WELCOME TO RAFAEL’S MUSIC NOTES

RAFI

Welcome to my Music Notes! Here you  will find a mix of reviews of arts events and recordings, some of my own personal musings about the arts, and some profiles about some of the wonderfully talented people I have been fortunate to meet throughout more than sixty years in the arts. I hope you will enjoy your visit.

About me

As a teenager I studied Drama at Havana’s Academy of Dramatic Arts and in 1959 I joined the resident professional company of the Teatro Nacional de Cuba as its youngest member. I came to the United States in 1960 to pursue further studies in Drama at the University of Minnesota,  and later Voice at the Juilliard School of Music – where I studied with Jennie Tourel and Marion Szekely-Freschl.

In 1967 I came to Cincinnati to study with operatic bass Italo Tajo at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.  While at CCM I took my first steps in directing. Later my productions of the American premieres of Mozart’s L’Oca del Cairo, Handel’s Imeneo, and Gounod’s Philémon et Baucis for the New England Chamber Opera Group helped establish my credentials as a stage director.

After receiving my Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music I received an appointment as director of the opera workshop at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, where I staged Rossini’s La Cenerentola for the Shreveport Opera. I then moved to New York, where I joined the staging staff of the New York City Opera on a grant from the National Opera Institute. There I worked as assistant director in several productions, including Gian-Carlo Menotti’s The Consul, with the composer himself directing. After a couple of years during which I did free-lance work as a director and worked in the Literary Department of Joseph Papp’s New York Public Theatre, my wife, Kimberly and I worked as cruise directors for several cruise lines.

We next moved to Miami, Florida where we co-founded New Theatre, and where I produced twenty seasons of classic and contemporary theatre, which included fifty world premieres by American playwrights, among them Michael McKeever, Mario Diament, and Nilo Cruz, whose Ana in the Tropics, commissioned by New Theatre, earned the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

In addition to my work at New Theatre I served as a grant panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Theatre Communications Group, the Florida Arts Council, and the Dade County Cultural Affairs Department.

I was honored four times with South Florida’s regional theatre Carbonell awards for Best Direction and Best Production, the Bill Hindman Award for Sustained Artistic Achievement from the South Florida Theatre Critics Association, a Remy award from the Theatre League of South Florida, four Miami New TimesBest Theatre Director and Best Theatre for Drama citations, a XXI Hispanic Theatre Festival tribute, a Distinguished Ambassadors for the Arts citation for both Kimberly and me along with the Key to the City of Coral Gables, and a Lifetime Achievement Citation for “trailblazing contributions to the arts” also for both Kimberly and me from Miami-Dade County.

Since 2010, as a Cincinnati resident, I have been a busy member of the arts community, directing a concert series, covering arts events for http://www.seenandheard-international and for http://www.RafaelMusicNotes.com, and teaching for the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI).

Representative Reviews: 

“De Acha brings such intricate care and subtle intelligence to the details of design and staging that a signature de Acha production, recognizable anywhere, has come to be one of the high points of the South Florida cultural landscape. His productions have been subtle, sensual, literate, evocative… a master of musicality, using elements of rhythm, tone, and harmony.” Miami New Times 

“It will be a long time before Floridians see a Hamlet as triumphant as the one enthralling audiences at the New Theatre. In fact, it will be a long time before we see any Shakespeare this fine again. With virtuoso acting, sublime direction and just plain mesmerizing theater, de Acha and an outstanding company spin a vibrant vision that modern audiences can easily connect with.” Sun Sentinel

“What fills that space is the best kind of theater — provocative, moving, funny, intellectually stimulating, grand and captivating.” Miami Herald