Austin Opera Selects Four Latino Creatives for Opera ATX Residences
AUSTIN OPERA announces the winning teams for the inaugural
Opera ATX Residencies for Latinx Creatives
Carlos Castro & Alejandra Martinez
Jorge Sosa & John de los Santos
Today Austin Opera announces the creative teams that will participate in the inaugural Opera ATX Residencies for Latinx Creatives. Composer Carlos Castro and librettist Alejandra Martinez will advance their new opera, El rebozo, during the 2023-2024 Season; and composer Jorge Sosa and librettist John de los Santos will workshop a new one-act opera, Ofrenda, during the 2024-2025 Season. Both works are being developed in English and Spanish.
Winner of two GRAMMY awards, Costa Rican composer Carlos Castro is partnering with soprano and librettist Alejandra Martinez on a one-act opera in which the events of the 1930’s Mexican Repatriation are experienced by an immigrant family living in Chicago. Reflecting the linguistic experiences of immigrant families, El rebozo will be presented in a mix of Spanish and English, with the parents singing primarily in Spanish and the children communicating in English, especially when they wish to hide information from their parents. “Accurately reflecting the experience of immigrant families is especially important to me,” said Martinez, “I'm third generation, my parents are second generation, while some of their siblings are first generation along with my grandparents. That means we all see things a bit differently. While languages, attitudes, and ambitions may differ, the bond between us is unbreakable--this is a kind of complicated reality that many Latinx families in the United States are living today. Going further, although Carlos and I have different heritages, and different experiences, we are each able to draw from the personal and weave it into the work to make something that feels familiar and authentic.” Castro and Martinez will be in residence with Austin Opera in March 2024, working with the company’s artistic team including Sarah and Ernest Butler Music Director Timothy Myers, and artists from the company’s Resident Stars program in workshops of the one-act opera.
Claudia Chapa, Austin Opera’s Curator for Hispanic and Latinx Programming, served as a juror in the selection of the winners. “The inclusion of Latinx creatives and storytellers is vital in creating an operatic cannon that is more representative. El rebozo and OFRENDA both offer unique perspectives that feature the strength and complexity of family, themes that resonate deeply with me as an immigrant myself. This residency is a testament to the growing power and visibility of Latinx artists and is an important milestone for opera.”
Composer Jorge Sosa was born in Mexico and has been commissioned by numerous entities in the U.S., including White Snake Projects, the University of North Iowa, and the Boston Children’s Chorus. Mexican-American librettist John de los Santos (The Copper Queen) has served as a librettist, director, and choreographer for world premieres at companies including Washington National Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Arizona Opera. Their first opera together, OFRENDA: A “Dia de Muertos” Story, is a multi-generational story about healing, family, kindness, and sacrifice sung in both Spanish and English. “We believe it is important to tell a range of Latinx stories, including stores that highlight our unique traditions and the strength of our family structures,” said Santos. “There are roughly 62 million people who identify as Latinx in the United States, and we are the fastest growing demographic in this country. Yet, we are massively underrepresented in the arts. This residency is an invaluable opportunity to advance the creation of our opera so that more audiences can experience works about people that look and sound like us” added Sosa. OFRENDA will be workshopped throughout the Austin community in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate in Austin during Austin Opera’s 2024-2025 Season.