Francisco sings “La Ley del Monte” on La Voz Kids, in 2016
Fifteen-year-old Roma, Texas native Francisco García, Jr. has been selected by the Fort Worth Opera company to play the role of Daniel in the mariachi opera El Pasado Nunca Se Termina. The work is presented by Fort Worth Opera as part of its Festival 2019.
Francisco was chosen after a six-month search that included auditions in Fort Worth and talent scouting at the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza competition last November in San Antonio. “His stage presence, charm and charisma is what captured our attention,” says Paulina Magdaleno, Audience Development and Special Events Coordinator for Fort Worth Opera. “The role of Daniel is difficult,” she explains. “We were specifically looking for a young boy who could act and sing, and one who is completely bilingual in Spanish and English—with no accent,” she continues. “Daniel’s character is one who was born in the U.S. At first, the young boy doesn’t know anything about his ancestors or roots, but throughout the story he discovers where he comes from, and that changes his outlook on life,” she says.
Francisco is an A-student at Roma High School. He has competed in the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza National Vocal Competition for the past four consecutive years. “I won second place in my 7th grade year, and third place in my 8th grade year,” says Francisco. “I’ve also competed in the group competitions for the past three years,” he adds.
“Francisco is part of our varsity mariachi group,” says Eloy Garza, director of Roma High School’s award-winning Mariachi Nuevo Santander. “He’s not only a great singer but he’s also an excellent violin player and we’re excited and proud that he will be participating in the mariachi opera,” he adds.
“This is a huge opportunity and I’m very grateful that I will have the chance to work with a lot of professionals in the field that will help me develop my skills in voice and acting – two things I’ve always been interested in,” said Francisco during a recent interview. “My parents and community are really proud of me and I’m very grateful that they have supported me in everything I do.”
“Francisco is the fourth student from the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza who has been invited to perform in mariachi operas produced by the Houston Grand Opera and/or the Fort Worth Opera companies,” says Cynthia Muñoz, producer of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. “We’re extremely proud of Francisco, Vanessa Alonso (Houston), Sebastien De la Cruz (San Antonio) and Yomara Cortez (Roma), who are all previous Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza winners along with the University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley’s (UTRGV) Mariachi Aztlán, which has also performed with the Houston and Chicago operas. This says a lot about the level of talent that comes through the Extravaganza every year,” affirms Muñoz. “These students are the best in the country in the mariachi genre, and this honor is something we can all be proud of.”
“The impact this will have in the schools and the entire community is tremendous,” says Dr. Dahlia Guerra, Assistant Vice President of Public Arts for the University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg. “This experience will have a lifelong impact on Francisco, as it did on our students when we had the privilege to perform with the Houston Grand Opera and Chicago Lyric Opera in prior years,” she added.
In 2016, Francisco participated in the U.S. version of La Voz Kids, which was nationally televised on Telemundo. In 2017, he once again stepped in front of a national audience and competed against other contestants on Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento, which aired on EstrellaTV.
Francisco García, Jr. is the son of Francisco Javier García from Zapata, Texas and Deyanira I. García from the state of Guerrero, Mexico. His siblings are 9-year-old Frida Sophia García and 6-year-old Fátima García.
Performances of El Pasado Nunca Se Termina will be held at Bass Performance Hall on May 10, 11 and 12. Tickets start at $22, and can be purchased at www.fwopera.org.