El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering)
Leonard Foglia is a theater and opera director as well as librettist. He directed the world premieres of Everest, Moby Dick (filmed for PBS), It’s a Wonderful Life, Cold Mountain, The End of the Affair, Three Decembers, Stonewall, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna/To Cross the Face of the Moon (also librettist), A Coffin in Egypt (also librettist), El Pasado Nunca Se Termina/The Past Is Never Finished (also librettist), El Milagro del Recuerdo / The Miracle of Remembering (also librettist). His production of Dead Man Walking, produced by New York City Opera, and has been seen across the US and Europe. Broadway: Master Class, Wait Until Dark, Thurgood (filmed for HBO), The People in the Picture, On Golden Pond, The Gin Game. Off-Broadway: One Touch of Venus, The Stendhal Syndrome, If Memory Serves, About Alice, Let Me Down Easy (filmed for PBS), Notes From The Field (filmed for HBO). His ‘mariachi operas’ have been produced all over the U.S. and on three continents.
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) and Utah Opera (The Little Prince). 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.
Lowe has had a long relationship with Houston Grand Opera, where he has led Carmen, The Marriage ofFigaro, 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 makes her directorial debut with Arizona Opera for their scenes program this April. She will serve as the resident stage director with the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio and assisting on all their 2020/21 Main Stage productions. This season, she was with Virginia Opera, assisting on their productions of Tosca, Il Postino, and Aida. Her season also included remounting Il Postino at Opera Southwest in Albuquerque.
Recently, she made her mainstage debut directing the world premiere of The Grant Wood Operas with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre exploring the life of the iconic American artist, Grant Wood, who painted the American Gothic. She also made her debut in London directing the world premiere of two new work pieces, Between Constellations and Rain, with The Grimeborn Opera Festival. Other recent directing credits include the Cosi fan tutte for young audiences at Mill City Summer Opera and the children’s opera, The Enchanted Forest, with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre.
Her other assistant directing credits include Arabella with Pittsburgh Festival Opera; Eugene Onegin with Opera Santa Barbara; La Fanciulla del West and Don Giovanni with Virginia Opera; and The Man of La Mancha, South Pacific, Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana and Turandot with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre.
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 jazz, to classical and contemporary music.
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, and 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); and Alma in Houston Grand Opera’s first web opera series Star-cross’d. 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 also active in the world of early music, having performed constantly with Ars Lyrica Houston, Mercury Houston, The Bach Society Houston, the Fesitvalensemble in Stuttgart, Germany, and the Festival de Música Barroca de San Miguel de Allende, México.
Recordings include Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, with Albany Records, NY; Soloist in Duruflé: The Complete Choral Works with Signum Records, and a special appearance in Encantamiento, an album with music of Daniel Catán.
Future performances include Renata in Houston Grand Opera’s World Premiere El Milagro del Recuerdo, Featured Soloist in Goya: Reflexión y Revolución with Ars Lyrica Houston, Elizabeth Cree in Elizabeth Cree with the University of Houston, and soloist in the song cycle Los Sueños no tienen Fronteras, a world premiere with Anima Mundi Productions.
Mexican bass, Daniel Noyola recently finished is residency at the Houston Grand Opera Studio where he made his house debut as Colline in La Bohème and Masetto in Kasper Holten’s iconic production of Don Giovanni, as well as the world premiere of El Milagro del Recuerdo.
He graduated from the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, there he appeared as the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni; Ferrando in Verdi’s Il Trovatore; Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Così fan tutte; Raimondo in Donizetti’s Lucia de Lammermoor; among others.
Previous engagements have included Mustafa in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri with Tri-cities Opera, Dulcamara in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love with Sociedad Artística Sinaloense in Mexico, Figaro in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with Oberlin in Italy, Uberto from La Serva Padrona and Luka from The Bear by William Walton with the Merola Opera Program at the San Francisco Opera, in Wolf Trap Opera he performed the role of Scapin and Der Lautsprecher in a double bill called “The world turned upside down” that included Gluck’s L’ile de Merlin and Ullman’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis.
He has been awarded the first place with Career Bridges competition in N.Y.C. and Artist Series Concert of Sarasota Competition for Voice; Second place in the New England regional Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2018; Second place in the Mario Lanza competition in Philadelphia; Third place in the AIMS Meistersinger competition in Graz, Austria; among others.
Noyola completed his studies at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Mexico City.
Houston Native, Vanessa Alonzo, initiated her ranchera training with the late Alfonso Guerra at Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA). In 2010, Houston Grand Opera commissioned the first mariachi opera in the world, Cruzar La Cara de La Luna/To Cross the Face of the Moon, by Leonard Foglia and Jose “Pepe” Martinez, in which Alonzo performed the role of Lupita. Alonzo reprised the role of Lupita in Cruzar La Cara de La Luna with El Paso Opera in 2019, New York City Opera in 2018, Houston Grand Opera 2018, Fort Worth Opera in 2017, Arizona Opera in October 2014 as well as the 2013 tri-city tour with San Diego Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Also in 2011 as the season opener in Paris, France at the Théâtre du Châtelet.
In 2015, Alonzo created the role of Juana in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of El Pasado Nunca Se Termina/The Past is Never Finished by Leonard Foglia and Jose “Pepe” Martinez as well. She also toured this opera in San Diego, Houston, and Chicago. She reprised the role in Fort Worth Opera’s 2019 Season.
Vanessa is continuing her role as Lupita in the prequel to Cruzar La Cara de La Luna in El Milagro Del Recuerdo by Leonard Foglia and Javier Martinez.
Vanessa is lead female vocalist in Houston-based Latin-fusion group Los Guerreros de La Musica. Together they have won the Best Latin Band in the East Texas Music Awards. Vanessa was awarded the International Leadership Award by the Texas Women’s Empowerment Foundation in 2014 for her outstanding career. In 1999, she won the Best in the US Vocalist in the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza vocal competition. A competition judged by the world renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan. Her notable 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 a finalist on Estrella TV’s Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento in 2011.
Mexican mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa has been seen in such theatrically dynamic roles as Azucena Il Trovatore with Winter Opera St. Louis, St. Petersburg Opera Company and Opera in Williamsburg and Madame Flora The Medium and the Witch Hansel and Gretel with Opera in the Heights.
Engagements include Ortrud Lohengrin with Opera Southwest, Ulrica Un Ballo in Maschera with Opera in the Heights, Fairy Godmother Cinderella with Opera San Jose, Mary The Flying Dutchman with Austin Opera, Verdi’s Requiem with the Alabama Symphony, Mahler 2nd Symphony and Bloody Mary South Pacific with the Gulf Coast Symphony, Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Austin Symphony, Eduige William Tell with Opera Southwest and Baltimore Concert Opera, Dryade Ariadne auf Naxos with Austin Opera, Zita Gianni Schicchi with Opera Delaware, Berta The Barber of Seville for Opera San Antonio, Mistress Quickly Falstaff, Marthe Faust, and the Third Lady The Magic Flute. Chapa has been heard in the Verdi Requiem, Manuel de Falla’s El Amor Brujo, and Handel's Messiah with DCINY.
Chapa received her training from the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas-Austin. 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.
A recent alumnus of Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Coburn Stein Young Artist Program, 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.” In the current season, Moras made his debut with The Dallas Opera as Remendado in Carmen, joined Plácido Domingo for a gala performance in California, continues his long relationship with jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, with whom he has performed on four continents, and makes his debut as the Duke in Rigoletto under the baton of Michael Christie with the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra. In the coming 2019?20 Season, Moras makes his role and company debut as Alfredo in La traviata with Utah Opera, and makes his company debut with Houston Grand Opera in the world premiere of El Milagro del Recuerdo. Additionally, he will be featured in recital in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas under the auspices of the Tuesday Musical Club. Recently, Moras finished his second summer as a member of The Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, where he was heard as Nemorino from The Elixir of Love in the Apprentice Scene Showcase. In both summers, Moras was awarded the Richard Tucker Award for his work in the program.
Career highlights include singing alongside Plácido Domingo as a featured soloist in 2014’s When East Meets West with Plácido Domingo, the tenor solo in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle under Maestro Domingo, and Pong in the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra’s Turandot under Maestro Gustavo Dudamel. He obtained his Bachelor of Music Degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Masters in Voice at Rice University. He has performed the roles of Fenton, Tom Buchanan, and Rinuccio in the Aspen Music Festival’s Falstaff, The Great Gatsby, and Gianni Schicchi, as well as Gonzalve and Pedrillo in Houston Symphony productions of L’heure espagnole and Die Entführung aus dem Serail. This past season, Moras sang Flavio in LA Opera’s production of Norma, covered Greenhorn in LAO’s Moby-Dick, and performed the tenor solo in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl under the leadership of Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.
Puerto Rican soprano Zulimar López-Hernández is celebrated for her lustrous timbre and charismatic portrayals of a wide range of roles.
López-Hernández began the 2019?20 Season with a return to Dayton Opera in the role of Musetta in La bohème. Later in the season, she created the roles of Abilene and Betty in the workshop and the world premiere of Edward Tulane with Minnesota Opera. Next season includes performances with Arizona Opera as La Mujer in El milagro del Recuerdo.
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 The Magic Flute, 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 The Marriage of 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 The Marriage of 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 Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, 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 The Marriage of 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 The Marraige of 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 The Magic Flute 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.