Lyric Opera of Chicago
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"Stunning and emotional work" (Houston Chronicle)

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  • by José "Pepe" Martínez and Leonard Foglia
  • Book by Leonard Foglia
    Lyrics by Martínez and Foglia
    Performed in Spanish and English, with projected translations in English and Spanish
  • Approximate running time: 1h 15m

Where is home? Is it the country in which we’re born? Or the country where we live our lives? Is home with the family we leave behind, or the new ones we create?

Premiered to sold-out houses in Paris and Houston!

Tickets $25-75
VIP Seating (meet the artists after the performance and enjoy a tequila tasting) $125

Chicago Premiere
A Lyric Unlimited Event

¡La Primera Ópera Mariachi del Mundo!

Música de José "Pepe" Martínez
Libreto de Leonard Foglia
Letra de Martínez y Foglia
Proyección de Sobretítulos en Inglés

Con la participación estelar del Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán y los cantantes que recibieron entusiastas reseñas cuando esta “obra deslumbrante y emotiva”  (Houston Chronicle) se estrenó con boletos agotados en teatros de Houston y París.

¿Dónde está nuestro hogar? ¿Está en el país en el que nacimos? ¿O en el país en el que discurre nuestra vida? ¿Queda el hogar junto a la familia que dejamos atrás o en los nuevos hogares que creamos?

Boletos $25-75
Localidades VIP $125

Lead Sponsor: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Cosponsors: an Anonymous Donor, Maria C. Bechily and Scott Hodes, The Chicago Community Trust, The Chicago White Sox, Goya Foods, Inc., Ingredion Incorporated, JPMorgan Chase & Co.The McDonald's Owners of Chicagoland and Northwest IndianaKen Norgan, The Quaker Oats CompanyManny Sanchez and Pat Pulido SanchezMr. and Mrs. Alejandro Silva, Surge Innovations, and Walgreens.

Patrocinador principal: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 
Copatrocinadores: 
Donante Anónimo,   Maria C. Bechily y Scott Hodes, The Chicago Community Trust, The Chicago White Sox, Goya Foods, Inc.,  Ingredion IncorporatedJPMorgan Chase & Co. The McDonald's Owners of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Ken Norgan,  The Quaker Oats Company Manny Sanchez y Pat Pulido Sanchez,  el señor y la señora Alejandro Silva, Surge Innovations, y Walgreens.

Octavio Moreno

Laurentino
Octavio Moreno

Cecilia Duarte

Renata
Cecilia Duarte

Vanessa Cerda-Alonzo

Lupita
Vanessa Cerda-Alonzo

Brian Shircliffe

Mark
Brian Shircliffe

Brittany Wheeler

Diana
Brittany Wheeler

David Guzman

Rafael
David Guzmán

Saul Avalos

Chucho
Saúl Avalos

Saul Avalos

Victor
Juan Mejía

 

Aida - Joel

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán Music Director
José "Pepe" Martínez

 

Aida - Joel

Director
Leonard Foglia

 

Aida - Lata

Music Supervisor
David Hanlon

 

Aida - Halmen

Music Director
Chía Patiño

 

Aida - Halmen

Choreographer
Keturah Stickann

 

Aida - Halmen

Costume Designer
Cesar Galindo

 

Aida - Halmen

Lighting Designer
Brian Nason

 

Where is home? World’s first mariachi opera explores immigrant experience.

 Cruzar la Cara de la luna
To Cross the Face of the Moon
By Magda Krance

 
Mariachi – and opera? The combination isn’t as unlikely as it sounds. It’s a bit like mixing chocolate and chili – slightly startling at first, and then you can’t get enough of it.

Chicago audiences will get a taste of that intriguing musical fusion at the Civic Opera House on Sunday, April 7, at 3:30pm when Lyric Opera presents the world’s first mariachi opera as part of the Lyric Unlimited initiative. General director Anthony Freud came up with the groundbreaking “recipe” during his tenure at Houston Grand Opera. He’d been blown away by the exceptional musicality of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, the fabled Mexican ensemble that’s made mariachi instantly recognizable internationally. “Why not a mariachi opera?” Freud wondered. Both are traditionally popular, populist entertainments that tell stories through songs.

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna/To Cross the Face of the Moon triumphed in its sold-out 2010 world-premiere performances in Houston and again in 2011 at Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet. The music is by José “Pepe” Martínez, MVT’s rockstar-famous music director, who is routinely mobbed for autographs wherever he goes. The libretto is by Leonard Foglia (who directed Terrence McNally’s 1996 Tony Award-winning play Master Class on Broadway and staged Jake Heggie’s operas Moby Dick and Dead Man Walking). They cowrote the lyrics and Foglia directed. It’s a compelling music-theater piece, blending operatic storytelling with authentic mariachi music and resonating with audiences of diverse backgrounds.

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán and the original multi-ethnic cast (classically trained and mariachi singers) will all make Lyric debuts. Additional performances with another mariachi are planned for selected schools and community venues.

Cruzar follows three generations of the Velásquez family as they confront primal questions of national and personal identity: Is home where we were born or where we now live? Is it with the family of our homeland or with new loved ones in a new land? Patriarch Laurentino (baritone Octavio Moreno) is dying and wants his ashes scattered in the monarch-butterfly sanctuary of his Mexican home province, Michoacán (the monarchs’ north-south migration being the work’s poetic central metaphor). His American-born son Mark (baritone Brian Shircliffe) and granddaughter Diana (soprano Brittany Wheeler) discover that Laurentino had a previous family: wife Renata (mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte) and son Rafael (tenor David Guzmán), who were left behind in Mexico when he went to the U.S. as an immigrant laborer through the Bracero program. Through flashbacks, the story unfolds of the secret family and their tribulations, leading to a moving and joyful reunion and a clearer sense of identity for all.

“The universal resonance of the story is very strong, particularly for anyone living in the U.S.,” says Freud. “At some point in all our histories, families have been divided, crossing borders or oceans. Families have been split culturally, generationally, and geographically. Cruzar happens to be about a Mexican family, but it’s extraordinary how everybody encountering it finds something that is powerfully reminiscent of their own circumstances and families. The Houston audiences were completely mixed across ethnicities, across communities, certainly mixed between regular operagoers and those who hadn’t been to an opera before. I don’t know that I’ve ever been in audiences that reacted with quite the same cocktail of cheers and tears, and an astonishing number of people of all backgrounds – Asian, African-American, Hispanic – came up to me after performances and said, ‘You’ve just told my story.’”

The classic mariachi consists of 13 players: six violins, three trumpets, one guitar, one guitaron (a large-bodied bass guitar), a vihuela (a small soprano guitar), and a special mariachi harp. (Several of the players also sing.) All will be onstage for Cruzar, and in full traditional mariachi regalia. The performance at Lyric will be semi-staged, with costumes and props.

Freud proudly notes that Cruzar “is real mariachi. It encompasses nearly every classic rhythmic and stylistic structure of mariachi. I didn’t want to create something that was a pastiche or ‘mariachi lite’ – I wanted it to be the real thing.” He feels strongly that “mariachi as a musical style has real universality. For me it has the immediacy of Puccini. Who doesn’t succumb to the end of Act One of Bohème? For me Cruzar has exactly that instantaneous emotional power.” Freud describes the experience: “The whole ensemble bursts into life, and that unique, plaintive mariachi sound fills the huge auditorium. A great mariachi has an energy, a romance, a soupiness, a brashness, a happiness and a sadness all at once.”

Chicago-area audiences will experience that emotional power – and the enticing mélange of musical flavors, when Cruzar la Cara de la Luna/To Cross the Face of the Moon comes to the Civic Opera House this spring.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, October 22, 2012

Lyric Opera of Chicago announces
Midwest premiere
of the world’s first mariachi opera,
Cruzar la Cara de la Luna
(To Cross the Face of the Moon)
By José “Pepe” Martínez and Leonard Foglia

Performance to take place April 7, 2013, 3:30 p.m.
at Civic Opera House
with world-renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán

Subsequent performances planned
for Benito Juarez Community Academy (Chicago)
and Genesee Theatre (Waukegan) with Mariachi Aztlán from University of Texas Pan-American

Anthony Freud, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, announces the Midwest premiere of  Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon), the world’s first mariachi opera and the first Spanish-language work to be presented by Lyric Opera in the company’s
58-year history.

The performance takes place on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. in the Civic Opera House and is part of Lyric Unlimited, a new, multifaceted program of expanded community engagement and artistic initiatives aimed at exploring ways in which opera can resonate with individuals and communities with little or no prior interest in opera.

Today’s announcement takes place at the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St., in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Joining Anthony Freud for the press conference are mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte, who created the role of Renata for the world premiere; Cayenne Harris, director of Lyric Unlimited; and Carlos Tortolero, founder and president of the NMMA, and Beatriz Margain, cultural attaché for the Consulate General of Mexico.

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna’s music is by José “Pepe” Martínez, who joined the famed Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán as music director in 1975. This is his first opera. His work as a composer and arranger ushered in a new era for mariachi. Lyrics are by Martínez and Leonard Foglia, who directed Terrence McNally’s 1996 Tony Award-winning play Master Class on Broadway. He has numerous Broadway and off-Broadway directing credits and has a particularly close association with the works of Jake Heggie, having directed The End of the Affair (2004), Last Acts (2009) and Dead Man Walking (2010) at Houston Grand Opera.

Commissioned by Houston Grand Opera during the time that Anthony Freud was general director there, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna marked the celebration of the 2010 Mexican anniversaries of independence and revolution. It is an emotionally compelling piece that remains true to its mariachi culture. “The opera is real mariachi,” says Freud. “It encompasses nearly every classic rhythmic and stylistic structure of mariachi. I didn’t want to create something that was a pastiche or ‘mariachi lite’ – I wanted it to be the real thing.”

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, world-renowned as the greatest mariachi, has appeared in more than 200 films and has made numerous recordings. Since the 1950s it has held the title of “World’s Best Mariachi.” The band actively participates in international mariachi festivals to promote pride in the genre and to encourage young mariachis to pursue lifelong careers.

“It’s easy to see why they’re the world’s leading mariachi,” says Freud. “Their musicality, virtuosity, and sheer energy are nothing short of amazing. They communicate with their audiences with great power and emotion. I have been fortunate enough to have attended many Vargas concerts over the past few years – they are truly unforgettable experiences.”

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna received its world premiere in Houston in December 2010 and was performed in Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet in 2011. “When the popular music of Mexico encounters opera, the result is a unique and astonishing spectacle,” wrote L’EXPRESS of Paris. Freud moved to Chicago in 2011 and realized that this opera could engage the Latino community here as well. 

The story of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna follows three generations of the Velásquez family as they confront questions of national and personal identity. Patriarch Laurentino (baritone Octavio Moreno) is dying and wants his ashes scattered in the Monarch-butterfly sanctuary of his Mexican home province, Michoacán (the butterflies’ north-south migration is  the work’s central metaphor). Unknown to his American family is the fact that Laurentino had a previous family that he had left in Mexico. His American-born son Mark (baritone Brian Shircliffe) and granddaughter Diana (soprano Brittany Wheeler) learn about Laurentino’s first wife, Renata (mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte) and their son Rafael (tenor David Guzman). Also central to the story are Renata’s friend Lupita (Vanessa Cerda-Alonzo), her husband Chucho (Saúl Avalos), and the “coyote” Victor, (Juan Mejia). Through flashbacks, the tale of the secret family unfolds and leads to a moving and joyful reunion.

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán and the original multi-ethnic cast (a mixture of classically trained and mariachi singers) will all make Lyric debuts.

The classic mariachi consists of 13 players: six violins, three trumpets, one guitar, one guitarrón (a large-bodied bass guitar), a vihuela (a small soprano guitar), and a special mariachi harp. (Several of the players also sing.) All members of Mariachi Vargas will be onstage for Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, and in full traditional mariachi costume. The performance at Lyric will be semi-staged, with costumes and props.

Cecilia Duarte, a native of Chihuahua, Mexico, has portrayed Renata (the first wife of the opera’s central character) in all performances of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna since its 2010 premiere. Duarte has sung several roles with Houston Grand Opera’s touring company Opera to Go!, was a member of the HGO Chorus for six seasons, and created the role of Gracie in A Way Home (2010 world premiere and fully staged production with Opera Southwest, Albuquerque). Duarte has also participated in musical theater productions in Mexico with composer and director Alberto Espino, performing leading roles in several of his world premieres. She lives in Houston, where she performs and collaborates with various ensembles and composers.

The National Museum of Mexican Art, comprising one of the largest collections of Mexican art in the U. S., defines Mexican culture as sin fronteras (without borders). Its programs and exhibitions capture the wide range of Mexican cultural expressions and art forms, from ancient to modern and on both sides of the border, representing the Mexican community from its own point of view and in its own voice. As expressed in its mission statement, “We believe in art as a bridge between communities, and we believe that art in education expands minds and breaks down barriers while preserving cultural heritages.”

In collaborating with the National Museum of Mexican Art, Lyric plans to promote Cruzar la Cara de la Luna with a series of events.  “The National Museum of Mexican Art is very excited about partnering with Lyric Opera on the mariachi opera project,” says Tortolero. “This fantastic project will be a catalyst in reaching out to the Mexican community.”

Additional performances of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna are planned later in April with the same cast of singers but with a different mariachi. For those performances, the cast will be joined by Mariachi Aztlán, an award-winning mariachi from the University of Texas Pan-American. These performances will take place at Benito Juarez Academy in Pilsen and Genesee Theatre in Waukegan; dates and details will be announced in the near future. School- and community-based programs aimed at deepening the experience for new audiences are also planned for Pilsen and Waukegan.

Ticket prices for the April 7 Civic Opera House performance range from $25 to $75 with VIP seating at $125. Cruzar la Cara de la Luna will be performed in Spanish and English, with projected translations in English and Spanish.

Lead Sponsor: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Cosponsors: Maria Bechily, The Chicago Community Trust, Ingredion Incorporated, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Ken Norgan, The Quaker Oats Company, Mr. and Mrs. Alejandro Silva, and Walgreens.


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PARA DIVULGACIÓN INMEDIATA:
Lunes, 22 de octubre de 2012


Lyric Opera of Chicago anuncia
el estreno para el Medio Oeste
de la primera ópera mariachi
Cruzar la Cara de la Luna
de José "Pepe" Martínez y Leonard Foglia

La presentación tendrá lugar el 7 de abril de 2013 a las 3:30 p.m.
en el Civic Opera House
con el mundialmente famoso Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán

Presentaciones adicionales programadas
en la Escuela Comunitaria Benito Juárez (Chicago)
y el Genesee Theatre (Waukegan) con el Mariachi Aztlán
 de la Universidad de Texas - Pan-American

Anthony Freud, director general de la Lyric Opera of Chicago anuncia el estreno para el Medio Oeste de Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, la primera ópera mariachi del mundo y la primera obra en idioma español presentada por Lyric Opera en sus 58 años de existencia.
 
La presentación tendrá lugar el domingo, 7 de abril de 2013, a las 3:30 p.m. en el Civic Opera House y forma parte de Lyric Unlimited, un nuevo programa multifacético que pretende ampliar la participación comunitaria y las iniciativas artísticas orientadas a la búsqueda de formas para hacer llegar la ópera a personas y comunidades con poco o ningún interés previo en el género.

El anuncio de hoy se lleva a cabo en el Museo Nacional de Arte Mexicano, 1852 W. 19th St., en el barrio Pilsen de Chicago. En la conferencia de prensa, además de Anthony Freud, estarán presentes la mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte, creadora del papel de Renata en el estreno mundial; Cayenne Harris, director de Lyric Unlimited; y Carlos Tortolero, fundador y presidente del Museo Nacional de Arte Mexicano (NMMA); y Beatriz Margain, agregada cultural del Consualdo General de México.

La música de Cruzar la Cara de la Luna fue compuesta por José "Pepe" Martínez, quien desde 1975 se encuentra vinculado al renombrado Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán como director musical. Esta es su primera ópera. Su trabajo como compositor y arreglista representó el nacimiento de una nueva era para la música mariachi. La letra fue escrita por Martínez en colaboración con Leonard Foglia, quien fue el director de la obra de teatro Master Class de Terrence McNally en Broadway, galardonada con el premio Tony en 1996. Foglia ha logrado numerosos éxitos dirigiendo obras en Broadway y en teatros Off Broadway, y estuvo estrechamente asociado con los trabajos de Jake Heggie, de quien dirigió The End of the Affair (2004), Last Acts (2009) y Dead Man Walking (2010) en la Houston Grand Opera.

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna fue comisionada por Anthony Freud durante su permanencia como director general de la Houston Grand Opera  e hizo parte de la celebración de los aniversarios de la independencia y la revolución mexicana en 2010 . Se trata de una obra emocional y cautivadora que se mantiene fiel a su identidad mariachi. "La ópera es mariachi genuino", afirma Anthony Freud. "Abarca prácticamente todas las estructuras rítmicas y estilísticas clásicas del mariachi. No quise crear una imitación ni un 'mariachi liviano' – quería que fuera un mariachi auténtico".

El Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán reconocido como el mejor mariachi del mundo, ha participado en más de 200 películas y ha realizado innumerables grabaciones discográficas. Desde la década de 1950 ostentan el título del "Mejor Mariachi del Mundo". El grupo participa activamente en festivales internacionales de mariachis con el fin de promover el orgullo por el género y estimular a jóvenes mariachis para convertir esta actividad en una carrera profesional.

"Es fácil comprender por qué son el mariachi más reconocido del mundo", afirma Freud. "Su musicalidad, virtuosismo y energía pura son sencillamente asombrosos. Se comunican con su público con gran energía y emoción. He tenido la fortuna de asistir a numerosos conciertos de Vargas en el curso de los últimos años – es una experiencia realmente inolvidable".

El estreno mundial de Cruzar la Cara de la Luna tuvo lugar en Houston en diciembre de 2010 y la ópera fue presentada en el Théâtre du Châtelet de París en 2011. "Cuando la música popular de México se encuentra con la ópera, el resultado es un espectáculo único y asombroso", comentó L'EXPRESS de París. Freud se mudó a Chicago en 2011 y se dio cuenta de que esta ópera también podría ser de interés para la comunidad latina de esta ciudad. 

El argumento de Cruzar la Cara de la Luna sigue la vida de tres generaciones de la familia Velásquez, que deben enfrentar temas de identidad personal y nacionalidad.  El patriarca Laurentino (el barítono Octavio Moreno) está muriendo y desea que sus cenizas sean esparcidas en el santuario de mariposas monarcas de Michoacán, su provincia natal mexicana (la migración norte - sur de las mariposas constituye la metáfora central de la obra).  Su familia americana no tiene conocimiento de que Laurentino había tenido una familia anterior que dejó en México. Su hijo Mark nacido en los Estados Unidos (el barítono Brian Shircliffe) y su nieta Diana (la soprano Brittany Wheeler) se enteran de la existencia de Renata, la primera esposa de Laurentino (la mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte) y su hijo Rafael (el tenor David Guzmán). Otros personajes destacados en el desarrollo de la historia son Lupita (Vanessa Cerda-Alonso), su esposo Chucho (Saúl Avalos), y el "coyote" Victor (Juan Mejia). La historia de la familia secreta se va desarrollando a través de retrospectivas hasta llegar finalmente a un conmovedor y feliz reencuentro.
El Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán y el elenco multiétnico original (una combinación de cantantes entrenados en la música clásica y mariachis) harán su debut en Lyric Opera.

Un mariachi clásico se compone de 13 músicos: seis violines, tres trompetas, una guitarra, un guitarrón (una guitarra bajo de gran tamaño), una vihuela (pequeña guitarra soprano) y un arpa especial de mariachi. (Varios de los instrumentistas también cantan.) Todos los miembros del Mariachi Vargas estarán en escena para Cruzar la Cara de la Luna con su atuendo tradicional de mariachi. La presentación en Lyric Opera será una versión semi-escenificada, con disfraces y utilería.

Cecilia Duarte, nacida en Chihuahua, México, ha representado el papel de Renata (la primera esposa del personaje principal de la ópera) en todas las presentaciones de Cruzar la Cara de la Luna desde su estreno en 2010. Duarte ha cantado diversos papeles con la Opera to Go!, el grupo de giras de la Houston Grand Opera, formó parte del Coro de la HGO durante seis temporadas y encarnó el papel de Gracie en A Way Home (estreno mundial y producción con escenografía completa de la Opera Southwest de Albuquerque en 2010). Duarte también ha participado en producciones de teatro musical en México en compañía del compositor y director Alberto Espino, interpretando el papel principal en varios de sus estrenos mundiales. Vive en Houston, donde se presenta y trabaja con diversos compositores y grupos musicales.

El Museo Nacional de Arte Mexicano alberga una de las colecciones de arte mexicano más ricas en los E.U. y define la cultura Mexicana como sin fronteras. Sus programas y exhibiciones capturan una amplia gama de expresiones culturales y formas artísticas mexicanas, desde lo antiguo hasta lo moderno, a ambos lados de la frontera y representan la comunidad mexicana desde su propia perspectiva y en sus propias palabras.  Como lo expresa su declaración de misión, "Creemos en el arte como un puente entre las comunidades y creemos que el arte en la educación amplía la mente y rompe barreras, manteniendo el patrimonio cultural".

En colaboración con el Museo Nacional de Arte Mexicano, Lyric Opera planea promocionar Cruzar la Cara de la Luna a través de una serie de eventos.  "Para el Museo Nacional de Arte Mexicano es motivo de satisfacción la asociación con Lyric Opera en el proyecto de la ópera mariachi", dice Tortolero. "Este maravilloso proyecto será un catalizador para llegar a la comunidad Mexicana".

Para fechas posteriores durante el mes de abril se tienen previstas presentaciones adicionales de Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, con el mismo elenco de cantantes pero con un mariachi diferente. Para dichas presentaciones se unirá al elenco el Mariachi Aztlán, un mariachi de la Universidad de Texas Pan-American, ganador de múltiples premios. Estas presentaciones tendrán lugar en la Escuela Benito Juarez en Pilsen y el Genesee Theatre en Waukegan; próximamente se anunciarán las fechas y mayores detalles. También se tiene prevista una serie de programas dirigidos a escuelas y la comunidades de Pilsen y Waukegan con el propósito de intensificar esta experiencia para públicos nuevos. 

El precio de la boletería para la presentación en el Civic Opera House va desde $25 hasta $75, con puestos VIP de $125. Cruzar la Cara de la Luna será interpretada en español e inglés con subtítulos en inglés y español respectivamente.

Patrocinador principal: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Copatrocinadores: Maria Bechily, The Chicago Community Trust, Ingredion Incorporated, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Ken Norgan, The Quaker Oats Company, Sr. y Sra. Alejandro Silva, y Walgreens.


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