Exploring the Transformative Power of El Canto de las Manos

Exploring the Transformative Power of El Canto de las Manos

A groundbreaking feature documentary titled El Canto de las Manos (Song Of The Hands) is in the works, spearheaded by Spanish actress and director María Valverde and renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel. The film will delve into the inspiring story of a deaf choir’s extraordinary rendition of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio. Valverde will take on the role of director, with DJ Kurs serving as an executive producer. The project is a collaborative effort between Valverde and Dudamel’s Quinchoncho label, in partnership with Forty Entertainment.

Gustavo Dudamel, best known as the music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has long been fascinated by Beethoven’s profound experience with deafness. In 2022, Dudamel orchestrated a groundbreaking production of Fidelio at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, bringing together a diverse ensemble including the LA Phil orchestra, opera soloists, a vocal choir, signing actors from the Deaf West Theatre company, and the Venezuelan Deaf choir, Coro de Manos Blancas (White Hands Choir). This iconic performance marked a pivotal moment in the intersection of music and Deaf culture.

Set against the backdrop of the 2022 production at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, El Canto de las Manos follows the members of Coro de Manos Blancas as they undertake the challenge of preparing for and starring in a production of Fidelio in Caracas, Venezuela. The documentary captures the emotional and transformative journey of individuals such as Jennifer González, Gabriel Linarez, and José Gabriel Abarca as they strive to achieve excellence on a global stage.

A New Perspective on Deaf Culture

For María Valverde, the film represents a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between hearing audiences and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community. Through the lens of music and performance, Valverde aims to showcase the transformative power of art in fostering empathy, understanding, and solidarity. El Canto de las Manos serves as a testament to the leadership and resilience of the members of Coro de Manos Blancas, highlighting their ability to inspire and uplift both Deaf and hearing communities.

The 90-minute documentary, shot on location in Venezuela and Los Angeles, offers a verité-style glimpse into the daily lives of choir members as they navigate the challenges of mastering a world-class performance. DJ Kurs, an executive producer on the project, emphasizes the film’s celebration of the creative potential and resilience of Deaf talents when given the opportunity to shine on the global stage. El Canto de las Manos encapsulates the magic that unfolds when sign language and Deaf culture are embraced and celebrated.

Produced in collaboration with The DeNovo Initiative and The Breathe Project, El Canto de las Manos boasts a talented team of producers including Cristina Oliva, Martí Font, Marci Wiseman, Paula P. Manzanedo, Ana Pinós, Dawn Bonder, MJ Peckham, and Daniel J. Chalfen. The documentary promises to be a captivating exploration of the transformative power of performance and the infinite possibilities that arise when diverse talents converge in pursuit of a shared artistic vision.


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