In 2010, Houston Grand Opera commissioned Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the world’s first opera composed for mariachi. A unique and adventurous piece of musical theater, Cruzar not only radicalized modern opera composition, but dramatized a story of multigenerational immigration. Houston Grand Opera dramaturg, Mena Mark Hanna, and Cruzar’s music director, David Hanlon, will lead us on an in-depth discussion on new opera composition, the relationship of mariachi and opera, and the creation of Cruzar.
March 7: Opera Composition Today
Music has changed radically since World War II. Today, operas use video and electronic media, non-Western instruments, and are often written for a more intimate chamber setting. Houston Grand Opera dramaturg, Mena Mark Hanna, will lead us on an in-depth discussion on new opera composition and the works that paved the way for Cruzar.
March 14: Mariachi and Opera
Mariachi and opera surprisingly share common ancestry. Dr. Hanna will talk about how each of these art forms are reflective of larger society and how the relationship between art and society is expounded upon in Cruzar.
March 19: The Creation of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna
David Hanlon was an integral member of the team that brought Cruzar to stage. A composer and rising conductor, Maestro Hanlon will give a behind-the-scenes peek at the creation of a new opera.
Mena Mark Hanna, is dramaturg at Houston Grand Opera and Lecturer at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University. At Houston Grand Opera, he oversees the translation and implementation of opera surtitles, is responsible for main stage production research, assists in new opera commissions, is Content Producer for national radio broadcasts, and lectures and writes extensively on behalf of the company. Recent publications include articles in The Huffington Post, The Oxonian Review, and Coptica Theologia. As a composer, Hanna has had premieres at the Abbaye de Royaumont, Asnières-sur-Oise, France; the 92nd Street Y, New York; and the Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Darmstadt, Germany. He is the recipient of the Marshall Scholarship, the BMI Young Composer Award, and the John Lowell Osgood Dissertation Prize. Hanna holds a DPhil (PhD) from Oxford University.
David Hanlon spent the last two seasons as an Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera Center, where he conducted the world premiere of Jack Perla’s Love/Hate and assisted on productions of Siegfried, Don Giovanni, Carmen for Families, the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’s Heart of a Soldier, and Nixon in China, for which he also played in the orchestra. A champion of contemporary music, Hanlon has taken part in many notable premieres such as the world premiere and recording of Ted Hearne’s award-winning Katrina Ballads and the American premiere of Michael Gordon’s Decasia. Hanlon will conduct HGO’s new work by Jeeyoung Kim as well as his own opera for Opera to go! at HGO during the 2012–13 season.
The full course is $100; single session $40.
As there is no dress rehearsal for this opera, Houston Grand Opera is offering Houston Seminar patrons who are enrolled in this course a discount of 10% on tickets to scheduled performances of Cruzar. Contact The Houston Seminar to arrange purchase.