On a night overflowing with the best art that some of our brightest exponents can offer, hundreds of attendees who arrived at the Sala Covarrubias of the National Theater enjoyed this February 20, the Homage Gala that paid tribute to Havana on its fifth centenary and also one of the most important geniuses of Cuban culture: Benny Moré.
As it has been since 2010, a group of personalities and institutions at the service of culture and the people received the Excelencias Cuba 2018 Award in recognition not only of their work-necessary and imperishable-but also of the "goblin" that lives in them.
Thus, in the midst of effusive applause, our President José Carlos de Santiago presented such an important recognition to the teacher of generations José Ramón Artigas who has given (from the small screen or directing great shows) his valuable contribution to the national culture, always searching true art away from the fatuous. The same happens with Enrique Pérez Mesa, director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba and consistent heir of the most important tradition of musical directors.
Ivan Giroud, president of the most important event of the seventh art in Cuba, was also recognized with the Excelencias Cuba 2018 Award; to Germán Muñoz, a fundamental man in the development of circus traditions on the island and in the formation of the highly acclaimed Havana Company and the first dancer and artistic assistant director of the National Ballet of Cuba Viengsay Valdés, committed to keeping alive the quality and world recognition that has the Cuban School of Ballet.
As announced, two new categories were delivered for the first time: The Green Prize and the Blue Prize. On this occasion Nils Navarro Pacheco won the Blue Award for having bequeathed from the Valley of Viñales the guide book of the Endemic Birds of Cuba and, in the opinion of experts, is an essential step for the guidance of the endemic birds of the Caribbean.
Another significant moment was the delivery of the Excelencias Cuba 2018 Award to one of the most outstanding figures of Cuban culture: Zenaida Castro Romeu, founder and director of Camerata Romeu, unique worldwide and example of the great artistic power of our women. This musical formation is celebrating its first 25 years of creation.
Genuine in his work and essential name of Cuban music is the legendary Eliades Ochoa, also recognized at the evening where was also delivered the award of Excellencies to Los Van Van Orchestra, created 50 years ago by a musician whose name is symbol of Cuba: Juan Formell.
Likewise, the architect Lázaro Morgado and the Casa Araña show today the award given by the Excelencias Group for building a historic house in Trinidad, where tradition and modernity come together.
The Special Prize of the night was for Havana, one of the most sung and dreamed capitals of the world. Award to the Wonder City for its 500 years, its history, its culture and its people. A city of Excellencies and for which its inhabitants and admirers all over the world intend to do for it, from now and forever ... the greatest!