January 24, 2006

Opera Colorado Education and Outreach Director Katherine Myers announced that Opera Colorado has commissioned Texas-born composer Robert Xavier Rodriguez and librettist Mary Medrick to create a new family opera based on Latin American themes. The new opera, entitled La Curandera (The Sorceress), will have its world premiere at the Eugenia Rawls Courtyard Theatre at the King Performing Arts Center on the Auraria Campus this coming spring. La Curandera will be performed in Spanish and in English.

The new work is inspired by Latin American folk traditions about mystical healers, known in Mexican culture as las curanderas, as well as the opera Bastien und Bastienne, a short early opera by W. A. Mozart. The stories of both operas center around young couples who find true love through the intervention of magical forces. La Curandera will receive its world premiere on a double bill with the Mozart opera for six performances at the King Center. Following the public performances, Opera Colorado will incorporate La Curandera into its touring educational programs that visit schools throughout the state.

Robert Xavier Rodriguez has composed seven full-length operas, including his most recent, Frida, based on the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, which enjoyed successful runs at the American Music Theatre Festival, The American Repertory Theatre in Boston, the Brooklyn Academy’s Next Wave Festival and the Houston Grand Opera. He is also the composer of Monkey See, Monkey Do, a children’s opera that is one of the most frequently performed operas in the U.S. with more than 2,000 performances to date. More than 27,000 children throughout Colorado have seen Monkey See, Monkey Do performed in their schools by Opera Colorado’s Outreach Ensemble. Rodriguez has served as Composer-in-Residence for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, and the San Antonio Symphony. His works have been performed by leading opera companies and symphony orchestras across the U.S. and Mexico.

La Curandera is part of Opera Colorado’s long-term strategy to welcome new audiences for opera from across the state. The new opera will be introduced to audiences through a series of outreach activities, including a week-long “Fiesta de La Curandera” during the month of March when Opera Colorado will host a series of activities designed to educate the public about opera creation and production and to generate excitement for the premiere. Activities will include seminars with the composer, open rehearsals, and other creative educational opportunities.
“We are currently working on establishing lasting relationships with a wide range of schools, businesses and community service organizations for this project,” said Katherine Myers. “Our goal is to welcome young people and their parents from throughout our community be part of the creative dialogue.” Opera Colorado hopes to reach out to the large Latino community throughout the state of Colorado and to build community partnerships and new audiences for opera. In future seasons, Opera Colorado hopes to create a new tradition of family opera performances.

La Curandera performances take place at the Eugenia Rawls Courtyard Theatre at the King Performing Arts Center on the Auraria Campus. The facility is located between Lawrence Way, the Plaza Building, the Parking Garage and the Tivoli Center at 855 Lawrence Way.

The production of La Curandera will receive funding from OPERA America’s Opera Fund. The Opera Fund, launched by The National Endowment for the Arts, is funded by the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Canada Council for the Arts, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James S. and John L. Knight Foundation, The George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation, and Lee Day Gillespie. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. Other supporters of this exciting project include Great-West Life and Annuity Insurance Company and The Janus Foundation.

For more information at http://www.operacolorado.org

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