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New York City Opera to Present NY Premiere of World's First Mariachi Opera CRUZAR LA CARA DE LA LUNA

New York City Opera to Present NY Premiere of World's First Mariachi Opera CRUZAR LA CARA DE LA LUNA

Following the success of its fall productions of Puccini's beloved La Fanciulla del West and the New York premiere of Tobias Picker's Dolores Claiborne, New York City Opera continues the 2017/2018 season in January 2018 with the New York premiere of José "Pepe" Martínez and Leonard Foglia's Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the world's first mariachi opera.

The production, directed by Foglia, is an HGOco production of Houston Grand Opera and boasts a talented cast of artists. David Hanlon will conduct the Grammy Award-winning mariachi group Mariachi Los Camperos, under the direction of Jesús "Chuy" Guzmán. This presentation of Cruzar marks the third installment in City Opera's landmark Ópera en Español series.

City Opera will present four performances of Cruzar la Cara del Luna on January 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m., January 27 at 2:00 p.m., and January 28 at 4:00 p.m. at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The world's first mariachi opera, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon) follows three generations of a family defined by the border they have crossed and re-crossed. As he lies dying, Laurentino, an octogenarian Mexican laborer, remembers the family he left behind and lost many years before. The memory of his wife, Renata, who died in an attempt to cross the border, fills his mind. As his son, Mark, deals with the approaching death of his father, he is forced to contemplate his own place, and that of his American-born daughter, in the world. As long-buried secrets are revealed, Mark finds himself reevaluating his own understanding of what makes a family. The opera shifts between past and present, English and Spanish, Mexico and Texas, as Laurentino's families and memories come together in a rich, vibrant mariachi score.

New York City Opera General Director Michael Capasso says: "At a time when our country's debate on immigration and national identity has reached fever pitch, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna gives human dimension to the stories of those among us whose lives are too often reduced to mere talking points. City Opera is privileged to present this unique work which exemplifies the power of theater to make us better understand ourselves and each other."

Commissioned by Houston Grand Opera (HGO) as part of the Song of Houston: Mexico 2010 project, which celebrated milestone anniversaries of the Mexican Revolution and independence from Spain, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna had its world premiere at HGO in September 2010. The opera and production, directed by Leonard Foglia with composer José "Pepe" Martínez leading the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, had its European premiere at the Théâtre du Châtelet in 2011, followed by a 2013 U.S. tour with performances at San Diego Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and a return to HGO, and performances presented by Arizona Opera in October 2014 and Fort Worth Opera in April 2017. City Opera's presentation of the original HGOco production marks the New York premiere of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna.

Joining City Opera for this production of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna in the roles they created are Mexican baritone Octavio Moreno as Laurentino, Mexican mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte as Renata, and mariachi singer Vanessa Alonzo as Lupita. Mexican baritone Octavio Moreno has appeared with Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Arizona Opera, Théâtre du Châtelet, San Diego Opera, and Opera in the Heights. In addition to creating the role of Renata, Mexican mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte has created roles in David Hanlon's After the Storm, Ricky Ian Gordon's A Coffin in Egypt, and Ethan Green's A Way Home, all with Houston Grand Opera. She has also performed with ArsLyrica Houston, the Bach Society, the Oregon Bach Festival, and Mercury Houston. Vanessa Alonzo, a noted mariachi singer, has been a featured performer with ensembles throughout Houston and has performed internationally in Ireland, Mexico, Norway, and Vietnam and at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2015, she created the role of Juana in the mariachi opera El Pasado Nunca Se Termina, also by Martínez and Foglia, with Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The cast also features baritone Efraín Solís (San Francisco Opera, Opera Memphis, Opera Carolina, Virginia Opera, West Edge Opera), as Laurentino's son Mark; soprano Maria Valdes (San Francisco Opera, Opera San José, Opera Theatre of St. Louis) as Mark's American-born daughter Diana; tenor Daniel Montenegro (San Francisco Opera, Minnesota Opera, Washington National Opera, Théâtre du Châtelet) as Rafael; the well-known mariachi singer Miguel de Aranda as Chucho; and actor Miguel Nuñez (Lyric Opera of Chicago, Stage Left/Cor Theatre, Victory Gardens, Goodman Theatre) as Victor.

The late composer, arranger, and violinist José "Pepe" Martínez was one of the greats of the contemporary mariachi scene. As the music director and arranger of the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán for nearly four decades, Martínez was at the forefront of a renewed interest in mariachi that began in the late 1970s. In 2010, Martínez was inducted in The International Mariachi Spectacular Hall of Fame. Cruzar la Cara de la Luna was his first opera, followed by El Pasado Nunca Se Termina, which had its world premiere at Lyric Opera of Chicago in March 2015.

American theater director, librettist, and novelist Leonard Foglia directed the original Broadway productions of Master Class, Thurgood, and The People in the Picture, as well as the Broadway revivals of Wait Until Dark and On Golden Pond. As an opera director, he directed the world premieres of Jake Heggie's Moby-Dick, Dead Man Walking, and The End of the Affair. Foglia, who coauthored the libretto of Cruzar with Martínez, is also the librettist for Ricky Ian Gordon's A Coffin in Egypt.

David Hanlon led the world premiere of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, as well as the recording and revivals of the work in Houston, Lyric Chicago of Chicago, San Diego Opera, and Arizona Opera. For this presentation of Cruzar, Hanlon conducts Mariachi Los Camperos. Founded by the late Nati Cano and under the artistic direction of Jesús "Chuy" Guzmán since 2014, Mariachi Los Camperos is a two-time Grammy Award-winning mariachi group. In July 2017, they released their most recent album, Movimiento, followed by their first official music video, "Maria Linda."

New York City Opera initiated its Ópera en Español series in June 2016 with the long-awaited New York premiere of Daniel Catán's 1996 opera Florencia en el Amazonas. In May 2017, the series continued with the American premiere of Antonio Literes's rarely heard baroque opera Los Elementos. With the annual Ópera en Español series, City Opera has committed to presenting at least one work in Spanish every season to better serve the diverse population of New York City. The New York premiere of Martínez and Foglia's Cruzar la Cara de la Luna marks the third installment in the series.

New York City Opera presents the New York premiere of José "Pepe" Martínez and Leonard Foglia's Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, an HGOco production of Houston Grand Opera, for four performances on January 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m., January 27 at 2:00 p.m., and January 28 at 4:00 p.m. at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center.



Music by José "Pepe" Martínez
Lyrics by José "Pepe" Martínez and Leonard Foglia
Book by Leonard Foglia

An HGOco Production of Houston Grand Opera
Commissioned by Houston Grand Opera
Premiered at Houston Grand Opera in September 2010

Thursday, January 25, 2018 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 26, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 27, 2018, 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 28, 2018, 4:00 p.m.

At the Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall, Time Warner Center, New York, NY

Creative Team & Cast

Conductor David Hanlon
Director, Mariachi Los Camperos Jesús Guzmán
Production Stage Director Leonard Foglia
Associate Director and Choreographer Keturah Stickann
Original Lighting Designer Brian Nason
Lighting Realizer / Technical Supervisor Gary Echelmeyer
Sound Designer Andrew Harper
Stage Manager Kiera Bennett

Laurentino - Octavio Moreno
Renata - Cecilia Duarte
Mark - Efraín Solís
Diana - Maria Valdes
Rafael - Daniel Montenegro
Lupita - Vanessa Alonzo
Chucho - Miguel de Aranda
Victor - Miguel Nuñez
Mariachi - Los Camperos

For tickets to Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, contact the Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office (Broadway at 60th Street, Ground Floor) Monday-Saturday, 10:00AM - 6:00PM and Sunday, 12:00PM - 6:00PM, call CenterCharge: (212) 721-6500 or visit

Since its founding in 1943 by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia as "The People's Opera" New York City Opera has been a critical part of the city's cultural life. During its history, New York City Opera launched the careers of dozens of major artists and presented engaging productions of both mainstream and unusual operas alongside commissions and regional premieres. The result was a uniquely American Opera Company of international stature.

For more than seven decades, New York City Opera maintained a distinct identity, adhering to its unique mission: affordable ticket prices, a devotion to American works, English-language performances, the promotion of up-and-coming American singers, and seasons of accessible, vibrant and compelling productions intended to introduce new audiences to the art form. Stars who launched their careers at New York City Opera include Plácido Domingo, Catherine Malfitano, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Beverly Sills, Tatiana Troyanos, Carol Vaness, Shirley Verrett, among dozens of other great artists.

In 1999, New York City Opera founded VOX, Contemporary Opera Lab, an annual concert series that offered composers and librettists the opportunity to hear excerpts of their works performed by professional singers and musicians. For decades New York City Opera has been committed to introducing opera to the young, bringing the art form to new audiences with educational outreach performances in New York City's public schools.

Now, having returned to the stage, New York City Opera continues its legacy at a new, state-of-the-art home at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater with revitalized outreach and education programs, and programming designed to welcome and inspire a new generation of City Opera audiences. The 2016 - 2017 season included Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Rachmaninoff's Aleko, the New York premiere of Tobin Stokes' Fallujah, 10 sold-out performances of Harold Prince's production of Leonard Bernstein's Candide, and the U.S. premiere of Literes's baroque opera, Los Elementos, at Harlem Stage. City Opera opened New York City's 2017/2018 cultural season with a new production of Puccini's beloved La fanciulla del West. In October 2017, City Opera presented the first installment of its Chamber Opera series with the New York premiere of Tobias Picker's Dolores Claiborne, based on the novel by Stephen King and presented in a new chamber adaptation prepared for City Opera by the composer. In January 2018, City Opera will present the New York premiere of the world's first mariachi opera, José "Pepe" Martinez's Cruzar la Cara de la Luna as part of its Ópera en Español series. The Chamber Opera series continues in March with a unique pairing of Rameau's Pigmalion and Donizetti's first opera Il Pigmalione. Having presented Respighi's rarely heard La campana sommersa in April 2017, City Opera presents another 20th-century Italian rarity with Montemezzi's L'amore dei tre Re in April 2018. City Opera began its singular LGBT Opera initiative last June with the New York premiere of Péter Eötvös's Angels in America and continues that initiative this May with the long-awaited U.S. premiere of Charles Wuorinen's Brokeback Mountain.

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