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Meet our featured artists for La Llorona!

March 01, 2019

Opera Cultura is delighted to introduce the incredible artists that will be featured in La Llorona/The Weeping Woman this June 28-30 in San José! We've included each of their bios below, and will be sharing more fun information about all of our artists in the coming weeks. We can't wait for you to see these talented artists perform in Armienta's captivating musical drama La Llorona. Don't wait get your tickets—these performances will sell out!

Mezzo-Soprano Jessica Blau as Maria (La Llorona)

Hailing from Houston, Texas, mezzo-soprano Jessica Blau has quickly established herself as an exciting artist to watch with a strong affinity for Spanish and Latin-American repertoire. Most recently, she has performed as Rosina in a bilingual touring production of The Barber of Seville with Portland Opera To Go, as a concert soloist with Alamo City Opera, and with Pocket Opera as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro and Orestes in La belle Hélène. Other favorite roles she has performed include the title role in Carmen with Spotlight on Opera, Nicklausse in Les contes d’Hoffmann and Dorabella in Così fan tutte with the Moores Opera Center, and Nancy in Albert Herring with Chicago Summer Opera. Jessica is delighted to make her Opera Cultura debut as Maria in La Llorona. www.jessicablaumezzo.com


Tenor Andrew Metzger as Antonio

Tenor Andrew Metzger fosters a varied repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to new works written specifically for his talents. Recent world premieres include Mr. Bingley in Kirke Mechem's Pride and Prejudice with the Redwood Symphony, and Happiness in Aleksandra Vrebalov's Abraham in Flames, composed in collaboration with Niloufar Talebi (librettist) and Roy Rallo (dramaturg). A frequent collaborator with Opera Cultura, Mr. Metzger most recently portrayed Gabriel in the West Coast premiere of Bless Me, Ultima. Other recent engagements include Beppe in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Frederic in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance.

Soprano Alba Franco-Cancél as Sara

Puerto Rican soprano Alba Franco-Cancél continues to thrill audiences with her “pure” and “bell-like” sound delivered with her “magnetic stage presence”. Most recent performances include her debut with Opera San Luis Obispo as Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute; Despina in Così fan tutte with Opera Neo, Valencienne in The Merry Widow with Pacific Opera Project; and Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro with Livermore Valley Opera. In February 2018, Alba returned to Los Angeles to perform the leading role in an LA original production of the mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna. In 2019, Alba will have her European debut as well as her debut with San Luis Chamber Orchestra, and she will return to St. George Opera as Laurette in Bizet’s Dr. Miracle. She is currently Opera San Luis Obispo’s 2018-2019 Resident Artist. www.albafrancocancel.com

Bass Kirk Eichelberger as General Rafael

Bass Kirk Eichelberger most recently sang for Livermore Valley Opera in the role of Haly in L’italiana in Algieri. Recent engagements include Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Edmonton Opera and Manitoba Opera, and Ferrando in Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s production of Il Trovatore. He has also performed The Emperor in Tan Dun’s Tea and Don Fernando in Fidelio (both with Opera Company of Philadelphia), Mephistopheles in Faust with Opera Grand Rapids, Sparafucile in Rigoletto with Vancouver Opera, Ferrando in Il trovatore with Opera Manitoba, and The Four Villains in The Tales of Hoffman with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. deanartists.com/artist/kirk-eichelberger

Soprano Elizabeth Patterson as Carmela

Soprano Elizabeth Patterson is thrilled to reprise the role of Carmela for a third production of La Llorona! Elizabeth sings with opera companies throughout the Bay, including Phènix Opera, Just Opera, and Valhalla Productions, in addition to Opera Cultura. A teacher as well as a singer, Elizabeth maintains a private voice studio of 20+ students and leads a choir class at the Monastery of Perpetual Adoration. She holds a Master of Music from Duquesne University and a Bachelor of Music from Gettysburg College. www.elizabethpattersonsoprano.com

Rodrigo Garcia as the Shaman

Rodrigo García is an accomplished actor, educator, translator, and director. He graduated from the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico City in modern dance and drama. He has trained at Double Edge Theatre, De'll arte International, Le Théâtre du Soleil, and with Julián Boal and Michael Rohd. His previous stage credits include the world premiere of Macario, Before It Hits Home, Much Ado About Noting, Yerma, Bury the Dead, The Woman Who Fell From The Sky, School of the Americas, Visitor's Guide to Arivaca, and La Victima. His directing credits include American Night -The Ballad of Juan José, Breaking Through, La Muerte Baila, Macario 2014-2016, Yerma, Entre Villancicos y Onomastíkos, Carlota, No es Otro Cuento de Navidad, Sejirbela, Una Tierra Llamada Mañana, Érase Una Vez Un Camino Amarillo, Un Sueño en Cualquier Lugar, Sucedió en la Revolución and Divas a Belén. He is the Artistic Director at Teatro Visión, and Co-Founder and Director of Teatro Alebrijes. He is a Theater Communications Group (TCG) fellow, a graduate of 1st Act Silicon Valley’s Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute (MALI) Class 2009, and a member of the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC).

Soprano Kimberley Anjal as Francisca (Spirit Woman)

Soprano Kimberley Anjal is thrilled to have the opportunity to return to Opera Cultura this season as Francisca, after having made her debut with the company last year as Vima in Bless Me, Ultima. Recent credits include Princess Poppy in The Enchantress & Lady Psyche in Princess Ida with Lyric Theater of San Jose, and Sister Rebecca in Psyched Out & Anita in Murder on the Rebound with Blumenfollies Mystery Theater. In addition to her love of opera, she is also a licensed real estate agent with DeLeon Realty, one of the top brokerages in the nation.

Soprano Kathryn Benedicto as Ana (Spirit Woman)

Soprano Kathryn Benedicto has been lauded by Bay Area reviewers as “a fine actor” with a “pure and powerful voice” for her performance of the title role in Princess Ida with Lyric Theatre of San José. She has sung leading roles with Pocket Opera, Bay Area Opera Collaborative, Just Opera, Free Range Opera Theater, and Stanford Savoyards. Kathryn has also been featured as a soloist with Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley and South Bay Philharmonic.

Mezzo-Soprano Leandra Ramm as Serafina (Spirit Woman)

Leandra Ramm is a remarkably versatile mezzo-soprano and actress with an “extraordinary voice” (Anderson Cooper), whose “beautiful and quite moving” (Nordstjernan Newspaper) performances have graced prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The United Nations, and Symphony Space. Leandra debuted in The Endless Road by Kurt Weill (soloist) with The American Symphony Orchestra performed in New York City at Avery Fisher Hall. Ms. Ramm recently performed the title role for San Francisco Opera Guild’s tour of La Cenerentola, and was an alto soloist with the San Francisco Symphony in Chichester Psalms conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and Bach’s Magnificat conducted by Ragnar Bohlin. Recent engagements include Rooster/Blue Jay in The Cunning Little Vixen with West Edge Opera, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera San Jose, and Judy Garland in The Boy from Oz with Theatre Rhinoceros. www.LeandraRamm.com