Wednesday, November 17, 2010

De Musica Ligera: Opera a la Mexicana

What happens when you combine two great forms of music? The result could be either an unmitigated train wreck or a brilliant concept come to life. Thankfully the latter occurred several nights ago in Houston, Texas.

“Cruzar la cara de la Luna” (“To Cross the Face of the Moon”) was billed as the world’s first mariachi opera and it took place on Saturday at the Houston Grand Opera. Mezzo-sopranos Cecilia Duarte and Vanessa Cerda performed along with the thirteen-member Mariachi Vargas de Tecatitlan to tell a tale of family bonding, immigration, and the tying of cultures.

José "Pepe" Martinez, music director of Mariachi Vargas, composed the music while Broadway director Leonard Foglia helped guide the unique mariachi opera. In remarks to the Houston Chronicle, Foglia said that he wanted to write a story “with universal appeal” and he received personal inspiration from his Italian-born father. He added that now was the ideal time to feature such a one-of-a-kind tale:
"Everyone wants his story told," Foglia says, "wants to feel his life has some significance to the larger society. It's important to tell these stories, especially now, when there is sometimes such a rancorous debate about immigration."
Four additional staged performances (with the same vocal leads but a different mariachi group) of “Cruzar…” will be held from December 3-5 at the Talento Bilingüe de Houston. Otherwise please enjoy the following video taken by one of the audience members who attended Saturday’s performance:

Video Source - YouTube
Online Sources- Talento Bilingüe de Houston, La Opinion, Houston Chronicle, Wikipedia

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