The Fort Worth Opera Festival offers love stories, mariachis and so much more.
The festival format means this spring is packed with events, including a gala and a late-May preview of The Last Dream of Frida and Diego by composer Gabriela Lena Frank and librettist Nilo Cruz (the full production is slated for spring 2021). In addition to Companionship, the 2019 festival features two more fully staged productions plus a showcase for new works; for tickets, 817-731-0726 or fwopera.org. The gala, Southern Soirée, is May 4; email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
PORGY AND BESS
With no disrespect to Janis Joplin, you haven’t really heard the song “Summertime” until you’ve heard the original aria in Porgy and Bess. The opera, with music by George Gershwin and libretto by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward and Ira Gershwin, is set in Charleston, South Carolina’s poor Catfish Row. Based on the 1925 novel by DuBose, It tells the tragic love story of Porgy, a disabled beggar, and Bess, the troubled woman he wants to save. The seductive score blends opera, jazz, blues, spirituals and more. Garnett Bruce directs the Francesca Zambello revival of the opera; both international talent and local choristers are represented in the African-American cast. The costumes were designed by Paul Tazewell, best known for his Tony Award-winning handiwork on Hamilton. Sung in English with supertitles. Dates April 26, 28 and 30. $22 and up. Bass Performance Hall, 4th and Calhoun streets, Fort Worth.
FWO’s new works showcase is now in its seventh season; Frontiers functions as a creative testing ground for fledgling operas. Each evening includes a 20-minute excerpt from each of six operas in development. Dates 7:30 p.m. May 8 and 9. $5-$10. Fort Worth Botanic Garden auditorium, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth.
EL PASADO NUNCA SE TERMINA
The son of a wealthy landowner falls in love with a girl whose family works for his, their star-crossed story set in 1910 against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution. El Pasado Nunca se Termina, which translates to “The past is never finished,” is an opera by composer José “Pepe” Martínez and librettist Leonard Foglia, who also directs; it’s the same creative team as FWO’s 2017 production Cruzar la Cara de la Luna. Like Cruzar, El Pasado features a full mariachi band onstage — this time it’s Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán from Guadalajara, founded by Martínez and led by his son. Dramatic visual effects are created with projections. Sung in English and Spanish with supertitles. Dates May 10-12. $22 and up. Bass Performance Hall.