Nick Muni, Faust & Juan Manuel SánchezFriday, April 21, 2006
Imagine that Jack Shadbolt were alive and living in Argentina. Imagine calling him up and telling him you were assigned to photograph an American director involved in an opera production of Gounod's Faust. Imagine the thrill of having him collaborate in a photo illustration. I have had that thrill because Juan Manuel Sánchez, 74, is an Argentine painter living in Vancouver of Shadbolt's equivalent caliber. He speaks no English, so he feels a bit isolated. He sometimes tells me, "I am a penguin in Canada. That is about as lonely as a polar bear in Argentina." When the Straight asked me, with very short notice, to photograph Nick Muni, who is directing the Vancouver Opera's production of Faust, I knew that only a colaboración (this is what Juan and I call our joint works)would save me. I gave Juan three 8x10 prints of Nick Muni in case he made a mistake. Overnight Juan worked on one of them and proudly returned the other two, unused. If you look closely, you will notice that Mephistopheles has military epaulets much like an Argentine general. I had one hell of a time convincing Juan to keep clothes on Marguerite. "If you don't," I told Juan, "our collaborative career at the Straight will be shortlived."
Juan Manuel Sánchez
Vancouver Opera's Faust