Vanessa and I had a chance to visit on the phone recently and discuss her preparations for the upcoming shows.
What are you doing to prepare for the upcoming shows?
I’m listening to the recording of Cruzar La Cara de La Luna with Mariachi Vargas. I’ve listened to the CD about 100 times in the past 2 months to review every detail and make sure I have all my lines right. My husband is like ‘o.k……enough’ … jokingly of course.
Where have you been performing?
I’ve been performing with Ceci quite a bit. We usually perform several pieces of the opera together. Ceci and I performed for about 1,000 kids and parents at the Houston Hispanic Forum Career Day at the George R. Brown Convention Center last weekend. I was really happy to be representing the Houston Grand Opera (HGO) and MECA during this event. We sang Un Pueblo sin Hombres together and then I sang Mi Ranchito. Jose Pesina, who graduated from Texas State University, accompanied us on guitar. We’re used to singing with a piano accompaniment but this was pretty awesome. It was very wholesome with a guitar…sounded beautiful.
What else are you involved with?
The HGO wrote a story about UTPA’s David Moreno called Past the Check Point. I’ll be performing for an upcoming presentation of Past the Check Point where there will be discussions about immigration and other issues important to Latinos. The presentation takes place at Talento Bilingue on Feb. 16 following the premiere on Feb. 15.
What does your schedule look like for March/April?
I depart March 12 for San Diego and I’ll be there until March 17 for Cruzar La Cara de La Luna. We’re performing 2 shows at the San Diego Opera. Then from there, I fly back to Houston for shows on March 21, 23 and 24 at the Wortham Center-Brown Theater. Two shows are scheduled for the 23rd.
How will this show be different from the premiere of Cruzar La Cara de La Luna back in Nov. 2010?
This show will be fully staged with costumes. During the first premiere in Nov. 2010, we didn’t have the full costumes and stage set. Also, El Amor de Lupita, was written by Jose “Pepe” Martinez, Sr. and was added into the show. I sang this in Paris, France at the Theater Chatelet and will be singing it again in shows coming up in San Diego, Houston and Chicago.
How long does Cruzar La Cara de La Luna last?
The show is approximately 75 minutes.
Will Mariachi Vargas perform as a solo act following Cruzar La Cara de La Luna as they did during the premiere?
No. This production is the one that went to Paris. It’s the fully staged Opera so there won’t be a separate concert of sorts. Mariachi Vargas will be on stage during the full Opera acting as the “orchestra.”
What are you wearing during the opera?
The first costume is a yellow dress (I feel like a big bird but everyone likes it). Then I have another outfit that is a grey dress with a green jacket. There’s about 4 costume changes during the opera. I’m not allowed to wear much make up and this is fine with me. The designer for Cruzar La Cara de La Luna is a Mexican American named Cesar Galindo. He’s originally from Houston and lives in New York. He designed my costume. In the opera we start out with a wedding and we’re poor. Then my “Chucho” leaves to the U.S. to make money. He sends me money and I start dressing nicer in Mexico. I long for “Chucho” and I’m sad because I miss him. I need someone to tell me how important I am. My best friend was right. It doesn’t matter how much you have…. it will never be enough.
So I bet you feel naked on stage because you always wear your makeup so beautifully.
It’s a simple character although I can’t leave out my eyelashes. Don’t tell anyone but I’ll be sneaking these on.
What else are you doing to prepare your voice?
I know the opera by heart now so I just study my lines and go over my scales. It’s a habit I’ve been doing my whole life — practicing scales — every day and listening to the CD over and over. Every time I play the CD I relive the moment of the premiere and my experience in Paris. I love reliving these moments and I can’t wait to recreate new memories. The Cruzar La Cara de La Luna cast is amazing. We all get along so well. There’s great camaraderie going on between all of the cast members. It feels just like it does during the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza where you meet new people that become lifelong friends. It’s awesome. I’m so excited about the opera.
What role do you play in Cruzar La Cara de La Luna?
I play the role of Lupita and I’m a Mezzo-soprano.
More: Cruzar La Cara de La Luna was composed by José “Pepe” Martinez to a libretto by Leonard Foglia. Cast members include Mexican baritone Octavio Moreno as Laurentino, Mexican mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte as Renata, Mexican mezzo-soprano Vanessa Cerda-Alonzo as Lupita, Colombian tenor David Guzmán as Rafael, American soprano Brittany Wheeler as Diana, American baritone Brian Shircliffe as Mark, El Salvadorian tenor Juan Mejía as Victor and Mexican musician Saul Avalos as Chucho.
Cruzar la Cara de la Luna/To Cross the Face of the Moon will be performed with the world’s preeminent Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan at the Wortham Center Brown Theater in Houston on March 21, 2013- 7:30 p.m. | March 23, 2013 – 2 p.m. | March 23, 2012 – 7:30 p.m. and March 24, 2013 – 2 p.m.