Oct 28, 2020
Top row: Mica Dominguez-Robinson, Margaret Siegrist. Bottom row: Armando Contreras, Daniela Guzmán-Égüez.
En Mis Palabras artists share their thoughts and experiences on racially accurate casting, representation in the performing arts and the importance of telling diverse stories on the operatic stage in today’s episode. Guests include Mica Dominguez-Robinson, who originated the leading role of Ana Maria, and brand new cast members Daniela Guzmán-Égüez (Ana Maria) and Armando Contreras (Esteban). Hosted by CCO Marketing Content Manager and Opera Central Producer Margaret Siegrist.
Central City Opera commissioned our bilingual, one-act opera 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 year-round education and community engagement programming. Over 19,000 people have seen it since its 2006 premiere. Central City Opera committed to casting the lead role of Ana Maria only with LatinX artists since the opera was commissioned, and that practice has been honored to this day.
Mica Dominguez-Robinson as "Ana Maria" in the early days of En Mis Palabras/In My Own Words
This third and final conversation focused on En Mis Palabras and diversity, equity and inclusion in the arts amplifies the voices of the artists of color who perform in the program!
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.
A note on En Mis Palabras personnel and casting: “Touring artists,” a term you heard during the interview, refers to the singers, instrumentalists and production staff who perform as part of our year-round education programs. Most shows, including En Mis Palabras, are cast with multiple artists in each role so that Central City Opera is able to best serve our communities from a scheduling perspective. The artists you’ll meet in these episodes are just a few of the many current and past cast members of the show!
A scene featuring conflict between father and son, performed at History Colorado in 2015 by (left to right) Leslie Remmert Soich, Steve Taylor, James Baumgardner, and Jovahnna Anderson Borboa. Photo by Amanda Tipton.
Audience engrossed in a performance of En Mis Palabras at History Colorado in 2015. Photo by Amanda Tipton.
What are Mica, Dani and Armando up to in the near future?
Mica talks about a couple momentous moments for inclusive casting in musical theater:
Many performers of color and organizations championing diversity, equity and inclusion were mentioned in the episode. Check out the links below for more information:
Our host mentioned a story about the famously voluptuous opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini (1871–1940) playing a character who was meant to be wasting away with consumption (tuberculosis) as a testament to the lack of importance placed on type-casting during different eras of opera history.
Armando talked about preference against bilingual communication in United States’ schools during the ‘70s and ‘80s that influenced the experiences of his family members. Read more about the “English-only Movement” in education.
Dani talks about “zarzuela,” a Spanish lyric-dramatic genre that alternates between spoken and sung scenes, the latter incorporating operatic and popular songs, as well as dance.”
Shout out to the educators and educational institutions referenced 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.