Astor Piazzolla's alluring "tango operita" of 1968 is to our mind one of his major works. Highlights are the intoxicating solo "I Am Maria"; the instrumental "Fugue and Mystery"; the "Waltz-poem"; and the "Accusation Toccata."
"Maria de Buenos Aires is victim, lover, heroine and femme fatale, a powerful illusion given substance and pathos by the approachable surrealism of the opera's librettist, Horacio Ferrer. Piazzolla's music harbours a Weill-like sense of foreboding; minor-key heartache invades almost everywhere, even when the dancing starts, the air thickens and the drink starts to flow."—Gramophone
"Although tangos dominate, Maria is really more a dramatic cantata or oratorio…. With its changes of tempo and key, Piazzolla's score is a more sophisticated, less monotonous affair than the succession of tunes you would hear played by a three-piece combo in a Buenos Aires boîte…. The fascinating instrumental textures, with the irresistible sound of the bandoneón, make the tangos and waltzes resonate."—Opera News