” is not just a documentary about music; it is a testament to the power of community, resilience, and the universal language of art. Through this film, audiences will have the opportunity to witness the transformative journey of the members of Coro de Manos Blancas as they overcome challenges and showcase their talents on the world stage. This project serves as a reminder of the profound impact that music and art can have in bringing communities together and breaking down barriers.


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