The Cellist in the Back of the Teatro ColónSaturday, September 23, 2017
While we were in Buenos Aires last April, the city was gripped by a brutal murder of a woman who was found in a niche behind the Teatro Colón, the famous opera house.
She had had her neck slit and she was only wearing a sheer slip. There was no identification on her. The Clarín newspaper reported that the Policía Federal homicide inspector assigned to the case, Manrique Duarte, went on the record with very few facts. The woman was around 32 and had calloused fingers and two strange little red marks on her upper inner thighs.
With no leads Duarte went to the administration of the Teatro Colón for help. One of the administrators, Fernando Velazco, volunteered and was taken to la Morgue Judicial between Viamonte and Junin streets.
He inspected the corpse and immediately told Duarte that the woman was a cello player (no marks under her chin to make her a violin or viola player) which explained the callous marks on her fingers. Then pointing at the two little red marks on her inner thighs he said, “She was a baroque cello player.”
Duarte’s expression went blank upon hearing this. So Velazco added, “Baroque cellos do not have an endpin so the musician has to hold thighs tightly around the instruments to keep them balanced. Cellos have little edges that stick out. If the cellist practices a lot those marks will become permanent.”
A later edition of the Clarín identified the woman as Julia Tisol who had recently appeared at a concert at the Colón which featured ciacconas by the early baroque composer Tarquinio Merula.
What is a most amazing coincidence is that months before I had photographed a Seattle baroque cellist and when I noticed her cello pressing on her thighs I asked her if she had marks. Her answer was, “Yes”.
Meanwhile Velazco has been dubbed the Argentine Holmes and his photograph has appeared in countless magazine articles.
The perpetrator of the heinous killing has not been caught to date.