The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

‘Carnaval!’ brings celebration of culture to KCPA

Mariana Quezada
“Carnaval!” music performance at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday.

The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts hosted “Carnaval!,” a celebration of music and dance, on Tuesday night. “Carnaval!” shined a spotlight on cultures from around the globe, like those of France and Brazil. 

Hosted in the Foellinger Great Hall, the show mostly featured student performers from both the undergraduate and graduate levels involved with the Lyric Theatre at Illinois, which produced the event. 

Before the event, a reception was held in the lobby, where people mingled among feathers, colorful hats and sequined masks. 

Upon entrance, guests were offered colorful necklaces and tickets for gaming tables. While waiting for the main show, the University of Illinois Latin American Ensemble and local Afro-Brazilian percussion group Bloco Gavião performed.

The Luso-Brazilian Association and the Ecuadorian Student Association were also present, showing their support for the event.

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“Carnaval is a big thing in Brazil,” said Thallyta Cavoli, graduate assistant at the Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies. “It’s our major event, so we had one Carnaval that (LBA) sponsored last Saturday and now we are also partnering with Krannert Center.”

ESA representatives also displayed traditional Ecuadorian Carnaval masks and explained how they differ from carnaval celebrations around the world.

“We are here because we want to share with the community of Illinois the Ecuadorian culture,” said Cristian Ortiz, ESA social chair. “We love it and we are very passionate about it. We want to share with other people and let them know about how beautiful Ecuadorian culture is.”

Once the show started, the music and emotions didn’t stop. “Carnaval!” opened with the song “La Vida es un carnaval” by Cuban singer Celia Cruz and flowed throughout music genres and languages.

Although most people might associate carnaval with the vibrant Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, the event highlighted other countries that also celebrate their version of Carnaval, especially France.

Among the most popular pieces featured were “La Seine” from the movie “A Monster in Paris,” “Le Festin” from “Ratatouille” and the classic “La Vie en rose,” originally sung by Edith Piaf. 

One of the standout pieces from the night was “Nuit d’hymenée” from the opera “Roméo et Juliette” sung by Héctor Camacho-Salazar and Xin Zhou. The duo’s melodies momentarily transformed the Krannert Center into the Palais Garnier.

Another lively piece was the solo “La Mer est infinie” by Charles Trenet, sung by Kyle Widener, junior in FAA.

Perhaps the most chilling song was the rendition of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from the musical “Evita,” sung by Kathryn King, junior in FAA, who put on a regal and potent performance.   

At the midpoint of the performance, Alicia Doyle, a member of the audience, was crowned Carnaval Queen, an annual tradition.

Doyle explained she was there to see her granddaughter perform and was not aware of her impending coronation. 

“The performance was fantastic, like always,” she said. “They put in so much time and energy and the teachers are fabulous. I think they’re just amazing.”

“Carnaval!” closed with “Carnaval del Barrio” from the musical “In the Heights,” where flags from different countries were waved and the entire cast came out for a last colorful performance. 

This celebration of carnaval in the heart of the Midwest showed that the love for music knows no borders. 


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