Press Room

HGO brings recognition to UNESCO-protected mariachi with opera

After last December’s premiere run in Houston of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the world’s first mariachi opera, the Houston Chronicle called the piece “a bold first-time fusion” that “succeeded on all fronts.” With the November announcement by UNESCO that mariachi has been added to its World Heritage List, Cruzar is now at the forefront of the effort to gain international recognition for this vibrant genre of music. Those who were not able to see the September performances of Cruzar at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris will be able to experience the work stateside, in performances to be announced soon. More immediately, the Albany Records album of Cruzar is available on CD and in digital form.
Commissioned by Houston Grand Opera through its “Song of Houston: Mexico 2010” project (in celebration of the anniversaries of Mexican independence and revolution), Cruzar la Cara de la Luna chronicles three generations of a family divided by countries and cultures, depicting the emotional-spiritual connection to one’s country of origin; the challenges of being a stranger in a strange land; and the very nature of home that is at the heart of the immigrant experience. Acclaimed Broadway director Leonard Foglia wrote the libretto, and the score is by José “Pepe” Martínez. The CD of Cruzar features Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán – the world’s top mariachi ensemble, led by Martínez – along with mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte as Renata (praised by the Houston Chronicle for her “intensity and conviction”) and baritone Octavio Moreno as Laurentino (hailed as “warm and sympathetic”).
Houston Grand Opera
Houston Grand Opera – led by artistic director Patrick Summers, one of the nation’s top opera conductors – launched its current season in October with a new production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and a revival of Beethoven’s Fidelio. The season continues in 2012 with revivals of La traviata, Don Carlos, and Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda (with Joyce DiDonato in the title role), along with a new production of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. Since its inception in 1955, Houston Grand Opera has grown from a small regional organization into an internationally renowned opera company. The company enjoys a reputation for commissioning and producing new works, including 44 world premieres and six American premieres since 1973. In addition to producing and performing world-class opera, HGO contributes to the cultural enrichment of Houston and the nation through a diverse and innovative program of performances, community events, and education projects that reaches the widest possible public. HGO has toured extensively, including trips to Europe and Asia, and it is the only opera company to have won a Tony, two Grammy awards, and two Emmy awards. HGO’s performances are broadcast nationally and internationally over the WFMT Radio Network, New York City’s WQXR, the European Broadcasting Union, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Media Contacts
Houston Grand Opera: Claire Vince, senior publicist, [email protected], 713-546-0278 / 832-738-2611.
21C: Glenn Petry, [email protected], (212) 625-2038.!/hougrandopera
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© 21C Media Group, December 2011

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