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Bravo Opera Company to Perform ‘American Vignettes’ this Weekend

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – Nov. 20, 2013Bravo Opera Company, an ensemble of the Department of Music at The University of Texas at Brownsville, has been selected by the National Opera Association to present a scene for the Final Round of the Collegiate Scenes Competition in January in New York City.

“For the moment, however, we are focused on rehearsals for Bravo Opera Company’s fall gala performance this weekend,” said Dr. Daniel Hunter-Holly, Assistant Professor in the Department of Music.

 Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore worked with UTB opera students during a master class on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

A Patron of the Arts event, Bravo Opera Company will perform “American Vignettes,” featuring 38 music students performing arias, duets and full ensemble scenes from great American operas and musicals, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24 in the TSC Arts Center.

Joining Hunter-Holly as co-director of the performance is Dr. Nicole Asel, Assistant Professor of voice.

“Generally, the fall opera performance is a s​election of scenes, and then in the spring, the company presents a full production,” Asel said. “This year’s theme is the American lifestyle as depicted in musicals and operas, with selections that allow our talented students to have maximum participation; within the excerpted pieces, we have arias and quartets with more than 25 students singing solos.”

Jasmin De la Cruz, a sophomore music education major who graduated from Brownsville’s Rivera High School in 2012, will be one of a female trio performing “I Got Lost in Your Arms” from Annie Get Your Gun.

“Dr. Hunter-Holly is allowing us to make it our own,” De la Cruz said. “We have written our own jazz harmonies, deviating from the original score. It’s been challenging yet very rewarding to see our progress; we are looking forward to being on stage and performing.”

 Mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore will perform at 7:30 on Wednesday, Nov. 20 in the TSC Arts Center.


Noe Saenz, a sophomore education major who graduated from Brownsville’s Hanna High School in 2011, will join three other tenors as a quartet, each with a solo part, singing “Is Belief a Gift,” known as Frank’s Aria by Robert Aldridge from the opera Elmer Gantry, premiered by the Nashville Opera in 2007.

Along with selections from Annie Get Your Gun, and the 2012 Grammy Award-winning Elmer Gantry, ar​e favorites from The Tender Land, Susannah, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Vanessa, Down in the Valley and Oklahoma!

Founded in 1996, the Bravo Opera Company is an open enrollment ensemble that provides students the opportunity to perform fully staged operas and opera scenes. Students enrolled in Bravo Opera learn first-hand about opera production, stage direction, set design and costuming. Additionally, every October, the Bravo Opera Company performs Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel for local elementary school children; over the years, this community outreach production has introduced opera to thousands of schoolchildren from throughout the Rio Grande Valley. 

“After ‘American Vignettes,’ we will audition for the New York competition,” Hunter-Holly said.

Students selected for the honor of representing UTB in New York will rehearse over the holiday break to prepare for the competition.

The next performance that voice students will participate in is the Department of Music’s annual fall fundraiser for music scholarships, “Home for the Holidays,” at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8 in the TSC Arts Center.

“American Vignettes” is a Patron of the Arts event. General admission for non-Patron members is $5. For information, call 882-7025 or patron@utb.edu

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