Sounds of Cultura (SOC): Latinos In Opera

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In Sounds of Cultura (SOC) a discussion about efforts to recruit and feature more Latino singers in the opera and what is being done to attract more Latinos to performances.

Jose Cardenas: There's a growing effort to recruit Latino singers for the opera as well as to attract Hispanics to performances in a moment we'll talk to someone with the Phoenix opera and members of Los Tres Tenores, the three tenors. But first let's listen to the voices of the group in tonight's Sounds of Cultura SOC. ¶¶ ¶¶ ¶¶ [APPLAUSE]

Jose Cardenas: With me now is Gail Dubuinbaum, founder and creative services director with the Phoenix Opera. And the three tenors, Los Tres Tenores, Francisco Renteria, Guillermo Ontiveros, and Juan Huerta. Gentlemen and Gail, thank you for joining us on "Horizonte." Gail, tell us quickly, what this is all about, this particular effort.

Gail Dubinbaum: Phoenix opera is an international opera company that's based in Phoenix. We bring artists from all over the world, many of whom come from Latino community, and they have sung lead roles with us at our operas that we perform at the Orpheum Theater. I have a passion for discovering and nurturing talent, and in Phoenix the Latino community is rich with talent. And so I was fortunate enough to have these three talented young men come into my studio and develop their talent, give them an opportunity to shine. And somehow they found each other, became very good friends, and we discovered a little bit of a monster in that individually they are remarkable artist, but together they're something unique and spectacular. And they have been thrilling audiences all over the city all over the valley, and reaching out to all the communities, particularly the Latino community and to many of the children to bring them into the theater and to share this love of music and opera that enriches our lives.

Jose Cardenas: How did you get involved in this? You're an internationally renowned singer in your own right. What brought you to have this particular focus?

Gail Dubinbaum: Phoenix has been home for 40 years, and I feel I was given many opportunities by many people, a lot of nurturing and development, and I feel a responsibility to share that. I also feel that it is foolish not to recognize the marvelous talent one has in one's own home. To Give those people an opportunity to shine and develop their careers and to give back to the community is extremely important to me and to all of us as well. They all are instrumental in working with children; they all are instrumental in sharing their talents to bring the communities together and to reach out to their Latino community and to all people who find the universality in music.

Jose Cardenas: Guillermo you were performing opera, in Hermosillo before you came here.

Guillermo Ontiveros: I did my bachelor degree in Sonora, and then I hear about Gail, because there's a lot of people talking about her there. Then I decide to take a lesson and then I decide to move here to Arizona.

Jose Cardenas: And you had already met Francisco. The two of you had gotten together, but you actually were educated at the University of Arizona.

Francisco Renteria: Yes, I got my bachelor degree in master's degree in piano performance. That was my first passion. I always like singing, but I started my musical career as a pianist, and I met Guillermo because I was piano accompanist in Hermosillo while I was studying at the University of Arizona, went back and forth. I met him there. And by working with singers, I developed a passion for opera, and I couldn't help it, so I had to sing myself.

Jose Cardenas: Somehow the two of you hooked up with Juan. You're a native Phoenix.

Juan Huerta: I am a native of Phoenix.

Jose Cardenas: How did you get together?

Juan Huerta: At the studio, coming and going, we had a gathering at the studio, I'm not sure what the occasion was, but we started talking, we got along, and someone started humming, and before you know we're singing together. And we've never stopped. We've been doing it for the last two years.

Jose Cardenas: You do it in a number of different venue, but also a particular appeal to young people. And young Latinos.

Juan Huerta: Actually, I want to say all inclusive to all of them, not particularly just Latino, but all children. There are occasions I visit other theaters, my most recent was in Peoria with the creative stage theater group. And I give a little pep talk A. performance to talk to their young artists. A lot of talented kids there. And I see a bright future in them. So I'm glad that -- I like to be involved.

Jose Cardenas: I understand you also speak Italian. We won't have time for that. Gail, we're almost out of time and I apologize for that. But what impact is this having on the community, because the image of opera is that it's appealing to a largely Anglo largely aging population. What is this --

Gail Dubinbaum: that's not been our experience. Our audiences are comprised of peoples of all ages from all communities, they all come and are usually surprised sometimes, overwhelmed all the time, and I encourage people check out our website, Phoenix Opera, see the upcoming events, learn about all the events that are coming up and see where we are in your community, come get a taste for it. It's always entertainment, but it's always the highest artistic.

Jose Cardenas: Very good. On that note we'll have to end. Thank you so much for joining us on "Horizonte." That is it for us tonight. For all of us at "Horizonte," I'm Jose Cardenas. Have a good evening.

Gail Dubinbaum: Phoenix Opera; Guillermo Ontiveros, Francisco Renteria, Juan Huerta: Los Tres Tenors;

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