The opera will perform a free outdoor concert at 2 p.m. Sunday at La Plaza de la Mexicanidad in Ju√°rez, better known as the “X” sculpture by the Mexican artist Sebastian.
The event is co-sponsored by the Mexican consulate in El Paso, the U.S. consulate in Ju√°rez,the Ju√°rez city government, Universidad Aut√≥noma de Ciudad Ju√°rez, Hospital √Āngeles and Fundaci√≥n Comunitaria.
The outdoor performance will feature guest artists from The Metropolitan Opera, the opera company of Bellas Artes – M√©xico, El Paso Opera performers and the Universidad Aut√≥noma de Ciudad Ju√°rez chorus.
In an age when larger cities struggle to maintain opera companies, El Paso Opera’s 20th season is cause for celebration. A highlight of the 20th season is a gala Saturday, which includes Opera for All at the Abraham Chavez Theatre, followed by dinner at the El Paso Museum of Art. For information and ticket prices, call 581-5534 or go to epopera.org.
The El Paso Opera will follow Saturday’s gala with the free outdoor concert in Ju√°rez Sunday.
Such a performance, which is expected to draw tens of thousands of people, would have been unthinkable two years ago as Ju√°rez was battered by drug-related violence.
The El Paso Opera’s performance is a powerful statement on how far Ju√°rez has come, and on the important ties between El Paso and Ju√°rez.
“Looking through a fence to hear and see a concert — not on the El Paso side but in Ciudad Ju√°rez — by thrilling classical voices is an unimaginable image in 2008-2009 as the violence in Ju√°rez bloomed horribly,” said David Grabarkewitz, El Paso Opera’s director. “I never thought that this would happen so quickly with enthusiasm and lack of fear. What a joy it is to be back in Ju√°rez.”
Jacob Prado, Mexico’s consul-general in El Paso, said Sunday’s concert is an important milestone.
“This is the first time in many years that a major El Paso cultural institution comes to Ju√°rez to present first class binational artists in a massive event,” Prado said. “This opera gala is the result of a collaboration between different organizations from both sides of the border. For all of us, attending this binational event constitutes a unique opportunity to move forward, to strengthen the ties of friendship and trust among our sister cities, and to support the advancement of our border community.”
Congratulations to El Paso Opera on its landmark 20th season.
The company last month joined with the University of Texas at El Paso in presenting landmark performances in the nation of Bhutan. The 20th season will continue with a series of performances in El Paso through May.
But Sunday’s Ju√°rez concert offers a unique opportunity. Many El Pasoans who love their sister city haven’t crossed the border in years. The free opera performance at the “X” is a good time to begin returning to Ju√°rez.