Oct 24, 2020
Top row: Anthony ("Tony") Garcia and Margaret Siegrist
Bottom row: Deb Morrow
The conversation on our original, bilingual opera En Mis Palabras/In My Own Words and diversity, equity and inclusion in the arts continues. Today we discuss Su Teatro and Central City Opera’s collaboration on the En Mis Palabras workshop and premiere, Denver’s rich Chicano history and art as cultural affirmation. Featuring some of the original artistic minds behind the opera, director Tony Garcia and former CCO Director of Education and Community Engagement Deb Morrow, the interview is hosted by CCO Marketing Content Manager and Opera Central producer Margaret Siegrist.
Central City Opera commissioned En Mis Palabras/In My Own Words more than 15 years ago, with the goal of acknowledging the 1/5 Latino population here in Colorado. The opera tackles themes of immigration, family and coming of age and is performed regularly as a part of Central City Opera’s year-round education and community engagement programming. Over 19,000 people have seen it since its 2006 premiere.
Watch the video version of this podcast episode on the Central City Opera website, centralcityopera.org/opera-central.
Settle in for coffee and conversation with us! Text PALABRAS to 20123, and find great deals on over 400 coffees roasted to order and shipped to you by the bag from the nation’s best roasters. A portion of all purchases goes to Central City Opera thanks to our partners at Eat4Art. Cheers!
Left to right: artist Michael Gorgan's renderings of the backdrops for En Mis Palabras/In My Own Words. Stage right, Center stage, and Stage left
The set of En Mis Palabras/In My
Own Words complete with furniture and props. Design by Michael
The Denver Civic Theatre, home of Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center, located at 721 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, Colorado.
Central City Opera collaborated with Tony Garcia and Su Teatro, where he’s Executive Artistic Director, for the workshop and premiere of En Mis Palabras in 2006. Learn more about Denver’s Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center at suteatro.org and in the words of Tony Garcia. Born from the Chicano Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 70s, Su Teatro (Your Theater) began in 1972 as a student-organized group at the University of Colorado at Denver. In 2020, the company celebrates 10 years at the Denver Civic Theater—an iconic fixture of the Santa Fe Arts District—making Su Teatro the company to make its home in the theater for the longest period of time of any other group, as well as the first to own it. Learn more about Su Teatro’s history and productions on the company’s website.
Director Tony Garcia (right) working with original cast members Thomas Erik Angerhofer (seated) and James Baumgardner (standing, left) during the first rehearsals of En Mis Palabras/In My Own Words.
Left to right: Composer Roger Ames with guitarist Rick Chinisci and pianist Deborah Schmit-Lobis during the first rehearsals of En Mis Palabras/In My Own Words at Su Teatro.
Referenced a few times throughout the interview, John Moore profiled Tony’s life and career in a 2019 article about his Community Service in the Arts Award. “The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation saluted Su Teatro Executive Artistic Director Tony Garcia for four decades of promoting Latino culture in Denver through the performing arts by presenting him with its Community Service in the Arts Award on May 14, 2019.”
Composer Roger Ames and librettist Jeffery Gilden were also important members of En Mis Palabras/In My Own Words’ original creative team. Hear more from Roger about the making of En Mis Palabras and recent, collaborative language/dialect improvements to the libretto in Season 5, Episode 4 of the Central City Opera Podcast.
Left to right: librettist Jeffrey Gilden, director Tony Garcia, and composer Roger Ames
Music! Words! Opera!, an opera and musical theater “create and produce” program that Deb mentions throughout the episode, is still an integral part of Central City Opera’s programs. Learn more (and book!) on our 2020 fall virtual programming webpage. Music! Words! Opera! is available in the form of CCO teaching artist-guided residencies as well as workshops for educators.
Composer and teacher Roger Ames works with teachers during the Central City Opera Music! Words! Opera! Educator Workshop
More projects by Tony Garcia referenced in the interview include:
Read more about history and social context presented in this episode:
This episode features musical excerpts from our 2008 archival recording of En Mis Palabras:
Composer, Roger Ames. Librettist, Jeffrey Gilden. Ana Maria, Jennifer DeDominici. Rodolfo, Adam Sattley. Esteban, Steven Taylor. Abuela, Leslie Remmert Soich. Piano, Deborah Schmit-Lobis. Guitar, Rick Chinisci.