Florida Grand Opera Presents ACCENTS OF SPAIN, 4/9
Florida Grand Opera (FGO) is planning a party-a free evening of music, food, and celebration geared to delight both opera aficionados and novices. It's called "Accents of Spain," a lively and colorful tribute to the intoxicating Spanish influence in opera, musical theater, and cooking. It all takes place Sunday, April 9, 2017, at the North Beach Bandshell from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
The evening opens with a generous selection of beautiful melodies from some of the most popular zarzuelas of Spain, Cuba, and South America. Zarzuela has never been more popular in the U.S. than it is right now, thanks to the advocacy of star tenor Plácido Domingo and others. Audiences will hear spectacular numbers from Cecilia Valdes, Maravilla, and Luisa Fernanda, brought to life by members of Florida Grand Opera's nationally recognized Young Artist Program. The audience will be invited to sing along.
After a thirty-minute break for Spanish-inspired food and drink, the program resumes with Carmencita, Florida Grand Opera's enormously successful forty-five minute reduction of Georges Bizet's operatic masterpiece Carmen, about the shady and seductive Gypsy who bewitches the lovesick soldier Don José. The brainchild of FGO's Director of Education and Community Engagement, Rebekah Diaz-Fandrei, Carmencita has emerged as a staple at Miami schools and community centers. "There are all the hits everyone knows," says Diaz-Fandrei, "but they've been condensed. The underscoring keeps the plot moving along. You get it all in forty-five minutes. The point is that you don't have to be an operaphile to love every minute of it."
Carmencita stars four talented members of FGO's Young Artist Program: Courtney Miller (Olga in FGO's recent Eugene Onegin) as Carmen, Dominick Corbacio as Don José, Sarah Payne as Micaëla, and Benjamin Taylor as Escamillo.
"Accents of Spain" is a labor of love for Diaz-Fandrei, who first came under the spell of zarzuela when she was a voice student at Carnegie Mellon and the Manhattan School of Music. A former opera and musical theater performer, she appeared in FGO's production of Luisa Fernanda in 2011. "Accents of Spain" offers a chance for the audience to achieve total engagement, they can mingle with the singers and sample the finest offerings from local food and beverage vendors.
"It starts out like a concert," says Diaz-Fandrei, "but you stay for the fiesta."