Opera Cultura Students at Work

We have been extremely fortunate this year.

West Side Story - An Opera or a Musical?

West Side Story is one of my favorite works because in some ways it functions very much like an opera. Most would argue that it is not an opera, primarily because there is spoken dialogue. However, there are operas that were written with dialogue, such as the opera Carmen.

Musical Theater Program at MHP

I'm quite excited that the summer program will be moving to the new School of Music and Art at the The Mexican Heritage Plaza (MHP). For those of you that have never seen it, it is one of the crown cultural jewels of San Jose. What the plaza offers is space that was specifically designed for the performing and visual arts.

Oakland Youth Orchestra and the MUSE Program


I was extremely pleased with Sunday's premiere of Postcards From Mexico by the Oakland Youth Orchestra (OYO), a new orchestral work. Under the baton of Maestro Bryan Nies, the performance was masterful. The musicianship and artistry of the OYO students was clearly evident by the performance of this work and others on the program.

Opera in the Schools - A Success Story

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with some wonderful middle students at the Luther Burbank School District in San Jose California. With the support of Ms. Becki Cohn-Vargas, the superintendent of the school, the residency was made possible and was a project of Opera Cultura. The classroom teachers, a devoted group of educators, were extremely supportive of the project and helped in a variety of ways. I served as composer and Carla Pantoja (actor, teaching artist ) served as director. The students were asked to do a multitude of things, including writing poems, composing music, acting, drawing and much more.