Bold. Brave. Brilliant.

And Now You Know: Cruzar la Cara de la Luna

Nick Cohen – September 8, 2014

One of the highlights of our season this year is our presentation of the world’s first mariachi opera, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna.

Originally commissioned in celebration of the anniversaries of Mexican Independence and Revolution, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna features the legendary Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. Holding the title of the first mariachi opera, Cruzar tells the story of a multi-generational Mexican-American family and their struggle with coming to terms with the meanings of home and family.

The libretto of Cruzar was written by Leonard Foglia, who also serves as the opera’s stage director. The project began in 2009 with a conversation with then-general director of the Houston Grand Opera, Anthony Freud. Freud had originally heard Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán perform and wondered if there was a place for these two art forms to come together. Freud contacted Foglia, who had worked on other projects for Houston Grand Opera, about his idea and Foglia was fascinated with the idea. Freud wanted nothing but the best music, and approached the band about their involvement. Foglia recalls that the members of the band “are like rock stars in Mexico,” and after meeting with their music director, Jose “Pepe” Martinez, they decided to write the piece together.

Foglia set the opera in a non-linear fashion, beginning with the elderly Laurentino on his death bed, and then revealing his and his family’s story through lively and riveting flashbacks. The story of the search for where home is resonated with Foglia, whose own father emigrated from Italy. For many who have seen the show, they feel that Laurentino’s story is their own or that of their family.

Since its premiere in Houston, Cruzar has been performed in Paris, Chicago and San Diego. With our performances in Phoenix and Tucson in October, a total of six cities will have hosted the work.

Tickets for Cruzar la Cara de la Luna start at $25, and are available online or by calling 602.266.7464 (Phoenix) or 520.293.4336 (Tucson). Tickets are also on sale at the Arizona Opera Center Box Office at 1636 N. Central Ave, Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5:30pm.