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Venezuela's Chavez effectively cancels L.A. concerts

November 11, 2008 |  5:43 pm

Isabel2th Ever since 9/11, there have been numerous reports of foreign musicians and actors being unable to obtain visas to perform in the U.S. Only in September, for example, UCLA Live was forced to cancel a series of solo performances by Austrian actor-singer Martin Neidermair in an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" after the Department of Homeland Security rejected his visa application.

Now the L.A. Baroque performance group Musica Angelica has been obliged to cancel a pair of concerts it had scheduled for Nov. 22 and 23. Both were to present the same program, titled "Musical Garden": Isabel Palacios, a mezzo-soprano and director of La Fundacion Camerata de Caracas in Venezuela, leading members of Musica Angelica and guest vocalists in a program of Spanish and Latin American madrigals and canzonas.

Palacio's failure to obtain a visa turns out to be different, however. According to officials of Musica Angelica, that failure was a consequence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's decision in September to expel the U.S. ambassador. Although the embassy's website suggests that it is conducting business as usual, the Musica Angelica folks maintain that the embassy is temporarily closed and that Palacio is out of luck.

The officials add, though, that they hope the advent of the Obama administration will result in a change of affairs and that they have optimistically rescheduled Palacio's appearances for March 21 and 22.

-- Craig Fisher

Photo: Isabel Palacios. Credit: Clasicos Dominicales RCTV Victor