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El Hecho - Oscar Edelstein

Updated on August 16, 2023

Homage to Juan Carlos Paz

"El Hecho" (The Fact) was an opera made by Oscar Edelstein in 1998 in memory of composer Juan Carlos Paz (5 August 1901 – 25 August 1972).

Paz is famous as the composer who first brought ideas of the composer Arnold Schoenberg (twelve-tone technique) and the Second Vienna School to Argentina; and whose style was somewhat in opposition to the folkloric style of Argentinean music of the 1930's and 40's to the degree that in 1954 he wrote a book Arnold Schoenberg, o el fin de la era tonal, (Arnold Schoenberg, or the end of the Tonal Era). In 1952 at a time when he was not writing much music, he wrote two other key books; Introducción a la música de nuestro tiempo (Introduction to the Music of Our Time) and La música en los Estados Unidos (Music of the United States).

I was interested in the moment when Paz chose, instead of the precise path, the labyrinth. I wanted to create from that act, from that “fact.

— Oscar Edelstein

Background to the Interpreting of a Graphic Score

In the last year of his life Paz drew a graphic score that left his followers confused as to his intention. It was his last work, mysteriously made a few months before his death, and was never musically realised.

For "El Hecho" Edelstein was inspired to take this graphic design of Paz’ last score, Seis eventos [Six Events] and to create an opera around it as a tribute to Paz.

This was the first extensive work to pay homage to the famous Argentine composer.

The performance was extremely popular with two sold out productions staged in Buenos Aires, and a re-staging of the production in Brasilia, Brazil in 2003.

The Argentinean contemporary music magazine LULÚ Revista (co-founded by Oscar Edelstein, Carla Fonseca and Federico Monjeau) had published a copy of Paz's graphic score in 1991 and it was with this in mind that Edelstein set about to make an opera in tribute to the composer.

Image by Julián Teubal.
Image by Julián Teubal.

The theatrical idea is profound and the musical realization is fascinating. With a format more that of the rock than of the academic music, [and] with his radical denial to remain stylistically classified...

— Federico Monjeau, Clarín: "El enigmático señor Paz"  (June 1998)

Production Buenos Aires

Premiere -
La Trastienda - 18th June 1998

Re- staging -
Experimenta' 98 - El Galpón del Abasto - October 1998

a truly experimental work that opens new horizons for musical theatre in Argentina and that takes the work of the ENS to a higher point, having internalized the complex sonorous textures that Edelstein proposes... 

— Martín Liut, La Nación: "El ultimo adios a Juan Carlos Paz" (June 1998)


Juan Carlos Paz: POLI BONTAS


...the Ensamble Nacional del Sur, a group of composer -instrumentalists, who can travel from contemporary music to jazz and rock... a truly experimental work that opens new horizons for musical theatre in Argentina and that takes the work of the ENS to a higher point, having internalized the complex sonorous textures that Edelstein proposes... 

— Martín Liut, La Nación: "La vanguardia musical llega por triplicado" (December 1998)

Musicians of the Chamber Orchestra

Ensamble Nacional del Sur

Piano: Mario Castelli
Keyboards: Mariano Cura
Electric Guitar: Nicolás Varchausky
Electric & Acoustic Bass: Gonzalo Serrano
Percussion: Matías Gonzalez Goytia & Pablo Siroti


Scenography: JULIO CARDOSO
Graphic Design: PABLO ENGEL
Psychic Assistant: EMANUEL BONNIER

I wanted to free Juan Carlos Paz from the theoretic systems

— Oscar Edelstein

As Paz was a man of the avant-garde, he placed this type of writing as a way of liberating his music from the rules of traditional writing.

— Oscar Edelstein


EVENT I: Exordio
EVENT II: Elucidación
EVENT III: Elucidación 2
EVENT IV: Sermocinatio
EVENT V: Multi-estructuras en espiral de tiempo / Multi-structures in a spiral of time
EVENT VI: Flechas del tiempo - gris, azul rojos raros, negros / Arrows of Time - grey, blue, rare reds, blacks

One of the most important musical events of Argentinean production in recent time. 

— Diego Fischerman, Página 12 (Dec 1998)

Production: Brasilia

Re-named "O Fato" it was made possible by the Ministerio de la Cultura del Brasil, Fondo de Arte y Cultura del DF and Edelstein's research programme Teatro Acústico (Acoustic Theatre) at the Universidad de Quilmes. The production was directed by Silvia Davini and Sulian Vieira. Davini also performed the main role of the "Voice" alongside leading Brazilian actors, João Antônio and Chico Sant'Anna.

In this re-staging electronic music provided by Edelstein was used in place of live music with the integration of a D.J. like character.

Ghost of Paz was played by leading Brazilian actor, CHICO SANT'ANNA
Ghost of Paz was played by leading Brazilian actor, CHICO SANT'ANNA


El Enigmólogo: JOÃO ANTÔNIO

Production Team


Costumes & Lighting Design: SÔNIA PAIVA
Light Operation: MARCELO AUGUSTO


This is a brief synopsis to recapture the essence of Edelstein's work "El Hecho". All information is accurate as to our best abilities but will be added to and corrected.

There is little photographic documentation of "El Hecho" but we hope to piece by piece convey some of the spirit of this piece.


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