May 17, 2021
Ana María Martínez in conversation with the artists of Pasión Latina
In December 2020, Lyric presented Pasión Latina to digital audiences around the world. The virtual concert — starring and hosted by renowned soprano and Lyric favorite Ana María Martínez — celebrated music from the Spanish-speaking world. Our cast of current and former members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center performed some of their favorite music from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, Argentina, and Spain, with piano accompaniment by Ryan Opera Center music director Craig Terry and current Ensemble pianist Chris Reynolds. Watch the full concert, streaming on Facebook and YouTube, and hear more from each artist in these exclusive conversations with Ana María Martínez.
Soprano Ana María Martínez and tenor David Portillo were both raised by musical mothers. In this conversation, they discuss how Portillo's undergraduate studies in music education helped inform his performances, why he decided to pursue a career in opera, the future of digital content, and the ongoing importance of experiencing live music and theater.
Ryan Opera Center alumnus Mario Rojas discovered his passion for singing through the recordings of The Three Tenors. A CD of the iconic trio was passed down to Mario from his late father and inspired a lifelong love of music that has blossomed into an exciting international career. In this conversation with Ana María Martínez, the Mexican tenor discusses the importance of having a creative outlet during the pandemic, why music felt like the only career choice, and more.
Baritone Ricardo José Rivera, who recently completed his third year with the Ryan Opera Center, was inspired to become a professional opera singer after taking in a performance of La bohème starring none other than Ana María Martínez. Hear them discuss the importance of representation on stage, on shooting for the moon, and how the training Ricardo received as an Ensemble member prepared him to perform alongside the starry soprano in Lyric's 2019/20 production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly.
Growing up surrounded by music, tenor René Barbera found his passion for singing very young. In this conversation with Ana María Martínez, the Ryan Opera Center alumnus discusses what it means to be an artist, the future of digital programming post-COVID, and how he got his start in singing as a boy soprano.
Second-year Ryan Opera Center soprano Denis Vélez's first love was popular Mexican music. Her voice was discovered by a choir teacher when she was only six years old, but she didn't fall in love with opera until she began studying classical voice at the Superior School of Music in Puebla, Mexico. In this conversation with fellow soprano Ana María Martínez, Denis also tells us why she opted to perform the folk song "La Llorona" ("The weeping woman") in Pasión Latina.
Bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba grew up in a musical household, originally gravitating toward the violin before finding his operatic voice in college. In this conversation with Ana María Martínez, he discusses the importance of staying connected to his heritage, his childhood ties to the song "¡Ay, Jalisco, no te rajes!," and his most memorable experiences from his time in The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center.
Celebrate music of the Spanish-speaking world with a free virtual concert starring and hosted by renowned soprano and Lyric favorite Ana María Martínez. Presented by The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, the concert also features prominent Ryan Opera Center alumni — tenors René Barbera, David Portillo, Mario Rojas, and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba — and two 2020/21 Ensemble members—soprano Denis Vélez and baritone Ricardo José Rivera. These engaging artists perform a dynamic selection of some of their favorite music from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, Argentina, and Spain, with piano accompaniment by Ryan Opera Center music director Craig Terry and current Ensemble pianist Chris Reynolds.