General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 18 Apr 2019/12 Water
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The Golden City: The Lost Empire of the Aztecs

The Golden City: The Lost Empire of the Aztecs

Anthony James, Maplewood Education 2001

A lively, fun musical based on “a fictional account of life in the great city of Tenochtitlan and the arrival of the Spanish”; consists of a CD with 12 songs (separate rehearsal tracks and backing tracks), plus libretto music score and background A4 script, instructions, “fact sheet”, and staging suggestions.

Everything is kept simple, the material is clearly presented, the melodies, songs and spoken lines are undemanding and easy to learn and perform; a very useful, well illustrated 8-page “Creaturama” art section is included in the booklet, with simple instructions for easy-to-make scenery and costumes/accessories.

The overall educational value of the content is, in my view, negligible: the script relies heavily on the usual stereotyped approach to human sacrifice (blood-thirsty priests anxious to increase the annual tally from ‘over 50,000’...), and not enough care has gone into the research: an Aztec farmer would never have been able to ‘write a codex’, Moctezuma bizarrely remains alive at the end of the Conquest, the main song ‘We are the Mexica’ gives a mis-pronunciation of the name Mexica (the ‘x’ should be pronounced ‘sh’, not x), Quetzalcoatl is given at one point as ‘Quexicoatl’, the male partner of Omecihuatl was Ometecuhtli, not Ometeotl, potatoes are mentioned as an Aztec staple whilst maize is omitted altogether, and Tenochtitlan is mis-translated as ‘stone rising from the water’.

It’s a shame no-one has yet written a quality “Aztec” musical for schools. Meanwhile we have to make do with a really rather thin production such as this.