A Roda – ten years of moving the wheel

A Roda - Ten years of moving the wheel.

IBOC Ten Year Aniversary Exhibit at the Brazilian Consulate NY.

The Brazilian Consulate in NYC features the collaborative intermedia artists of the International Brazilian Opera Company (IBOC).

 September 21- October 23


From September 21, 2023, through October 23, 2023, the Brazilian Consulate in New York City (225 E 41st St, New York, NY 10017) will present an exhibition celebrating the ten year anniversary of the International Brazilian Opera Company (IBOC). The opening reception will be held from 4pm-8pm on Thursday, September 21.

Cecilia Spell

In 2013, The International Brazilian Opera Company was founded with the goal of creating new operatic repertoire and fostering collaboration between Brazilian and international artists. Since its founding, IBOC has created five new operas, performed on three different continents, and supported working visas for sixty-four immigrant artists. IBOC and its artists collectively have received multiple awards and recognitions including Grammy Award nominations, grants from the New York City Department of Culture, and a Lei Rounet with lead sponsorship from Volvo Brasil, among others.

“This exhibition begins to contextualize the organization by highlighting some of the company’s contributing artists and works while investigating the underlying motives imbued in the creation processes of the collective. This seems especially culturally significant in context of this moment when opera companies in North America are opening up to Latin America’s role in the genre, like the Met’s upcoming premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas,” Athena Azevedo, A Roda Curator and IBOC Executive Director and photographer.

“Reflective of the immediate relevance and impermanence of performance art, all pieces in A RODA, like the participants in a roda de samba, are representations of our community with projects that are evolving and revolving.”

A screening of the award-winning documentary Parece Que Existo (I Seem to Exist), directed by Mario Salimon, opens the exhibition. The film covers the life and music of IBOC Artistic Director João MacDowell, tracing his formative years in the then brand new capital city Brasília up to the performances of his first opera, Tamanduá, in 2008 in New York and New Jersey.

A Morte by Athena A

The screening will be followed by a cocktail reception with live performances from Hugo Sanbone’s Yemanja Project, João MacDowell’s The Seventh Seal, Daniel Belquer’s Misupuntus, and a VR experience from Cândida Borges’s & Gabriel Mario Vélez’s, Transeunitus Mundi.

“Ten years ago, as a Latin American composer, I felt the need for institutional support in a New York City opera scene that was thirsty for innovation yet unaware of the rich cultural contribution that could come from artists south of the border. We created this company because of that thirst for a new philosophy of performance in the genre.” – João MacDowell, IBOC Artistic Director and Co-Founder.

The exhibition will be held in the newly renovated Consulate General of Brazil in New York.

“IBOC is an important cultural institution in New York City, responsible for promoting Brazilian culture and music. Instituto Guimarães Rosa is proud to be one of IBOC’s partners on this project,” said Marco Antonio Nakata, Director of The Guimarães Rosa Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A Roda will showcase poster representations of operas that encapsulate the full force of the traditional opera house, such as João MacDowell’s The Seventh Seal, with libretto from Ingmar Bergman.  A Roda also highlights what IBOC categorizes as “Beyond Opera,” small to medium-sized experimental pieces best suited for exhibition spaces. These works often incorporate new technology, such as Cila MacDowell’s Plasma Resonance and Misupuntus by Daniel Belquer, the inventor of the Music: Not Impossible haptic vests that have been utilized by institutions such as Lincoln Center, Opera Philadelphia, and International Brazilian Opera Company.  The haptic suit, recently featured in the NY Times, consists of a backpack and ankle and wrist bands, which let people feel music as bodily vibrations.

Athena Azevedo, Graphis International Photography Master and co-founder of the International Brazilian Opera Company will premiere an exclusive collection of painterly photographs titled Sleeping Giant. Taken just as world-famous architect Oscar Niemeyer’s National Theater in Brasilia closed for renovations in 2013, the images pull light into the dark interior. Other images from Azevedo include portraits of company artists and a series made for João MacDowell’s Swedish collaboration, The Seventh Seal opera.

Sleeping Giant (Gigante Adormecido) by Athena Azevedo. Photos of internal spaces in the National Theater of Brasilia, which has been closed for the last ten years.

The exhibition opens with photographs from Transeunitus Mundi Deriva 01,

from transmedia artists Cândida Borges (Brazil) & Gabriel Mario Vélez (Colombia). The full work, an immersive experience about human migration and transculturalism in projection and virtual reality, has recently been hosted as a major exhibition at the MAC Museum of Contemporary Art (Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro).  Those attending A Roda’s opening reception can experience the VR component and meet Borges.

“New York is the symbol of this work Transeuntis Mundi. That’s where it was created and where our very first recordings happened. To return now, when celebrating five years of touring the world, is an immense joy and honor for us. Especially being hosted by IBOC and the Consulate General of Brazil NYC, two institutions that resonate with our transcultural thoughts and principles. It’s the feeling of the adventurer returning home, as Homer returning from his odyssey – to share the wisdom and power of who left, lived and got transcultured,” Cândida Borges, transmedia artist.




SEP 21 4PM-6PM


SEP 21 6PM-8PM


João MacDowell (Brazilian) – composer, producer

Daniel Belquer (Brazilian) – intermedia artist

Dai Foreti (Brazilian) – filmmaker

Candida Borges (Brazilian) & Gabriele Mario Velez (Columbian) – intermedia artists

Mario Salimon (Brazilian) – filmmaker

Athena Azevedo (Portuguese-American) – photographer

Toshi & Hisa Ide (Japanese-American) – graphic designers

Diego Becas (Chilean) – poster artist, designer

Cila MacDowell (Brazilian) – intermedia artist

Hugo Sanbone (Brazilian) – composer, thinker, performer

Priscila Santana (Brazilian) – conductor, art activist

Regina Miranda (Brazilian) – choreographer

Xi Zhou (Chinese) – photographer

Various voices from the IBOC singers


The artists featured in A Roda are award-winning, notable figures in the global contemporary art scene. Here are some highlights:

– Cila MacDowell (Brazil): has performed at the Museum of Tomorrow (Rio de Janeiro), National Museum (Brasilia), has made projection work for the Rio Opera House, and is a professor at USB Rio.

– Joao MacDowell (Brazil, USA): has had his music presented by the National Orchestra of Brazil Claudio Santoro and at Museu Moderna in Stockholm for the Bergman Centennial Festival 2018. www.joaomusic.com

– Athena Azevedo (USA): designated Graphis Photography Master: https://graphis.com/masters/

– Cândida Borges (Brazil) & Gabriel Mario Vélez (Colombia): exhibited at the MAC Museum of Contemporary Art (Niteroi, RJ), has had her work exhibited and curated by NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts), nominee for the Los Angeles Tribute Award, short-listed for the 2022 Lumen Prize

– Regina Miranda (Brazil): legendary and influential Brazilian choreographer from Rio de Janeiro (http://www.reginamiranda.com/about)

– Hugo Sanbone (Brazil, USA): Prized multi-instrumentalist and founder of the Pagode Orchestra, Salvador, Bahia

– Daniel Belquer (Brazil, USA): inventor of Music:Not Impossible haptic vests for the deaf used by major institutions for the inclusivity movement: Lincoln Center, Philadelphia Opera, and IBOC. Recently featured in NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/20/style/haptic-suits-deaf-music.html









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