Placido Domingo To Star At Chichen Itza

Placido Domingo To Perform  Oct. 4, 2008 at Mexico’s Chichen Itza
Tickets Available Now
By Marita Adair

Luciano Pavarotti appeared there in 1997.  So will Placido Domingo, Saturday, October 4, 2008. “The Concert of the Thousand Columns, Placido Domingo at Chichén Itzá, will feature the world-renowned operatic tenor using the same memorable backdrop as for Pavarotti: the “Temple of the Warriors” flanked by “ Group of a Thousand Columns” and opposite the ancient “Temple of Kukulkan” or “ El Castillo,” as it’s also knownSeating, under the stars, will be limited to around 5,000.  

Joining Domingo will be the Yucatán Symphony Orchestra, Yucatecan composer Armando Manzanero, Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez, and  American director Eugene Kohn. Domingo made his debut at 16 in nearby Merida; his family settled in Mexico from Spain when he was 8. He will perform “Adoro created by Manzanero, classic opera, Mexican favorites, and Zarzuela.

The performance celebrates the 1500-year-old Maya site’s recent designation as one of the Seven Wonders of the World and 20 years as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Proceeds benefit preservation of Chichen Itza. Tickets are available now through www.Ticketmaster.com.mx (Search word: Placido Domingo). Prices are in Mexican pesos. For a rough estimate of the price in dollars, the conversion below uses 10 pesos to the dollar. Tickets must be purchased in advance through Ticketmaster and will not be available at the site or through hotels or travel agencies.

Three different levels of tickets are offered: Platinum VIP, Gold VIP, and General.
Platinum VIP costs 10,000 MXN pesos (U.S. $1000) and includes a welcome cocktail and dinner after the concert.
Gold tickets cost 7,500 MXN pesos (U.S.$750) and includes a welcome cocktail
General tickets are in four different zones:
Green zone    5,000 MXN pesos (U.S.$500)
Yellow zone  3,500 MXN pesos  (U.S. $350)
Purple zone   1,500 MXN pesos  (U.S. $150)
Orange zone     500 MXN pesos   (U.S. $50)

The
concert begins at 8.30 p.m. and ends around 11 p.m.Check with better hotels and travel agencies in Merida, Valladolid and Piste about transportation. The city of Merida is 75 miles southeast of the Chichen Itza archeological site on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The Chichen Itza archeological site lies just outside the small town of Piste, where there are also hotels. Valladolid, 25 miles east of Piste/Chichen Itza, is another option for lodging.

If you are wondering what such a concert might be like, and if organizers can accommodate a crowd of 5000, see this YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIDceltT6ww of the 1997 Luciano Pavarotti performance. Reportedly 17,000 attended that concert.  For those of us who don’t live where Domingo regularly performs, this concert presents a unique opportunity to experience his voice in a magical setting.

 

 

 

 

Mexico City in a cápsula

By Lola

How do you condense a city of nearly 20 million souls in a nutshell? First off, you make it a time capsule. Then, according to the AP, you include “a small case of wax blessed by the Pope to prevent mishaps,” an engraving of Saint Bárbara (more protection against damage), testimonials by various heavyweights including Ochoa, Fuentes and Nobel chemistry laureate Mario Molina, Octavio Paz—as well as neophyte brainiac Andrew Almazan Anaya, a boy who entered university at age 12 last year—plus a Mexican flag, a copy of the constitution, current newspaper editions and recordings of popular music. Add a big ol’ fiesta and a pinch of the appropriate dignitaries and voilá: a megalopolis in a cápsula.

By the way, my pesos bet that Luis Miguel and Alejandro Fernández are both on that CD.

The original time capsule was left in the bell tower of the Metropolitan Cathedral back in May 14, 1791, to “mark the placement of the building’s topmost stone, 218 years after construction began.” The local albañiles found it when they were restoring the church late last year.

Nifty, ¿no? (pronounce the latter in Spanish, please)

Here’s the original article.

Bahia Maroma to Host the Signature Spa of Capella Resort in Riviera Maya

By: MP Mexico News Staff

PUNTA MAROMA, Mexico, PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — With the opening of Auriga in the first quarter of 2009, residents of Capella Bahia Maroma will be afforded an experience once reserved for Maya royalty. From shaman-led ceremonies to jungle-setting treatment pavilions corresponding to the Maya moons, Auriga will lead its guests on a journey through ancient Mayan culture and healing traditions for a spa experience that charms as it pampers, and informs as it renews. Set within the lush jungle landscape of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, along a mile-long, white-sand beach, the spa will be an integral part of the lifestyle Capella residents enjoy, one that will allow the spa guest to define his or her experience with every visit — reserving a full morning for a water ritual, for instance, connecting with friends in the tea lounge, or simply relaxing in the sauna by the pool.

In developing the spa at Bahia Maroma, Auriga is working with designer Diana Mestre of PRO-SPA, who is credited with an in-depth knowledge of Maya cosmology and ancient healing traditions. Auriga at Bahia Maroma will compliment the resort developer Grupo Carrousel’s vision for a property deeply committed to the Yucatan and Maya culture and Capella founder Horst Schulze’s commitment to creating a lifestyle that is second to none in service, hospitality and local authenticity.

Auriga’s distinctive approach to wellness and beauty is based on the cycles of the moon — and this is particularly appropriate at Capella Bahia Maroma, in a region where ancient Maya culture was closely attuned to lunar and solar cycles. Auriga Bahia Maroma’s unique approach will have spa guests moving through a series of three platforms — Earth, Water and Heaven — taking part in Maya rituals along the way. Treatments will take place in private pavilion suites nestled in the Maya jungle. Residents will be encouraged to select music and aromas to personalize their experience, and temperatures, pressure and specific rituals will also be tailored to individual preferences and needs.

Maya-inspired treatments will include several created from rituals once reserved exclusively for Maya emperors and princesses. All will use natural products of the highest quality, incorporating local ingredients with healing properties, such as orchid, avocado, tepezcohuite (tree bark), maiz (corn) and cacao. Among them will be a Sacred Obsidian Massage, After-Sun Tepezcohuite Body Balm, Cacao and Coffee Ceremony and a Mayan Orchid Body Wrap.

With a stunningly beautiful landscape leading to a one-mile-long, white-sand Caribbean beach, Capella Bahia Maroma is destined to become one of the world’s most coveted beach resort and residential experiences. The property is opposite the world’s second largest coral reef — the Great Maya Reef — and near the renowned diving and snorkeling of Cozumel, and important Mayan archaeological sites. The property features an 83 all-villa Capella Hotel opening directly onto the Caribbean; 130 private residences; a private, world-class Rees Jones golf course; a signature Auriga spa; a magnificent beach club and flavorful gourmet dining.

Further information is available by calling 1-866-248-8466, or visit http://www.liveatbahiamaroma.com.
Auriga is a distinctive and compelling new signature spa brand that takes a holistic approach to wellness based on the unique phases of the moon. Developed in conjunction with Swedish-based spa company Raison d’Etre and Arizona-based spa consultant Sylvia Sepielli, Auriga’s design concept and signature treatments utilize the varying energies of the lunar cycle to relax, restore and realign the mind, body and spirit. Each Auriga spa draws on the individual strengths of its local environment, while providing personalized service and pampering through natural and organic products, specialized programs and unique treatments.

Named for the constellation whose brightest star is Capella, Auriga was created to serve as a destination spa in some of the finest hotels, cities and resort destinations around the world with two distinct experiences at Schloss Velden, a Capella Hotel (Austria) and Capella Castlemartyr (Ireland). Both spas have already garnered impressive accolades. The Schloss Velden spa was named “Best in Austria” by Gault Millau within six months of opening, and made the 2008 U.S. Conde Nast Traveler Hot List. The Auriga at Castlemartyr was recently named the best new destination spa in Ireland at the Irish Industry Beauty Awards. New Auriga openings are scheduled in 2008 and 2009 at Capella hotels in Mexico and Singapore. For more information, visit http://www.auriga-spa.com.

Capella Hotels and Resorts serves today’s top-tier travelers and residential property owners and is setting a new standard in the hospitality industry. Capella promises the unique benefits of the finest boutique hotels, including superb architecture and interior design, privacy, individualized service and attention to detail — combined with the amenities and activities of the world’s great luxury hotels and resorts. Capella, led by founder Horst Schulze, is a brand focused on customer choice, and offers choices that no other hotel company in the world can match. Capella is opening world-class properties in gateway cities and high-profile resort destinations around the world, including: Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel (Dusseldorf, Germany); Capella Bahia Maroma (Riviera Maya, Mexico); Capella Castlemartyr (Cork, Ireland); Capella Dunboy Castle (Castletownbere, Ireland); Capella Ixtapa (Ixtapa, Mexico); Capella Niseko (Niseko, Japan); Capella Pedregal (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico); Capella Singapore (Sentosa Island, Singapore); Capella Telluride (Telluride, Colorado); and Schloss Velden, a Capella Hotel (Velden, Austria). Learn more at http://www.capellahotels.com

Making the Most of Merida

By Jeanine Kitchel

Colonial Mexico is only 3-1/2 hours from Cancun in the form of that grand dame, Merida.  Whenever I need a cultural boost, real Mexican Yucatec food, streets teaming with masses of people, an old mercado where you can find anything and everything, historic mansions brimming with history, and an all day street fair every Sunday when the streets at the main plaza are closed off to cars, I head to Merida.

If you’re a regular visitor to the Riviera Maya and haven’t seen Merida, you really should make time for it in your next itinerary.  ADO buses make direct runs daily from the Cancun bus station to Merida for around $35 USD and are air conditioned and sleek, with TVs and bathrooms.  Or if you have a car, it’s a fast run on the super highway. Hotel prices start as low as $33 USD/night at the Trinidad (Calle 62 and 65) or Trinidad Galeria (Calle 60 and 51)  both near the main plaza; both are eclectic and charming. The galeria is an actual art gallery and each room is unique.  For historic sense of place, Merida’s oldest hotel is The Gran, Calle 59 at 60, and the upstairs rooms with balconies are a great spot for people watching on the square below.  Rates start at $84 USD. A bit farther off the plaza (Calle 59 at 68) is recently renovated hotel Villa Maria with only 11 rooms in an exquisite 200 year old building, complete with dining room, bar and sitting area. Rates here start at $140 USD. The old Villa Mercedes mansion was bought by the InterContinental group (now known as Presidente) and is just off Paseo Montejo at Ave. Colon with internet rates beginning at $106 USD.

Restaurants abound in Merida, in all price ranges.  On the plaza you’ll find two local outdoor eateries specializing in Yucatec favorites–panuchos, salbutes–for  only 25 pesos.  The 100 year old ice cream shop with fruit glacees is next door.  Restaurants like Los Almendros serve Yucatec specialties with all the pomp they can muster, and there are steak houses, Argentine restaurants, Italian restaurants, along with one of my favorites, Alberto’s Continental Cuisine, run by two now ancient brothers who’ve managed to house an art collection within a restaurant. Their garden patio displays one of the largest rubber trees I’ve seen.  It’s romantic, beautiful, and the food is different–some Lebanese specialties are included on the menu.

Whatever way you slice it, I promise you’ll be wowed by Merida.  There’s culture, food, history, walking tours, even horse drawn carriages. It’s a trip though time, and a taste of real Mexico.

Calderon Signs Law To Encourage Reading

Mexico City.

President Felipe Calderón signed the Law to Encourage Reading and Books at the official Los Pinos Residence this week.

This law, he explained, will be a legal instrument, which, while not sufficient, will be crucial to supporting education, the dissemination of books, the habit of reading and the desire to learn.

Accompanied by Public Education Secretary (SEP) Josefina Vázquez Mota, the President hailed the work of the Chambers of Deputies and Senators and the previous and current legislation and their efforts to promote discussion, conciliation, dialogue and understanding to ensure passage of this law.

He explained that the Law to Encourage Reading acknowledges the need for a greater effort to increase the number of sales points of books, promote the diversification of titles and encourage a healthy distribution and commercialization policy.

He added that in order to promote the creation and distribution of books, as a result of this law, the National Council to Encourage Books and Reading will be created, which will serve as an advisory body to the Public Education Secretariat (SEP).

“It will be extremely enriching for government to have this Council with which it will be able to extend the debate on the law and determine the tasks to be carried out. It will serve as a spokesman for all those involved in the processes of creating, producing, distributing and disseminating books and reading,” he explained.

The Prime Minister instructed the Public Education Secretary to coordinate with the popular housing policy so that households with the lowest income in Mexico will be able to have a basic library, with “approximately 15 to 20 books so that they can also have access to reading.”

“They should be simple and easy to enable Mexican households with the lowest incomes to have their first contact with books and reading,” he declared.

President Calderón pointed out that reading is a crucial issue in the construction of a better Mexico, as a result of which, since the beginning of his administration, government has undertaken several actions intended to encourage this. This is borne out by the fact that over two thousand titles have been produced since the beginning of this administration, totaling nearly 60 million copies.

He added that the chronic problem of the lack of reading in Mexico cannot be resolved by decree but requires a persistent effort to educate people.

“It is essential to transform the habits of information and entertainment we acquire as a society, and it is also vital to transform education, which makes it possible to encourage these habits at home or at school,” he explained.
Reading, he said, serves as springboard for the quest for knowledge and self-fulfillment and is literally, spiritual food.
 

Latest Deals From Tesoro Resorts

MP Mexico News Staff

Press Release

GET READY FOR A LAST SUMMER FLING AT TESORO RESORTS

 

Ixtapa, Manzanillo & Los Cabos Beach Locations Offer Fun for All

 

(NEW YORK, July 21, 2008) – For those who just can’t bear the end of summer and all the sun, sand, surf and fun that go with it, Tesoro Resorts is offering travelers a last summer fling this Labor Day weekend at resort locations in Ixtapa, Los Cabos, and Manzanillo, Mexico

 

Whether your idea of a final Labor Day hurrah is a romantic couple’s getaway, a family trip before school starts,  or one last chance for some summer loving, Tesoro’s “Last Summer Fling” package features a three-night stay in deluxe accommodations, all-day dining, a relaxing 60-minute Swedish massage per person and welcome bit of the bubbly.

 

The “Last Summer Fling” package offers travelers everything to make this last hurrah quite special – comfy accommodations with modern amenities, sun-drenched beaches and cool, relaxing pools, and delicious regional cuisine, as well as off-site golf, horseback riding, ATV action, and more. 

 

The “Last Summer Fling” package is available August 29-September 2, 2008 only at all three Tesoro resort locations in Ixtapa, Los Cabos, and Manzanillo, Mexico.  Rate is $89.50 per person/per night (based on double occupancy) including tax and gratuities.  Three-night stay minimum required. Offer based on availability. To make your reservations, visit us online at www.tesororesorts.com. Be sure to enter promo code FLING when booking.

 

About Tesoro Resorts

Tesoro Resorts are a collection of vibrant oceanfront hotels in Ixtapa, Los Cabos and Manzanillo, Mexico. With specialties in spa, corporate meeting and family-friendly properties, Tesoro Resorts offer an array of memorable vacation experiences. Tesoro Resorts are managed by IHR/Steadfast Hospitality Management, LLC operating as IHR de Mexico, a joint venture management company between Steadfast Companies and Interstate Hotels & Resorts. For more information and reservations, call US/Canada 1-866-99-TESORO or from Mexico 800Tesoros or visit www.tesororesorts.com.

 

Mexican Artisans Introduce Tonalá Ceramics to New York

By: MP Mexico News Staff

THE COLOR OF TRADITION: HERENCIA MILENARIA
Mexican Artisans Introduce Tonalá Ceramics to New York

New York — The Mexico Tourism Board’s New York office and the State of Jalisco will join the Brother Kenneth Chapman Gallery in the Iona College Arts Center, in New Rochelle, New York to host “The Color of Tradition: Herencia Milenaria” from October 25th – December 4th, 2008.  During the exhibition members of Herencia Milenaria (thousand year heritage) from the town of Tonalá, Jalisco will showcase their world renowned contemporary Mexican ceramic art.

Herencia Milenaria (http://herenciamilenaria.org.mx) is a civil organization that was born in 2006 in an effort to unite some of the most well-known artisans in Tonalá and provide a vehicle with which artists could place their crafts and culture within international forums.  Chuck Plosky, Professor of Art at New Jersey City University, and Artisan, Angel Santos selected works for this exhibition to provide “an opportunity for lovers of beautiful things to study superior examples of Mexican ceramic art. These marvelous works are made by artists who use their hands and hearts and minds to create brilliant and beautiful statements in this ancient material, clay.”

The opening reception of “The Color of Tradition: Herencia Milenaria” will take place on Saturday, October 25 from 1:00-3:00 pm in the gallery and a curator’s gallery talk and slide show will follow from 3:00 – 4:00 pm in the Christopher J. Murphy Auditorium. During the course of the exhibition, celebrations involving the local Mexican population of New Rochelle will take place as well as the cultural contributions from the town of Jalisco, including art, music and food. “The Color of Tradition: Herencia Milenaria” is part of CLAY FEST – a celebration of ceramic art in the New Rochelle area and All Fired Up! A Celebration of Clay in Westchester. 

Located in the greater metropolitan area of Guadalajara, the small town of Tonalá is a traditional Mexican town where the Colonial era culture is still maintained and its calm environment offers its guests a unique visit. Tonalá comes from the náhuatl word Tonallan that means “place from which the sun rises” and its main attractions are contained in its traditional plaza where locals and guests meet to listen to music, play games, converse and on Thursdays and Sundays, to shop.

Tonalá’s arts and craft market is a magical tradition that transforms the town into a fantastic world of color and beauty. From the early hours of the day local craftsmen start filling the streets with colorful figures of animals, clowns and dolls made out of paper-mâché, hand-blown glassware, and iron. There is also plenty of food to eat. Small restaurants and temporary stands offer typical dishes such as pepián (a stew that contains squash and nuts seeds similar to mole), campechanas (cocktail mix of octopus, shrimp and abalone, and steaming birria (braised goat and lamb meat) and drinks like white atole (a warm almost porridge-like drink made thick with masa), champurrado (a special hot chocolate thickened with masa), tejuino (fermented maize drink), and lemon water. 
 
But the town’s most popular attraction is its high quality clay creations. From plates and pots to masks and miniature figures the crafts that Tonola’s artisans offer are one of a kind and made with techniques influenced by indigenous, Spanish and modern techniques that have fused together to make ten different styles of finishes, many can be viewed at the Museo Nacional de la Cerámica de Tonalá (The National Museum of Tonalá Ceramics).

They are as follows.

Barro Bandera (Flag Clay) — This type of clay has the colors of the Mexican flag: red base with white and green details.

Barro Betus (Betus Clay) – Also called “Fantastic Clay” this pottery is characterized by vibrant colors that give the ceramics a whimsical look. It is given its name from its Betus resin, or varnish, which is extracted from the Pine trees. This technique is common in the town of Santa Cruz de las Huertas and the most well known figurines are roosters, coyotes and owls.

Barro Bruñido (Bruñido Clay) – This bright and smooth clay is named after its finishing style: the Bruñido tecnique. During the process artisans use river stones and a metal called “pirita” to give it its naturally bright finish.

Barro Canelo (Cinnamon Clay) – Is one of the most unique clays of the region. Its colors are of many shades of cinnamon and when it touches water people say that it smells like wet dirt. This clay comes from the municipality of El Rosario.

Barro Engretado (Engretado Clay) – Is given its name because of its Greta finish which gives it a glass like shine. The Greta technique used a mixture of brass and lead oxide.

Barro Natural (Natural Clay) – This type of clay may have some type of ornamentation but the clay’s natural color is kept.
 
Barro Negro Esgrafiado (Esgrafiado Clay) — Artisans who make this type of clay use the “esgrafiado” technique to decorate their work. During the process artisans use needles and saws to dig out formations.

Barro Opaco (Opaque Clay) – One of the least common types of finishes, this clay is colorful but does not shine.

Barro Oxidado (Oxidated Clay) – Identified by its rustic appearance.

Barro Petatillo (Small Rug Clay) – This clay features a crossed linear design, similar to that of a rug. This type of clay is made in the Greta tradition and is currently covered in lead-free varnish.

About the Iona College Council on the Arts
The Iona College Council on the Arts is dedicated to sponsoring artistic and cultural programs for the enrichment of the Iona College community, particularly the student body. With an endowment from the Baron Lambert Fund for the Arts, established by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph M. Murphy, the Council exists to make the arts more present and visible – providing the unique awareness, inspiration and participation which the arts promote. Consisting of Iona College faculty, administrators, students, and alumni, the Council on the Arts seeks to expand and deepen the cultural life of our student body. The Council produces and coordinates events whereby students, faculty and administrators may experience the arts communally. In addition to public performances and conferences, the Council sponsors programs such as Art Quest trips, designed to introduce members of the Iona community to the cultural richness of the community.

About All Fired Up
From October 3 – November 30, 2008, more than 60 venues throughout Westchester County will participate in All Fired Up! A Celebration of Clay in Westchester. This consortium project, led by the Westchester Arts Council, the Clay Art Center, and a steering committee of eight cultural institutions, will also include a wide range of related activities that will provide the public opportunities to deepen their appreciation of ceramic arts and to engage in art-making activities. Workshops, symposia, films and other activities are planned—some geared to the general public, others to students and educators, still others for specialists such as artists, art historians and collectors. The scope of activities—from introductory workshops to master classes for established artists; from in-school artist residencies to a summer teacher’s institute — will reflect the range, diversity and expertise of the consortium members.

Over 70 arts organizations, including the county’s largest such as the Neuberger Museum, the Katonah Museum, the Hudson River Museum, Westchester Arts Council, Clay Art Center, Pelham Art Center, Rye Arts Center, the Hammond Museum, and the Westchester Art Workshop are already on board to participate. This concordance of events comprises a cultural initiative unprecedented in Westchester.

About Clay Fest
The New Rochelle Clay Fest is a host of programs and activities in seven venues. Exhibits of internationally-renowned and local ceramic arts, family workshops, “Terrific Terra Cotta” walking tours, demonstrations, food cooked in clay, and live musical performances are some of the activities taking place in public and private cultural institutions– all of which will be “stops” on a free trolley service operating throughout the afternoon.  For more information visit: www.nrpl.org