El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering)
He was born in 1978 in Mexico City, into a family of mariachi musicians. His grandparents, Felipe Pérez (maternal) and Blas Martínez (paternal), both former members of the mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, and his father, José (Pepe Martínez), musical director of the mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan (THE BEST MARIACHI IN THE WORLD), for more than 40 years. His cousins and uncles have also been part of large mariachi groups and thus grew up steeped in Mexican music and surrounded by great musicians.
He started his career at the age of 17 as a violinist and singer. From then until now, he has dedicated his life to Mexican music, directing, and various record productions for various singers and mariachi groups.
MARIACHI CHARROS DE AMECA (1995-1996) MARIACHI JUVENIL DE MEXICO (1996-1999) MARIACHI AZTECA (1999-2000) MARIACHI GALLOS DE MEXICO (2000-2005) MARIACHI JUVENIL CAMPEROS (2005-2007) MARIACHI SOL DE AMERICA (2007-2011 ) MARIACHI JUVENIL CAMPEROS (2011-2014) MARIACHI AGAVEROS (2014-2018) EXTERMINATING GROUP
He has also been part of the musicians cast of many internationally famous artists such as LUIS MIGUEL, JENI RIVERA, PABLO MONTERO, LEO DAN, AIDA CUEVAS, ROCIO DURCAL, GRUPO EXTERMINADOR, ETC.
He also participated as a musician and arranger in the recording of several songs for the project called, Mariachi Rock-O, in the city of Guadalajara.
In 2015 he was summoned to be an arranger of the performance of the opera, “The Past Never Ends”, a creation of his father José Martínez and Leonard Foglia, produced by Lyric Opera of Chicago. This opera was presented in Chicago, California and Houston with great success. It was the second opera performed solely with mariachi music and was performed by mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan and great talents of the opera.
In 2017 he was summoned to continue the legacy of his father and compose together with the great writer Leonard Foglia, the third opera for mariachi, commissioned by the HOUSTON GRAND OPERA.
He is currently the musical director of the opera, “Cruzar la cara de la luna”, with a Mexican production that was presented on December 22, 2018 at the Diana theater in the city of Guadalajara. This work was the first opera in the world written only with mariachi music, and was originally commissioned by the HOUSTON GRAND OPERA and was also composed by his father José Martínez and Leonard Foglia
In 2019 EL MILAGRO DEL RECUERDO was presented in the city of Houston with great success. This masterpiece was written by Leonard Foglia and Javier Martínez as Composer.
LEONARD FOGLIA (Librettist / Director) is a theater and opera director as well as librettist. He directed the world premieres of Moby Dick, (Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera etc.- filmed for PBS), Everest (Dallas Opera, etc.); Cold Mountain (Santa Fe Opera, etc.); The End of the Affair (Houston Grand Opera, etc.); Three Decembers (HGO, etc.); It’s a Wonderful Life (HGO, etc.); Stonewall (New York City Opera). His production of Dead Man Walking was produced by New York City Opera and continues to be seen across the US and has played Teatro Real in Madrid and The Barbican in London.
For Broadway he directed: Master Class with Zoe Caldwell, Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald, Wait Until Dark with Marisa Tomei and Quentin Tarantino, Thurgood with Laurence Fishburne (filmed for HBO), The People in the Picture, On Golden Pond with James Earl Jones, The Gin Game with Cecily Tyson and Mr. Jones. Off-Broadway: Anna Deavere Smith’s Notes From The Field (filmed for HBO) and Let Me Down Easy (filmed for PBS).
As an opera librettist, he wrote and directed Cruzar la Cara de la Luna/To Cross the Face of the Moon with composer José “Pepe” Martínez which premiered at Houston Grand Opera, A Coffin in Egypt with composer Ricky Ian Gordon which also premiered at HGO, El Pasado Nunca Se Termina/The Past Is Never Finished, with composer Martínez which premiered at Lyric Opera of Chicago; El Milagro Del Recuerdo / The Miracle of Remembering with composer Javier Martinez which premiered at HGO. His “mariachi operas” have played across the country and on three continents.
Beth Krynicki was the Principal Stage Manager at Washington National Opera for more than 15 seasons. She has worked with numerous directors throughout her career, from David Alden to Francesca Zambello, and Gian Carlo Menotti to Giancarlo del Monaco. Other collaborations include Seattle Opera, The Dallas Opera, Kentucky Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera House Muscat (Oman), Palau de la Música (Barcelona), Houston Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra (DC), among others. She was the Asst. Camera Director for opera simulcasts at WNO, Palm Beach Opera and Santa Fe Opera. She recently led a class for directing students at Butler School of Music (UT Austin) and has led masterclasses in stage management for the Universities of Iowa and Maryland as well as Ópera de Colombia (Bogotá) and Teatro Nacional Sucre (Quito, Ecuador). Her voice can be heard at the Mariinsky Concert Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia reminding you to turn off your cell phone.
Equally at home in Opera and Musical Theater, Grammy nominated conductor James Lowe continues to garner praise for “beautifully sculpted” (Opera News) performances. Recent engagements include a return to Houston Grand Opera to lead John Caird's production of La bohème, Lyric Opera of Chicago (West Side Story), Washington National Opera (Jeanine Tesori's The Lion, The Unicorn and Me), The Glimmerglass Festival (Show Boat), Utah Opera (The Little Prince), and Tulsa Opera (Madama Butterfly). He made his European debut conducting Candide in Francesca Zambello's production at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse and Opéra National de Bordeaux, and he recently conducted Turandot at Tulsa Opera. He has also appeared at San Francisco Opera and New York City Opera, as well as on Broadway. Upcoming engagements include a return to The Glimmerglass Festival for Songbird (La Périchole) and a debut with Arizona Opera.
Lowe has had a long relationship with Houston Grand Opera, where he has led Carmen, Le nozze di Figaro, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Sweeney Todd, Jake Heggie’s The End of the Affair (world premiere production), as well as the HGO Studio production of Copland’s The Tender Land. At HGO he also conducted the world premiere production of The Little Prince, and he led Jonathan Dove’s Flight at the Pittsburgh Opera Center. He has appeared at Utah Opera leading Daniel Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas and Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, and he conducted Mark Adamo’s Little Women at Lyric Opera Cleveland in a production directed by the composer. He has also led the Houston Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Wolf Trap Opera, and the American Composers Orchestra, as well as The Nutcracker with the Houston Ballet.
On Broadway, James Lowe was the Music Director and Conductor of the recent revival of Les Misérables, as well as the Tony Award-winning revival of Cole Porter's Anything Goes, starring Sutton Foster and Joel Grey. He also served as the Music Supervisor for the First National Tour of this production. Lowe made his Broadway debut conducting performances of Gypsy, starring Patti LuPone.
Lowe was nominated for a Grammy Award for his work on the Anything Goes cast album released on Ghostlight Records, which he conducted and co-produced. With members of the cast he has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, the CBS Early Show and A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. He toured the United States as Music Director and Conductor of the acclaimed Cameron Mackintosh/National Theatre production of My Fair Lady, and conducted the First National Tour of Adam Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza. He is currently the US Music Supervisor of the North American Tour of The Phantom of the Opera.
As Associate Conductor at Houston Grand Opera for several seasons he served as cover conductor, principal pianist and coach on many productions, including the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata. Lowe assisted on the world premieres of Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree and Tod Machover’s Resurrection, playing keyboards on the recordings of those operas. He can also be heard as keyboardist on HGO’s popular recording of Adamo’s Little Women. He has been on the music staff of New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Virginia Opera and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, and served as Resident Conductor and Chorus Master at the Ash Lawn Opera Festival. He has been the Music Director of the Butler Opera Center at the University of Texas, and he appeared onstage as the Tavern Pianist in Santa Fe Opera’s 2001 production of Wozzeck.
Lowe has appeared in concert with Sir Elton John, conducting his own orchestrations and choral arrangements of Elton’s classic songs, as well as with singer-songwriter Randy Newman and the legendary Booker T. Jones. He accompanied lyricist and writer Betty Comden in a performance featuring his own arrangements of Comden and Green songs, and his arrangements of Gershwin songs have been performed by renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in recitals at Lincoln Center and Wigmore Hall.
Lowe has played in several rock, jazz, blues and country bands. He was the keyboardist, rhythm guitarist, lead singer and songwriter for the rock band Backwash for five years, recording and touring the Eastern United States. He co-produced the band’s compact disc, Goin’ to the Mall, released in 1995 on Transit Records.
As a pianist, Lowe performed as soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and has given recitals, including several world premieres, at such venues as the Aspen Music Festival, the Chautauqua Institute, the University of Texas San Antonio New Music Festival, and the University of Colorado Artsweek Festival in Boulder. He taught Keyboard Literature and piano at Syracuse University, and he served on the piano and musical theater faculty at the Hochstein Music School in Rochester. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan, with additional studies at the Aspen Music School and the Aspen Opera Theater Center.
Haley Stamats is an opera and theater director based in the US. She enjoys directing new works, both conventional and experimental, as well as classical repertoire with numerous opera companies in the US and England.
Currently, she is working on the opera for feature film, The Copper Queen, which is a new work piece commissioned by Arizona Opera. She will serve as the script supervisor and 2nd Unit Film Director.
Her 2020/21 Season started with her residency at Arizona Opera with the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio as their first Resident Assistant Director. As a part of Arizona Opera’s reimagined season, she produced livestreams and recorded concerts with Manley Films.
Her 2019/20 Season began at Virginia Opera as the assistant director for their back-to-back productions of Tosca and Il Postino. She debuted at Resonance Works / Pittsburgh directing their annual Amahl and the Night Visitors as well as remounting Il Postino at Opera Southwest at the end of 2019. She returned to Virginia Opera to assistant direct their Aida and planned to make her directing debut with Scalia/Ginsburg but both productions were postponed due to COVID-19. In the summer, she planned on assistant directing Don Giovanni at The Glimmerglass Festival but the production was also postponed. Instead, she participated in their virtual YAP program.
Her 2018/19 Season began with directing two new work pieces, Between Constallations and Rain, as a part of the Mosiac Opera Showcase at Grimborn Opera Festival in London. She then returned to Virginia Opera to assistant direct their production of Don Giovanni. In 2019, she assistant directed Eugene Onegin at Opera Santa Barbara and ended her season making her directorial debut at Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre with their world premiere of The Grant Wood Opera: Strokes of Genius.
She holds a B.A. in Music and Public Relations from Simpson College.
Soloist in the Grammy Winning album Duruflé: The Complete Choral Works. Praised by The New York Times as "A creamy voiced mezzo-soprano," Mexican born, Cecilia is a versatile singer that has performed around the world singing different music styles, from early music to contemporary music and jazz.
Cecilia has been greatly recognized for creating the role of Renata in the first Mariachi Opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna with the famous Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, commissioned by Houston Grand Opera in 2010. Cecilia has taken this opera to stages such as the Houston Grand Opera, Châtelet Theatre in Paris, France; Chicago Lyric Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, The Fort Worth Opera, Teatro Nacional Sucre, in Quito, Ecuador, New York City Opera , and El Paso Opera. Since then, Cecilia has created other roles for world premieres of chamber operas and new works, such as Jessie Lydell in A Coffin in Egypt, (HGO and the Wallis Annenberg Center in L.A.); Gracie in A Way Home (HGO and Opera Southwest ); Harriet/First Responder in After the Storm (HGO); Alicia in Some Light Emerges (HGO); Alma in Houston Grand Opera’s first web opera series Star-cross’d, and more recently Renata in El Milagro del Recuerdo with HGO.
Operatic roles include Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Loma Williams in Cold Sassy Tree, Isabella in Rapaccini’s Daughter, Sarelda in The Inspector, Tituba in The Crucible, and Maria in Maria de Buenos Aires, among others.
Cecilia is active in early music, being a seasoned artist with Ars Lyrica Houston, Mercury Houston, The Bach Society Houston, and performed at the Fesitval ensemble in Stuttgart, Germany, and the Festival de Música Barroca de San Miguel de Allende, México. More recently, she joined Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, performing early and contemporary music.
Recordings include Soloist in the Grammy Winner album Duruflé: The Complete Choral Works with Signum Records; Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, with Albany Records, NY; a special appearance in Encantamiento, an album with music by Daniel Catán, and coming up, her first solo album Reencuentros, an album of Latin American songs.
Originally from Hermosillo, Mexico, baritone Octavio Moreno received his Bachelor degree in Voice at the Universidad de Sonora and his Master in Music at the University of Houston. Moreno participated in the young artist program at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia with teacher Bill Schuman, followed by the Houston Grand Opera Studio with teacher Stephen King. Moreno won third place in the 2008 Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers and represented Mexico in the 2009 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and the 2010 Paris International competition, as well as third place in the Carlo Morelli Competition in Mexico City. Moreno Made first place in both 2001 Mariana de Gonitch competition in Cuba and 2004 Premio Ciudad Trujillo in Peru.
Moreno participated with the Chicago Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, Bellas Artes Opera in Mexico City, and the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France among others. Moreno has premiered the role Xihuitl in the second Mariachi Opera El Pasado Nunca Se Termina, and the Role of Laurentino in the first mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna. Ha has also sung Marcello in La Boheme, Tonio in Pagliacci, Zurga in Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, Vronsky in Anna Karenina, John Proctor in The Crucible, Germont in La Traviata followed by Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and the title role of Rigoletto in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Sourin in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, Belcore in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, and as a Noble in Wagner’s Lohengrin to name just a few. Moreno made his Symphonic debut performing with the San Antonio Symphony in the ‘Estancia’ Ballet, singing the Baritone Solo.
Future engagements include a concert with the Sunriver Festival.
Houston native, Vanessa Alonzo created the role for three mariachi operas. She has performed with the greatest mariachi musicians in the world including Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, Mariachi Los Camperos, and Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan. She studied mariachi and voice under the direction of the late Alfonso Guerra at the community-based program Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA). In 2019, Alonzo created the role of Lupita for the world premiere of Houston Grand Opera’s El Milagro del Recuerdo/The Miracle of Remembering, which is a prequel to Cruzar la Cara de la Luna/To Cross the Face of the Moon, the first mariachi opera in the world. Cruzar premiered in 2010 with Houston Grand Opera with the world renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan.
She reprised the role of Lupita in Cruzar La Cara De La Luna across the United States, in cities such as El Paso Opera (2019); Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, and Teatro Nacional Sucre in Quito, Ecuador (2018); Fort Worth Opera (2017); Arizona Opera (2014); as well as the 2013 tri-city tour with San Diego Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Additionally at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, France in 2011.
In 2015, Alonzo created the role of Juana in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s El Pasado Nunca Se Termina/The Past Is Never Finished, which she also performed at Houston Grand Opera and San Diego Opera. She reprised the role at Fort Worth Opera in their 2019 season. Alonzo was invited to perform with Grammy Award winning Mariachi Los Camperos for the Houston Grand Opera Ball in 2019.
In 2020, she captivated the audience at the Fort Worth Rodeo representing Fort Worth Opera. Alonzo was an opening act for Graciela Beltran in Arlington, Texas. She was awarded Grand Champion Vocalist Award in the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza national vocal competition. Her travel and performing credits include tours to Ireland, Mexico, Norway, and Vietnam. In 2002, she performed for the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Television credits include El Show de Cristina on Univision as a participant in Festival de Rancheras and an appearance as a finalist on Estrella TV’s Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento in season 4.
Nacido en León, Guanajuato, México. Cantante profesional de música regional mexicana. A la edad de 18 años inicio sus estudios de canto en " centro de estudios profesional artistico y cultural." En la ciudad de León Guanajuato México, dirigido por el gran maestro arreglista Don José "Pepe" Martínez ex director del mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán por 40 años. (Finado). Creador de muchos temas incluyendo" Opera cruzar la cara de la luna" Con el espectacular libretista Leonard Foglia.
Incursionando en el gremio musical del género de música se mariachi , a participado en diversos festivales cantando con el gran " MARIACHI VARGAS DE TECALITLAN"
-Cuenta con 3 producciones discográficas.
- Finalista del programa "Tengo talento,mucho talento" de la xv generación, en la ciudad de los Angeles California.
- Creador e intérprete de la canción de la fundación " "Corazón Mexicano"
Participante con el papel de "Chucho" en opera "Cruzar la cara de la luna" con la cual se presentó en Nueva York , Houston Texas, El paso TX. En diciembre 2019 se presenta en la premier mundial con el papel de Chucho" con la ópera "El milagro del recuerdo" en teatro wortham de Hgo. (Houston Grand ópera). Dirigido por los grandes creadores Javier Martinez y libretista Leonard Foglia.
Baritone Hector Vásquez is a native of California and has appeared throughout the United States as a soloist in concert repertoire and opera. Recent engagements have included Aba in the world premiere of El Milagro del Recuerdo, Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohème, the Forester in Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, and George Benton in Dead Man Walking with Houston Grand Opera; Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas with Colorado Opera and Utah Opera; and his San Francisco Symphony debut in Manuel de Falla’s El Retablo del Maese Pedro under Charles Dutoit. Current engagements include El Milagro del Recuerdo with Arizona Opera.
Vásquez has performed for ten seasons with the Metropolitan Opera since his debut in 1995 as Beaumarchais in The Ghosts of Versailles. He has appeared in subsequent MET seasons in Carmen, Rigoletto, Madama Butterfly, Capriccio, La traviata, and The Merry Widow. Other performances have included Martinu’s A Soldiers’ Mass with Houston Ballet; Blitch in Susannah with Cedar Rapdis Opera Theatre; the world-premiere of Don Davis’s Rio del sangue with the Los Angeles Master Chorale; Scarpia in Tosca with El Paso Opera; scenes from La bohème and Carmen with the Southwest Florida Symphony; the title role in Rigoletto with Festival Opera; Vidal in Luisa Fernanda with Orlando Opera; the title role in Don Giovanni with Bard SummerScape; Escamillo in Carmen with Opera Omaha; Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Cleveland Opera; Blitch in Susannah with Festival Opera; his debut with Cleveland Opera as Marcello in La bohéme; a critically-acclaimed European debut as Germont in La traviata with Festival en Plein Air; performing in Brussels, Liege, and Ghent, Belgium; and Escamillo in Carmen with Opera Santa Barbara.
Vásquez has performed leading roles with many opera companies in the United States: Houston Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, Opera Omaha, Cleveland Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera. He has performed under the batons of many of the world's finest conductors: Pierre Boulez, Richard Bonyage, Valery Gergiev, James Levine, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Simon Rattle, Nello Santi, and Patrick Summers.
In demand as a teacher, clinician, and adjudicator; he has given Master Classes at California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo, California State University Bakersfield, El Paso Opera, the Astoria Music Festival, and Cedar Rapids Opera Theater. He has also served as adjunct Professor of Voice at the University of Southern California, and California State University, Los Angeles. Vásquez was Program Director for the Houston Grand Opera Studio from 2006 to 2008.
Mexican mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa received her training from the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas-Austin, where she performed Beatriz LA HIJA DE RAPPACCINI in the world premiere of the late Daniel Catán’s revised version. Her other roles included La Zia Principessa SUOR ANGELICA, the title-role of Rodriguez's LA CURANDERA, Gertrude HÄNSEL UND GRETEL, and Mrs Herring ALBERT HERRING. She is an alumnus of the prestigious young artist programs including the International Vocal Arts Institute (both in Blacksburg, VA and Tel Aviv, Israel), Des Moines Metro Opera, and the Glimmerglass Festival for which she was chosen as a young artist for two consecutive seasons. Upcoming engagements include Josefina EL MILAGO DEL RECUERDO with Arizona Opera and Alisa LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR with Opera San Antonio.
Recent engagements include the Lieberson Neruda Songs and El Amor Brujo with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Fenena NABUCCO with West Bay Opera and Josefina EL MILAGO DEL RECUERDO with Houston Grand Opera.
Operatic engagements include such theatrically dynamic roles as Azucena IL TROVATORE with St. Petersburg Opera Company, Winter Opera St. Louis and Opera in Williamsburg, Zita in both GIANNI SCHICCHI and BUOSO'S GHOST with Opera Delaware and Baltimore Concert Opera, Marcellina LE NOZZE DI FIGARO with Charlottesville Opera, Ulrica UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, Madame Flora THE MEDIUM and the Witch HÄNSEL UND GRETEL with Opera in the Heights, Fairy Godmother in Alma Deutscher's CINDERELLA with Opera San Jose, Mary THE FLYING DUTCHMAN and Dryade ARIADNE AUF NAXOS with Austin Opera, Berta IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA with San Antonio Opera, Bloody Mary SOUTH PACIFIC with Gulf Coast Symphony, Hedwige WILLIAM TELL with Opera Southwest, Dame Quickly FALSTAFF with Winter Opera St. Louis and Opera in the Heights, Marthe FAUST with Indianapolis Opera, Third Lady DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE with the Glimmerglass Festival and Austin Lyric Opera and Alisa LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR with Winter Opera St. Louis.
Other recent engagements include Handel's Messiah with DCINY, Ortrud LOHENGRIN with Opera Southwest, La Zia Principessa SUOR ANGELICA and Zita GIANNI SCHICCHI with St. Petersburg Opera, and Beethoven's Symphony No.9 with both DCINY and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.
On the concert platform recent engagements include Verdi’s Requiem with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, DCINY, and Gulf Coast Symphony, Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Austin Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No.2 with Florida Orchestra, and Handel’s Messiah with DCINY and Evansville Philharmonic.
Tenor Rafael Moras has received recognition from major competitions and critics alike. He was a 2014 Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a 2014 Operalia quarterfinalist, and was a finalist in Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition in 2013 and 2014. Of his performance as Rodolfo in La bohème at the Aspen Music Festival, Opera News said that “the strongest voice and deepest acting chops belonged to the Rodolfo of Rafael Moras…[who] escaped all of the tempting tenorial clichés to create a fully fleshed-out characterization. His singing remained warm and ingratiating, from low note to high, from first scene to last.” Recent engagements for Moras include his Dallas Opera debut as Remendado in Carmen, his debut as the Duke in Rigoletto under the baton of Michael Christie with the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, and his Houston Grand Opera debut in the world premiere of El Milagro del recuerdo, and his company and role debut with Utah Opera as Alfredy in La traviata. Moras was scheduled to sing Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with Houston Sympony, Messiah with Lubbock Symphony, and make his Opera Philadelphia debut was Malcolm in Verdi’s Macbeth, all cancelled due to COVID-19.
Puerto Rican soprano Zulimar López-Hernández is celebrated for her lustrous timbre and charismatic portrayals of a wide range of roles.
The soprano’s engagements during the COVID-19 impacted 2020/21 Season include performances with Arizona Opera as La Mujer in El milagro del Recuerdo (postponed).
Original engagements for López-Hernández’s COVID-19 shortened 2019/20 Season began with a return to Dayton Opera in the role of Musetta in La bohème (performed). Later in the season, she planned to create the roles of Abilene and Betty in the workshop (completed) and world premiere of Edward Tulane (cancelled) with Minnesota Opera, followed by Conexiones Puerto Rico with the Orchestra 2001 in Philadelphia (postponed).
The soprano’s 2018/19 Season included performances with Des Moines Metro Opera, singing Tina in Flight for their summer festival, as Maria in West Side Story for the 50th anniversary of the Newport Music Festival, a return to Utah Opera, singing Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, with the Evansville Philharmonic in concert as Maria in West Side Story, and with Dayton Opera for their New Year’s Eve gala performance.
Most recently, the soprano premiered Jonathan Dawes’ Nero and the Rise and Fall of Lehman Brothers, singing Poppea at the Italian Academy NYC. She also joined the Grand Junction Symphony for a suite of music from West Side Story, and the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico for Mozart's Requiem. The 2015/16 Season saw López-Hernández return to the role of Musetta in Virginia Opera’s La bohème, as well as Susanna in Utah Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro. In concert, she appeared as the soprano soloist with the Eugene Ballet for Orff’s Carmina Burana.
In 2014/15, the soprano returned to Knoxville Opera as Micaëla in Carmen, made her Nashville Opera debut as Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas, and also returned to Annapolis Opera as Despina in Così fan tutte. She closed the season with Des Moines Metro Opera as Beatriz in Rappaccini’s Daughter.
The 2013/14 Season brought an important debut with the Royal Albert Hall in London as Musetta in La bohème, as well as a concert appearance with Dayton Opera and her first Violetta in La traviata with Union Avenue Opera. She was also engaged by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, covering Despina in Così fan tutte under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel.
The artist returned to Des Moines Metro Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni in summer 2012. Following these performances, she debuted with Opera Memphis as Musetta in La bohème. The spring of 2013 included performances of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro for her debut with Dayton Opera, and a debut with Opera Santa Barbara for Norina in Don Pasquale, which she then also performed with Nickel City Opera in Buffalo, New York. The 2011/12 Season found the soprano in her company and role debut with Knoxville Opera, as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, Musetta in La bohème with Opera Grand Rapids, and covering Despina in Così fan tutte for New York City Opera. In March 2011, López-Hernández made her debut as Susanna in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro with Annapolis Opera. Following this, she performed Nannetta in Falstaff with Mannes Opera, before her debut with Des Moines Metro Opera as Norina in Don Pasquale.
López-Hernández was recently the Third Place winner in the 2010 Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition. A National Semifinalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2006, and a Gulf Coast Regional Finalist in 2008, she was also awarded Radio Choice Audience Favorite in the 2007 Academy of Vocal Arts Giargiari Bel Canto Competition in Philadelphia. In 2009 she was a finalist in the Greenfield Philadelphia Orchestra Competition.
The soprano was a Young American Artist at Glimmerglass Opera during the summer of 2010, where she covered the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. While there, she transported audience members with a recital of Strauss, Debussy, Greer and Obradors. In the 2009.10 Season, López-Hernández made her debut with Syracuse Opera in their production of Mark Adamo's Little Women, where she sang the role of Beth. She also worked with renowned coach Margo Garrett on the Mannes Recital Series and Evening of Songs. In spring 2010, López sang the role of Despina in Così fan tutte, with Mannes Opera under the baton of Maestro Joseph Colaneri.
López-Hernández began her vocal studies at the University of Puerto Rico. As part of the UPR Opera Workshops she performed the roles of Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Gilda in Rigoletto and Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann. López-Hernández took the stage as soprano soloist in the world premiere of The New Millennium Symphony by Raymond Torres-Santos. Together with local opera companies in Puerto Rico, she has performed the roles of Mlle. Silberklang in Mozart's Der Schauspieldirektor, Juaniya in the Puerto Rican opera Los Jibaros Progresistas by M.Gonzales and Rosaura in the zarzuela Los Gavilanes. López-Hernández took the stage with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra in their 2007 Christmas Concert and in 2008 she was the soprano soloist in Handel's Messiah, under the baton of Alan Harler.
In 2006, she began studies at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. While at AVA, López-Hernández performed the roles of Poussette in Manon, Despina in Così fan tutte and Norina in David Gately's Wild Wild West production of Don Pasquale. Also in 2006, she covered the role of Pamina in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte with Opera New Jersey.
López-Hernández holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from the University of Puerto Rico and an Artist Diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts.
Armand is a nine-year old performer making his live stage debut with Arizona Opera. Armand has played the roles of “Jake” in the upcoming film Fathers (2022) directed by Nicholas Tutora, “Boy” in the film “These Birds Don’t Fly South in the Winter” (2019) directed by Sean Ryan, and “Alex” in the television commercial “Alex’s Transformation“ (2019) directed by Oscar Rivera. Armand is also a singer and guitar musician who has performed with School of Rock Ahwatukee. Follow Armand on Instagram @therealarmanddelgado.
Xel-Ha Ojeda is a bilingual Mexican-American actress, model, and dancer. She was born in Michigan and started dancing at the early age of 3 and modeling at the age of 5 for her elementary school’s summer camp marketing campaign. At the age of 7, she discovered acting which quickly grew into her newfound passion.
When she moved to Arizona, she continued to pursue modeling and acting by participating in “Mexico Under the Skin”, a fashion show where designers from Mexico and Arizona have an opportunity to showcase their work with proceeds from the event going to Impact One Breast Cancer Foundation. Her most recent acting work includes her participation in the upcoming film: “Valley of The Night”, directed by Lynne A. Siefert.
She is currently a competitive dancer that has been trained in a variety of different dance styles such as jazz, ballet, pointe, hip-hop, ballroom, tap, and lyrical. In her free time, she is a hardworking student, dedicated to learning and trying out new things that can help improve her acting and dance skills. She loves to draw, paint, exercise, travel, and hang out with her friends and family.
Emir Islas is from Phoenix, Arizona. Emir is 12 years old and he is in the 6th grade. Emir loves music and takes piano lessons at The Amadeus Academy in Glendale, Arizona. He has been an active member of the phoenix Boys Choir for 3 years. He is also one of the radio hosts for the program Taller del FUS which is a children's radio program featured on 107.5 FM and 1190 AM in Phoenix, Arizona.
Eleanor Field (Young Renata) is a seventh grade theater student at Arizona School for the Arts. Her most recent role was Pipe's Little Sister in Stray Cat Theatre's production of Our Dear Dead Drug Lord. Earlier in 2021, she played Nugget in Heddatron, presented by Arizona State University’s School of Music, Dance, and Theater, and she previously played the roles of Little Charlies in the ASU's 2020 production of Indian School. Having been invited in 2018 to join Childsplay Theater Company’s conservatory program, Field is now in her fourth year. She acted in her first lead, Snow Girl, as a preschooler in Prescott, Arizona.
Vincent Pequeño is the initial founder of Trio Chapultepec, and with the help of his colleagues has performed across the globe and in many prestigious theaters. A San Antonio native, he has been a full time musician since his youth with a concentration in classical guitar and Mariachi.
Trio Chapultepec, formed in July 2019, is a multi-instrumental group based in San Antonio, Texas composed of Vincent Pequeño, Israel Alcala and William Carlton Galvez. The members have extensively studied Mariachi together for several years and have been given national awards in both vocal and collegiate level ensemble competitions. Trio Chapultepec was able to make their grand debut in December 2019 in the Houston Grand Opera with the production, El Milagro del Recuerdo which they will continue to perform with the Arizona Opera during the 2021 Season.
William C. Galvez, a mestizo child from the small town of Uhland, Tx, started his musical journey playing guitar in an after school mariachi program at Hemphill Elementary school in 2002. He would begin to play professionally with two of his teachers groups such as Mariachi Suroeste (2007) and Mariachi Relampago (2008). In 2010 he would relocate to San Antonio, Tx to continue studying mariachi music with Juan Ortiz of Campanas De America. In 2013 he competed in the “Vargas Extravaganza National Vocal Competition” where he was awarded Best Mariachi Vocalist in The U.S. by “Lo mejor Mariachi Del mundo” Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlan. This granted him the opportunity to open for the group for their Texas tour in 2014.
In 2014, he also began working for SWISD as an Armonia/Vocal specialist and in 2015 as an violín consultant for the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio. He quickly discovered his passion for teaching during this time, which would inspire him to return to San Antonio College in 2016 to study Voice and Music Education.
While focusing on his classical studies, he would also help establish the community colleges award winning mariachi program “Mariachi Estrellas del Alamo” as one of its founding members. This would prepare him for his next musical venture in 2019 for the Houston Grand Opera. Auditioning with 2 of his colleagues for the newly written “El Milagro Del Recuerdo”.
Trio Chapultepec, formed in July 2019, is a multi-instrumental group based in San Antonio, Texas composed of Vincent Pequeño, Israel Alcala and William Carlton Galvez. The members have extensively studied Mariachi together for several years and have been given national awards in both vocal and collegiate level ensemble competitions. Trio Chapultepec was able to make their grand debut in December 2019 in the Houston Grand Opera with the production, El Milagro del Recuerdo which they will continue to perform with the Arizona Opera during the 2021 season.
Neil creates bold and unique worlds for Film, Television, Commercials, Music Videos and Live Events. Recent projects include Twenty One Pilots Livestream Experience, the Peabody Award winning Dickinson (Apple TV+), The Path (HULU), Little Boxes (Netflix), Dil Dhadakne Do (Excel Entertainment), Some Velvet Morning (Tribeca Films), the Peabody Award winning In Treatment (HBO), Time and the Conways (Broadway), Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1,2 & 3) (Royal Court London), Mughal E Azam (NCPA Mumbai and Delhi), Alcina (Washington National Opera), Norma (LA Opera) and Shadowland for Pilobolus throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Neil was born in Bangor Gwynedd Wales, studied architecture at Yale College, scenography at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan and lives in Manhattan with his wife theater director Maria Mileaf. Neil and Maria are the proud parents of Pia Mileaf-Patel and Emlyn Mileaf-Patel.
Pretty Little Liars: ORIGINAL SIN
Gregory's most recent opera work includes the world premieres of El Milagro del Recuerdo and The Prince of Players both for HGO; An American Solider and La Rondine (Opera Theatre of St. Louis). Gregory is a recipient of the Irene Sharaff Young Master Award. Gregory has been nominated for 2 Tony Awards for David Leveaux’s production of Cyrano de Bergerac and Rock of Ages. His other Broadway production credits include: Arcadia; The Wedding Singer (Drama Desk Nomination), Urinetown, (Lucille Lortel Nomination), and Band in Berlin. He won the Lucille Lortel Award for his production of The Voysey Inheritance (Atlantic Theater Company) and was nominated for another Lucille Lortel Award for The Third Story (Primary Stages). Upcoming Feature Release: The Mental State. Upcoming Short Release: Real Drag. Television: Cyrano de Bergerac with Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner (PBS and Amazon Prime); Will Work for Food, Chocolate Dress Maker (Food Network); NBC New Year's Eve 2019 (NBC); FIFA World Conference Opening Ceremony 2009 dance troop (Multiple Networks). Upcoming: Gregory is the co-artistic director of a reimagined Nutcracker that melds digital art with live performance for November 2022 in NYC, Fairycakes written and directed by Douglas Carter Beane, and Romeo et Juliette for Houston Grand Opera April 2022 directed by Tomer Zvulun.
Ken Billington is an international lighting designer working in theatre, television and architecture. Over 100 Broadway designs include the original production of Sweeney Todd and the current Chicago, which is the longest running American musical in history. Chicago has been seen in over 20 countries all with the original lighting. Other Broadway productions include Waitress, Act One, Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway, Chaplin, The Scottsboro Boys, White Christmas, Title of Show, Lily Tomlin in The Search for Signs..., Footloose plus revivals of My Fair Lady (1981), Hello Dolly! (1995), Sunday in the Park with George ( 2008, 2017 ), Annie ( 1997, 2006 ), Fiddler on the Roof ( 1976, 1981, 1990), West End productions include such shows as Sleepless, Waitress, Chicago, Sweeney Todd, The Drowsy Chaperone, What the Butler Saw, White Christmas, The Scottsboro Boys, Disney's High School Musical and High School Musical 2.
Spectaculars include The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show for 27 years as well as the Las Vegas production show Jubliee! Many nightclub and concert acts for such stars as Shirley MacLaine, Ann-Margret, Liberace, Chita Rivera, The McGuire Sisters. Also over one hundred opera production worldwide including Porgy and Bess for Milan's La Scalla, Madrid's Theatro Real and Opera Bastille.
In Theme parks his work includes the original Fantasmic! at Disneyland California, numerous shows for Seaworld Parks in Florida, California and Texas. Also shows for Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.
His architectural work can be seen in clubs and restaurants in the USA and Asia and include such landmarks as New York's Tavern on the Green and 54 Below.
Ken is the recipient of many awards including the Tony (Broadway), Lumen (Architecture), Ace (Television) and the Untied States Institute of Theatre Technology - Lighting Designer of the year. In 2015 he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.
Joshua is a sound and systems designer, based in New York City. He holds dual citizenship with the United States and Canada, and has worked extensively on Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tours, International Productions and Sound System Installations. Recent design selections include The Louder We Get (Theatre Calgary), Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (Film & Geffen Playhouse, LA Ovation Award, LA Drama Critics Circle Award), The Color Purple (National Tour), Girlfriend (TheatreWorks Hartford, Connecticut Critics Circle Award), The Royal Family of Broadway (Barrington Stage), and Jerry Springer: The Opera (New Group/Signature). Broadway Associate Design credit selections include: Flying Over Sunset, The Ferryman, The Iceman Cometh, Falsettos, American Psycho, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, The Visit, Act One, and House of Blue Leaves. Joshua is also the faculty Instructor of Sound at Western Michigan University.
A native of Tucson, Alita Lopez began her career with Arizona Opera in 2001 working as a makeup artist. After just a few seasons, she became assistant to the former Wig Master. In this position she learned the art of wig building and developed her skill as a stylist. In 2010, she took on the title of Wig Master and has been overseeing the hair and makeup department at Arizona Opera ever since. In addition to managing her crew, she utilizes her creativity and talent as an artist and designer to aide each director in the realization of their vision.