Herbert Bergel: Herbert Matthews Goes to the Sierra
While vacationing in Havana in 1959, aging New York Times journalist Herbert Matthews received an invitation to visit the jungle hideout of Fidel Castro’s guerrilla army. After undertaking a dangerous journey to the Sierra Maestra mountains, Matthews published a series of articles that highlighted the abuses of the pre-revolutionary Cuban regime and transformed Castro into an international figure. As Cuba quickly became a focal point of the Cold War, however, Matthews’ sympathy for Castro’s cause became a point of controversy at The New York Times. Within a few years of first interviewing Castro, Matthews ended his four-decade career at the newspaper. Herbert Matthews Goes to the Sierra is a 30-minute musical reinterpretation of these events, featuring parts for five actors and a score featuring bass guitar, clarinet, keyboard and drums.