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KUT is partnering with Austin Vida to highlight arts and culture events happening in Austin’s Latino community. Support comes from the Blanton Museum of Art and its new galleries dedicated to Latino art.

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna with Austin Opera’s Claudia Chapa

Performers act as a concerned family surrounding a dying loved one
Erich Schlegel
Austin Opera
Cruzar la Cara de la Luna blends mariachi into an opera about Mexican men who leave family behind to work in the U.S.

Mariachi music and opera might seem like worlds apart from one another at first, but this week, they will share the Long Center stage in Austin Opera’s production of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna. Claudia Chapa, the Hispanic and Latinx curator for Austin Opera, says they are a lot more similar than one might think.

“It's just a flavor difference,” Chapa said. “When you hear the power of all those instruments and voices coming at you, what do you feel? It's excitement. It's visceral. It's the same thing with opera.”

A Mariachi Opera

The story centers around the family of Laurentino, a man who left his family behind in Michoacán to work in the United States as part of the Bracero program. The program was established in the 1940s to give Mexican citizens opportunities to work temporarily in the U.S. Despite sending money home and visiting when he can, Laurentino's absence has consequences. It is a familiar experience for Chapa.

“When I was younger, I was with my grandma most of the time while my parents worked in factories,” she said.

Chapa is an experienced opera performer and mezzo-soprano, and she will be playing the role of Lupita. Lupita is one of the women whose husbands are working in the U.S. through the Bracero program. She tries to remain positive despite struggling with her husband's absence.

You can see Cruzar la Cara de la Luna on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m.

Austin Opera’s commitment to the comunidad

The staging of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna is part of a greater effort from the organization to create a space for Latinx stories and creators that was not present in opera for much of its history. The organization was awarded a $3.3 million grant from the Butler family to support programming in Spanish. The fund led to the creation of Chapa’s position at the organization.

“It's about time that we started doing things like this for Austin,” Chapa said. “We should be reflecting our community on stage. I am proud and honored to be part of that.”

Mas Cultura

Tejano legend Ruben Ramos, also known as “El Gato Negro (the black cat),” will join Carrie Rodriguez on the Stateside theater stage in Rodriguez’s latest edition of her Laboratorio concert series Feb. 25. They will be joined by country artist Rick Treviño.

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Juan Garcia is a producer at KUT. Got a tip? You can email him at
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