A window into the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
Join Artes Vocales Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Church of the Good Shepherd (400 W. Duarte Road in Arcadia) for an enchanted evening of music and dance, inspired by the traditions and customs of Latin American countries that celebrate the lives of their ancestors. The event will feature dancers, percussionists, and a guitar choir to complement the exciting concert featuring traditional and contemporary songs, along with a special performance of Joseph Julian Gonzalez’ “Misa Azteca,” with renowned tenor Eduardo Villa. Authentic Mexican food will be offered after the performance.
Tickets are $25 through Eventbrite.
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a popular holiday in Latin American cultures that celebrates the lives of loved ones who have departed. In Mexico it is believed that the souls of family members who have passed away return once a year to the realm of the living. The celebration welcomes them home.
Misa Azteca is a staged, concert piece for orchestra, choir, soloists and pre-Columbian percussion ensemble. It hybridizes two cultures and religions into an eight-movement, oratorio-style, musical celebration for orchestra, choir and soloists. It is based on the ‘ordinary’ and ‘proper’ of the Roman Catholic High Mass and verses from the Cantares Mexicanos, a collection of pre- and post-conquest verses of the Mexica (the Aztecs). Misa Azteca is sung in Latin, Spanish and Nahuatle. Portions of the work have been performed all over the world.
The program will also feature traditional and contemporary songs, including “La Sandunga,” a traditional Mexican waltz inspired by the Spanish Jota style of music, which also contains Native American and mestizo elements.
“Te Quiero Más Que a Mis Ojos,” (I love you more than my eyes) is a reference to a famous story of an indigenous prince (the last of his people) who falls in love with a beautiful woman who he mistakes for the Virgin Mary at first glance. This song, by Raúl Lavista, is a simple melody sung by a simple man, with a love so great and pure that not even death can smother it.
“Olvido,” with music by Sid Rabinovich, from his “Canciones Por Las Americas,” is a three movement work reflecting Latin American culture, and poetry by Nobel Prize-winning Mexican poet Octavio Paz.
Artes Vocales is an auditioned community chorus whose mission is to bring great choral music to Los Angeles area communities, to build a community of singers, provide rigorous vocal training, and provide career-enhancing opportunities to gifted musicians and composers. It is committed to enriching the musical breadth of members and audiences alike by sharing a rich and varied repertoire that reflects the universality of music and its singular ability to bring people together.
The concert will be conducted by Dr. Stephen Kronauer, who is a unique presence in the field of choral direction in three key respects: his professional singing background, his extensive experience as a vocal teacher and coach, and his commitment to ongoing vocal training and vocal health for all Artes Vocales singers.
In addition to serving as the artistic director of Artes Vocales, Dr. Kronauer conducts and coaches the Young Men’s Ensemble of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, an ensemble specifically committed to helping young men continue to sing healthily, learning details of classical music throughout the voice change. He also teaches voice at California State University, Long Beach and was the head of the voice and opera department at the University of California, Santa Barbara until 2008. Dr. Kronauer has an established studio in Los Angeles for singers of all styles and has several successful students singing internationally.
Dr. Kronauer sang opera for ten years at the Munich State Opera, and has sung concerts internationally. He has a doctorate in choral and operatic conducting from UCLA, a master’s degree in vocal performance and a master’s degree in conducting, both from the University of Michigan.
The program will feature internationally renowned operatic tenor Eduardo Villa, who has performed in leading opera houses throughout Europe and North America. He is a regular guest of the Metropolitan Opera and has appeared on their stage in the title roles of Don Carlo in “Ernani,” Radames in “Aida,” and Don Jose in “Carmen.” In Europe, he was a regular guest of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
Past Artes Vocales concerts have featured:
- Mozart Requiem.
- Bach St Matthew Passion.
- Durufle Requiem.
- Vivaldi Magnificat.
- Arvo Part Berliner Messe
- Ernest Bloch Avodath Hakodesh.
- And more by Shawn Kirtchner, John Corigliano, Benjamin Britten, Palestrina, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Ralph Vaughn Williams, and Nicholas Nicassio.
Artes Vocales rehearsals are held at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, 100 N. Hill Ave., Pasadena, on Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9:45 p.m. For more information or to schedule an audition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.