Die Zauberflöte, Live in HD from the MET

MAGICAL!!!!!! GLORIOUS!!!!!!!! MAGNIFICENT!!!!! BEAUTIFUL! EXTRAORDINARY!!! And again….MAGICAL!!!!!!!!

It was a huge JOY today, for me and my family to have seen the Met in HD of Mozart’s final masterpiece (along with La Clemenza di Tito) “Die Zauberflöte” !!!!!!!!!!!
It was extraordinary and I have so much to say!!!!!!!!!!!
This is our return to the HDs after last April’s Eugene Onegin and you can imagine how happy I was to see the new HD of “Die Zauberflöte”!!!!!!
I started to cry of joy since the HD started, with the many wonderful images from many different Operas and with the chorus of Carmen, the satelite and space image with Siegfried’s funeral march, the images of how all are getting ready for a performance, with Lohengrin’s music  I had so many goosebumps!!!! And when the performance started, I started to cry with the glorious overture!!!!!! Oh my!!!!!!! What a joy was for me to see Maestro James Levine conducting again!!!!!! Maestro James Levine loves and feels the music with his heart and he loves what he does (like my other hero, Leonard Bernstein  ) and that is always a privilege to see him conduct.
The entire casr were terrific!!!! Rene Pape was magnificent, extraordinary, superb as Sarastro  His “O Isis und Osiris” and also his “In diesen heil’gen Hallen” were so beautifully performed by Rene Pape. Sarastro’s arias are full of wisdom very profound
Sarastro is a key role of Rene Pape’s brilliant career and it was a privilege to see Rene Pape again as Sarastro!
And you can all imagine how my heart was when Rene Pape made his entrance! (and also his wonderful interview  BRAVO, BRAVISSIMO Rene Pape!!!!!!!!!!!!
(also about the snake in Sarastro’s costume… the snake is a symbol of wisdom and I personally loved his costume )
Markus Werba, what else can I say about his fabulous, terrific Papageno? Markus was super marvelous and now I consider him one of the best Papagenos ever
The audience, my family and I loved him and enjoyed his performance so much!!!! We all laughed with his brilliant performance Markus gave us many joys with his excellent Papageno! You can imagine how Happy I was when he enter on scene (behing him, the birds ) singing one of my favorite arias “Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja” His final duet with her Papagena… “Pa-pa-pa Papageno-Papagena” was a huge joy to watch and listen!!!!
Markus’ Papageno will be remembered as one of the best ever!
BRAVO, BRAVISSIMO Markus Werba!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <
Charles Castronovo as Tamino, he was terrific!!!! He was also absolutely wonderful and I also enjoyed every moment of him!!!!
BRAVO, BRAVISSIMO Charles Castronovo!!!!!!!!
Now… a special mention for two special ladies……
first Golda Schultz as Pamina was absolutely wonderful, extraordinary and so lovely!!!!!!! This is the birth of a new star!!!! She has one of the most beautiful voices ever, and alsovery beautiful and delightful… I absolutely LOVED her as Pamina!!!!! I hope that we get to see more of her in the future!!!! I can’t wait to see more performances of Golda Schultz !!!!!!!!!!!! I always get so happy when we discover a new star and Golda Schultz will shine a lot in the future!!!!
BRAVA, BRAVISSIMA Golda Schultz !!!!!!!!
Finally… Kathryn Lewek…. we have seen many Queen of the Nights…. Edda Moser, Edita Gruberova, Diana Damrau…… and I am very happy to say that Kathryn Lewek is now in the list of one of the greatest Queen of the Nights ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was completely blown away with her two arias… (My mom was also so impressed!!!!! My mom still has the Queen of the Night aria in her head… my mom was… WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! )
Our Auditorium, we all went mad and crazy for her famous “Der Hölle Rache” we all applauded like maniacs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BRAVA, BRAVISSIMA, Kathryn Lewek!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Another special mention, the three little boys as the three spirits, were so adorable!!!!!
“Die Zauberflöte” is one of my all time favorite operas for many reasons, it has a very profound message and it always gives me joy and I always feel positive energy when I watch or listen to a performance of “Die Zauberflöte”… and it happened again today!!!!
I couldn’t stop crying at the end of the glorious chorus!!!!!!
The light vs the darkness… good vs evil…. I was in pure tears at the end!!!!!!!!
The entire cast were terrific! Monostatos, the speaker, the three ladies… alll were fabulous!!!!
The production by Julie Taymor is brilliant and magical, I loved all colors, costumes and of course, the puppets, from the giant snake, the bears, the birds, the masks and the food for Papageno!  Pure magic!!!
I felt more than happy to have seen the new HD of “Die Zauberflöte”…. you can imagine what a joy is to see a live in HD from the MET but… this was special… for many reasons…. first because, luckily, my mom Uncle and I returned to our Auditorium again and also, because of the powerful message of “Die Zauberflöte”
I have many favorite HDs but this year’s “Die Zauberflöte” will have a very special place in my heart!
I hope that all of us, the humanity, can learn from the powerful message of “Die Zauberflöte”…. Tamino, our inspiration and hero (like another member here said) , Pamina, the Princess, another wonderful character, Papageno, more “human” and more like most of us, Sarastro, the wisest of all and with enlightment, and the Queen of the Night, the dark side.
I hope that all of us can learn from the message of Die Zauberflöte. I definitely, always try to learn and change as a human being.
And finally…..a big BRAVI to the always glorious MET Opera Chorus and the glorious Met Opera Orchestra!!!!!!!!! I was in heaven today!!!
And a big special BRAVO, BRAVISSIMO, to Maestro James Levine, which is a treasure to watch conducting!!!!!!
Thank you Met, thank you for doing the new live in HD of “Die Zauberflöte” and please all, if you have a chance GO TO THE ENCORE!!!!!!! And please everyone, please take the children!!! This is a great opportunity to prompte opera to our future!!!!!!!!!!
Also.. I almost forget… I also LOVED the preview during in the intermission about the documentary of the history of the Met and also with Leontyne Price!!!!! And I also had goosebums watching the images of the next HDs like Cosi fan tutte, Tosca, L’Elisir d’amore, Luisa Miller, Semiramide, La Boheme, etc, etc…
VIVA Emanuel Schikaneder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
VIVA MOZART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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HAPPY 55TH BIRTHDAY, DMITRI HVOROSTOVSY!!!!!!!!!!

I am very, very, very happy to celebrate today…. the Birthday of one of the most beloved, most admired, most respected Opera artists of our golden age era of Opera…… I am super happy to announce that today, October 16, is the 55th Birthday of our Beloved Dmitri Hvorostovsky!  
Dima brought us so many joys with so many, many wonderful, extraordinary performances, both in Opera, concerts and recitals!!!!!!!
Count di Luna, Prince Yeletsky, Rodrigo, Renato, Germot, Simon Boccanegra, Iago, Rigoletto and specially, Eugene Onegin, watching each, different, extraordinary performance by Dmitri Hvorostovsky is a huge privilege for all of us!
Everytime we watch and listen to Dima sing and perform… we will never forget it!!! It stays forever in our hearts
We all are so fortunate to live in this era, the era of Dmitri Hvorostovsky.
With his beautiful, rich, gorgeous voice and extraordinary handsome, stage presence and huge charisma and excellent acting talent, Dmitri Hvorostovsky already has a very special place in the history of Opera!
And all of us, we will never forget, when Dima returned to the Met, this year, at the 50th Anniversary gala with his unforgettable “Cortigiani, vil razza dannata and pieta signore”. The great audience from the Met, and all of us, who listened in the radio, will never forget that moment.
Our greatest Count di Luna, no one could sing “Il balen del suo sorriso” like the way Dima did, His Eugene Onegin, unfortgettable and now legendary…. his extraordinary Rodrigo in Don Carlo, extremely moving and beautiful, his Prince Yeletsky in “The Queen of Spades”, the greatest ever…. what else can I say? so many wonderful and unforgettable performances!!!!!
Dmitri came to international success after the now historical triumph in the 1989 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition and after that historical triumph, the rest is history!!!
Dmitri Hvorostovsky is beloved in many countries around the world!!!!
Thank you Dima, for being who you are, for the many, joys and beautiful performances that you gave us, thank you for bringing us lots of joy and happiness to our lives with the beauty of your art and voice!!!!!
We all are very, very happy to celebrate today, the 55th Birthday of Dmitri Hvorostovsky!!!!!! Let’s all celebrate with joy!!!!!!!!

HAPPY 55TH BIRTHDAY DIMA!!!!!!!!!!    

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VIVA VERDI!!!!!!!!

VIVA VERDI!!!!!

Today, October 10, is a very special Birthday anniversary, because is the birthday anniversary of one of my personal heroes, of one of the giants of the history of Opera….. Giuseppe Verdi!!!!
On this day, back in the glorious year of 1813…Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was born.
What would the world of Opera be without the glorious music, beautiful melodies, extraordinary arias of Giuseppe Verdi?
Everytime we have a storm, I always think of the famous “Terzetto e tempesta” from Rigoletto and the famous Storm Chorus from “Otello”.
Everytime we celebrate in a Birthday or in New Year…. we think of “Libiamo” from La Traviata and also of “Inaffia l’ugola!” from Otello and “Si colmi il calice” from Macbeth.
(Verdi indeed composed so many wonderful drinking songs! )
So many arias, duets… so many beautiful overtures. Our lives wouldn’t be the same without Verdi’s Operas. I have so many favorites to name!
“Bella Figlia dell’amore” from Rigoletto and “Ah, sii maledetto, sospetto fatale” from Don Carlo, the most glorious quartets, “Di quale amor, di quanto ardor”, from Don Carlo and “parigi o cara” from La Traviata, the most beautiful duets, “La Donna e Mobile” the most famous aria for a tenor, “Sempre Libera” from La Traviata, one of the most difficult arias for a Soprano and also “D’amor sull’ali rosee..Miserere…Tu vedrai” from Il Trovatore and also “O Patria Mia” from Aida, the terzetto e tempesa from “Rigoletto” and the terzetto in the Queen’s garden in “Don Carlo”, Iago’s Credo, the most chilling aria ever, the two most fascinating arias for a Mezzo Soprano, “Nel giardin del bello” and “O Don fatale” from Don Carlo, the most extraordinary tenor-baritone duets, from Don Carlo “Dio, che nell’alma infondere” and from La Forza del Destino, “Invano Alvaro”, the final reconciliation between Simon Boccanegra and Fiesco, the most moving moment ever and also a lesson for humanity….
It is impossible not to cry when we listen to Desdemona’s final aria…the Willow Song, to Rigoletto’s final scream “Ah, La Maledizione” and Simon Boccanegra’s final moments!
Verdi also gave us the most beautiful aria ever for a Baritone “Il Balen del Suo Sorriso” and the most dramatic monologue for King Filippo “Ella giammai m’amò”.
Verdi moved us with so many arias, Macbeth’s “Pieta, Rispetto, Amore”, Rigoletto’s “cortigiani vil razza dannata”, “O tu Palermo” from I Vespri Siciliani and he also gave music to the most amazing characters… the assassin Sparafucile in “Rigoletto”, the conspirators with “ha, Ha, Ha,” in “Un Ballo in Maschera”, Don Ruy Gomez de Silva and Carlo V (interesting to have Carlo V in two Verdi Operas, “Ernani” and “Don Carlo” )
Only a genius like Verdi could chills us with one of the most terrifying moments ever… with the confrontation of Il Grand Inquisitor and King Filippo.
And of course, thanks to Verdi, we have a Triumphal March.
When we have a celebration, is is impossible to not to think of Verdi’s Triumphal march from Aida.
And no one could impact us with so many extraordinary choruses like Verdi did, just to mention a few…. the “Anvil Chorus”, the final moments of “Il Trovatore”, the final moments of “I Lombardi” and of course…,.. impossible to not to name the famous “Va, pensiero” from Nabucco which is known as the second “National Anthem” of Italy and made a huge impact in both the history of Opera and Italy.
So many characters, so many fascinating operas… Verdi gave music and voice to many fascinating characters, many of them from literature, from Shakespeare, Schiller, Victor Hugo…. Rigoletto, Sparafucile, King Filippo, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banco, Otello, Iago, Desdemona, King Riccardo/Gustavo, Renato, Violetta, Alfredo, Leonora, Count di Luna, Ferrando, Aida, Radames, Ramfis, Falstaff, Don Carlo, Rodrigo, Elisabeta, Princess Eboli, Il Grand inquisitore, Don Alvaro, Simon Boccanegra, Fiesco, Pagano, Miller, so many characters!
The characters from the Shakespearan dramas, the Victor Hugo and Schiller plays have now a “voice” and “music” thanks to the intense beauty of Verdi’s music.
I can not finish this post without mentioning the powerful “Requiem”, which is one of the greatest masterpieces of sacred music.
Verdi enriched our lives and Opera itself, wouldn’t be the same without Verdi’s operas!
Verdi, indeed changed the history of Opera in the golden age of Opera in the XIX century!
And also Verdi, as a human being, is also an inspiration, he did many extraordinary humanitarian works, one of them and the most important…. he created the House for retired musicians “Casa di Riposo per Musicisti” a house for retired opera singers and musicians
I think that we all are so grateful that Verdi didn’t quit composing after the early tragedies that he had in his life and that also that he was not accepted in the Conservatory of Milan. Verdi indeed, is an inspiration for all of us, both as a human being and as an artist.
Thank you, Giuseppe Verdi for your many, many wonderful extraordinary Operas and extraordinary music!
Tanti auguri di buon compleanno, Giuseppe Verdi!!!!!
Let’s all say today……………………………………
VIVA VERDI!!!!!!!!!

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The Anniversary of Bellas Artes!

This day, September 29, as an Opera, classical music and ballet and museum lover is very, very special for me, because on this day, September 29 but back in 1934, the Palace of Fine Arts (Bellas Artes) in Mexico City was inaugurated!
Bellas Artes is a place that will always have a special place in my heart and it is called by many as the “Cathedral of the Arts” in Mexico.  
Bellas Artes is where I saw my first opera ever…. Verdi’s Rigoletto (with a young Ramon Vargas) and it changed my life forever!
Bellas Artes marked my child/teenage years…. in Bellas Artes is where I saw in many of my Birthdays Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” ballet, for many years before moving to Leon City, in Bellas Artes I also saw my second Opera, Bizet’s Carmen and also another of my favorite ballets “Don Quixote” by Ludwig Minkus. Many famous international Opera singers performed here, Maria Callas made her debut as Norma in Bellas Artes back in 1950.
Placido Domingo, Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Renee Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, Javier Camarena, Rolando Villazon, Anna Netrebko, Francisco Araiza, Ramon Vargas, a young Ildar Abdrazakov, just to name a few, performed here. (Here in Bellas Artes, Placido Domingo performed “Samson and Delilah” and I remember that at the end of the performance, Placido came out from Bellas Artes to say hello to the public that were watching outside with giant screens in the square of Bellas Artes)
And I also remember Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s extraordinary and unforgettable concert, many Mexicans loved here and Dima’s presence in Bellas Artes will always be in our hearts.
(Unfortunately I was already here in Leon but I had the fortune to watch the concert, live on tv because it was a sensation!)
Here in Bellas Artes, they also perform the concerts of the National Symphony Orchestra (La Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional ).
The exterior of Bellas Artes is made of white Italian Carrara marble, with Art Nouveau and Neoclassical style outside and with Art Deco in the inside part.
There is also the famous and beautiful curtain that is in the Opera/theater and ballet stage.
Bellas Artes is not only an Opera Theater, it is also a museum, in the interior of the Palace, right in the interior hall, between the ground floor and the uppermost floor, you can watch and admire the many of the famous murals by Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera and Jose Clemento Orozco and I remember that when I was a child, I had the fortune to visit the special Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel exhibitions in Bellas Artes (and I remember the long, long lines to enter to the exhibitions! ) .
Also,here in Bellas Artes, was the place for the funerals of many important persons of the Mexican cultural life, writers Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez and Ernesto de la Peña.

Feliz Aniversario, Happy Anniversary Palacio de Bellas Artes!

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Happy Anniversary, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the father of Don Quijote!

“El que lee mucho y anda mucho, ve mucho y sabe mucho.” Don Quijote de la Mancha…. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.
(“Who reads much and walks much, sees much and knows much”)

Because Spanish is my first language and Spanish literature being close to my heart, I am very happy to say that today September 29 is the Birthday Anniversay of the greatest writer of the Spanish language, and also one of the giants of universal literature, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra!
Miguel de Cervantes, author of “Don Quijote de la Mancha” was born on September 29 of 1547 and passed away on April 22 of 1616.
“Don Quijote” is known as one of the greatest masterpieces in history of literature and it is the most readed book in the entire world, after The Bible.
Reading “Don Quijote”, every chapter, every page, every line, every quote, is a true lesson of life.
Dostoyevsky called “Don Quijote de la Mancha” “the ultimate and most sublime work of human thinking” and it is officially known as the first modern novel.
The other famous works by Cervantes are: “Novelas Ejemplares”, ” Journey to Parnassus” and “La Galatea” which are also a treasure of the Spanish literature.
Just like Oscar Wilde, with his “De Profundis” (which is most personal and most moving of Wilde’s works) Cervantes wrote or “gave birth” his masterpiece (Part I) of “Don Quijote” while he was in jail. Some fun Trivia, the word “Quixote” came from the word for “thigh armor.” And the name for his hero, Alonso Quijano, came from the great uncle of the wife of Cervantes, Catalina de Salazar y Palacios. Don Quijote helped established the modern Spanish language and also, because in culture there are always many great links of literature to Opera, music and dance… thanks to the beautiful and wonderful novel of Don Quijote, we have also Massenet’s extraordinary Opera (one of my favorite Operas) and also the fabulous ballet by Minkus which is one of my personal favorites and always a joy and pleasure to watch.
And also, the link of the Cervantes continues with Richard Strauss and his wonderful tone poem and also a chapter of Don Quijote, inspired the plot of Mozart/Da Ponte’s Cosi fan Tutte.
Many consider “Don Quijote” as a “comedy” and yes, many wonderful parts of the book make us laugh very much but at the same time it is one of the most profound books ever written.
We have laughed and we cried with Don Quijote (aka Alonso Quixano) and Sancho and it is impossible to post many favorite quotes from the book because there are too many to mention!
As an interesting trivia, it is known that “Don Quijote” was the book that marked George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.
Feliz Aniversario, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra!

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Five Years without Ernesto de la Peña,

e quel savio gentil, che tutto seppe – Inferno, Canto VII
(The Divine Comedy)

This is my first post since July.  I want to remember with love to  Mexican erudite Ernesto de la Peña, because today, September 10, is his Fifth Death Anniversary.
Ernesto de la Peña was a very special man, he was the wisest and most cultured man of Mexico. He was known here as “the Mexican Pico della Mirandola”
He was the man who knew 33 languages, that loved Opera and music very much, a philologist, writer, cultural lover and translator. The man who was appointed collaborator of the Encyclopedia Dantesque, (L’Enciclopedia Dantesca) and who was the only Mexican who had this honor.
The man who learned languages because he wanted to read the original books in its original language. Greek for Homer, Latin for Virgil, Italian for Dante, German for Goethe, French for Rabelais, English for Shakespeare, Russian for Tolstoy..
The man who had his tv “Operamania” programs with his friend Eduardo Lizalde and enjoyed all composers and all operas, the man who had his huge Library with more of 26,000 books, many of them in their original language, Greek, Latin, Russian, French, Italian, English, German and Hebrew.
Ernesto had his radio program, “Al Hilo del Tiempo” in which he talked about the history of culture, history of art, philosophy, Opera, languages, religion, and I always loved to learn from him.
When on this day, five years ago, I was listening to the news, and whay they announced his passing in the radio, my heart stopped and I started to cry. I learned so much from him… I always thought of myself as an ignorant who wanted to learn more and with Ernesto de la Peña, I always felt like a wise Grandpa-teacher in which I was learning so many new things that I didn’t know.
Five years, without Ernesto de la Peña. Mexico still missing him, very much.  And in a different note…..My heart, thoughts and prayers, are with the victims of the earthquake of the 8.2 Earthquake in Mexico, specially with Oaxaca and Chiapas, and my heart is also with my dearest friends that live in California, Montana and Oregon because of the wildfires and my heart is also with my friends of Houston because of  Hurricane Harvey and thinking and praying  now for my friends in Puerto Rico and  Florida because of the path of Hurrican Irma.

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Feliz Cumpleaños, Happy Birthday, Eduardo Lizalde!

“The tiger is a fascinating figure from biblical times to the current stage and I do not think that there is a writer who has not ever mentioned the tiger. The Tiger is the image of the death, destruction, and in addition, beauty; this is just a metaphorical instrument.” Eduardo Lizalde.

July 14 was the birthday of our beloved and admired mexican poet Eduardo Lizalde!
His nickname is “The Tiger” because of the recurrent appearance of this animal in his poetic works, written under the influence of Jorge Luis Borges and William Blake, but also by his readings of certain children’s stories of Kipling and Salgari.
Besides of being a brilliant poet, Eduardo Lizalde is also a great enthusiast of the opera and years ago he had a special program named “100 years of Opera in Mexico” in Canal 22 and he also wrote, under the pseudonym of “Enesimo Nemo” many articles about his memories and love for Opera in different newspapers and cultural magazines and years later, to rescue his Opera memories from the old Opera memories that Eduardo Lizalde wrote in these articles, the special investigator Edgar Ceballos gathered in a compilation in the book tiltled as “The Opera Today, yesterday and always: an anthology of Opera chronicles by Eduardo Lizalde”. In this delightful book, in which I had the fortune of reading, the different and rich opinions of Eduardo Lizalde about Opera and about many legends, from Ramon Vinay, Titta Ruffo, and Maria Callas, to, Placido Domingo and Samuel Ramey and also about his Opera travels around the world, Bayreuth, the MET, la Scala…and also about the moments when Maria Callas performed in Mexico.
He was also a host (along with the great erudite and scholar Ernesto de la Peña, with whom he had a great friendship) of the also excellent program “Operomania”, in TV UNAM channel, in which both talked about their favorite Operas and also about the history of Opera.
Together, Eduardo Lizalde and Ernesto de la Peña, had beautiful programs in which they commented famous operas such as “The Marriage of Figaro”, “The Flying Dutchman”, “Don Giovanni”, “William Tell”, “Fidelio”, “Andrea Chenier”, “The Tales of Hoffman”, “Don Carlo”, “Eugene Onegin” and the “Wagner’s Ring Cycle”.
Eduardo Lizalde studied singing, composition and lyrics at the night school of the “Conservatorio Nacional” at the same time when he was studying literature in the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature at the UNAM.
And in the words of Ernesto de la Peña, one of the best and most beautiful poems of Eduardo Lizalde is “Third Tenochtitlán”.
Apart from the opera, Eduardo Lizalde is fond of good wine and cheese. 😉
Eduardo Lizalde was recently awarded this year with the “Carlos Fuentes International Literature Prize” and he is considered as “The most important living Poet of Mexico”.
(Fun trivia, Eduardo Lizalde is also known as a “Tiger” not only becase of his poems but also because of his passionate “hunting” for great Opera recordings and albums” )

Feliz Cumpleaños, Eduardo Lizalde!

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