¡Zarzuelas! Rediscovered Romance

The New Mexico Philharmonic, in collaboration with the UNM Honors College and in partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the City of Albuquerque, the Consulate of Mexico in Albuquerque, and Chatter, hosted the The New Mexico Philharmonic Music & Arts Festival.   The focus  of the month long  festival in April was Turn of the Twentieth: The Music & Times of Manuel Areu.

Unheard for more than a century, rediscovered Spanish operettas or
“Zarzuelas” by late 19th and early 20th century composer Manuel Areu were performed by NMPhil and conducted by Areu expert and Argentinian native Dr. Javier Lorenzo. Take time to meet the concert and festival team below.

The Concert Team

Javier Lorenzo (Conductor and Project Director)
Committed to the promotion of Latin American music, Javier Alejandro Lorenzo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has been a teacher, conductor, and choirmaster since 1984. He studied at the National Conservatory of Music in Buenos Aires and received his Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting at University of New Mexico. He has conducted in several Latin American countries and the United States.

Javier Lorenzo was music director at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, creating a Latin American Concert Series that featured music of Latin America rarely performed in the United Sates. He was also the artistic director and conductor of Maria de Buenos Aires, the tango opera by renowned composer Astor Piazzolla. This was the first major, in-house music production of the Roy E. Disney Center for Performing Arts at the NHHC.

In 2013-2014 Lorenzo occupied the “Garrey Carruthers Distinguished Chair” in the Honors College at UNM. In this position, he began the direction of a research project based on the “Collection of Spanish composer Manuel Areu” (1845-1942), that included among many personal documents and music sheets a set of nineteenth century Zarzuelas. The project of selecting and preparing unpublished scores for their world premiere has been expanded to historical research of the legacies left by Areu and the historical contexts of their work in four different countries. Currently, Lorenzo continues working on this research and transcription of music with UNM Honors students as Honors Distinguished Fellow in the UNM Honors College.

Valli Marie Rivera (Stage Director)
Valli Marie Rivera is a theatre director, actor, and educator with an MA in Theatre from SUNY at Albany.  She trained additionally with Eugenio Barba’s Odin Teatret, Augusto Boal, Kristin Linklater, Gilda Navarra and Jacques Lecoq.  For 10 years, Valli was Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey campus. In Albuquerque, she directed the premiers of Bless Me, Ultima (with a state wide tour) and Rosalinda, and the revival of Farolitos of Christmas, all by Rudolfo Anaya and co-produced by the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) and The Vortex Theatre.  Other directorial projects with The Vortex include The House of the Spirits, Lorca in a Green Dress, and La casa azul. Recent works with Camino Real Productions for NHCC’s Siembra Latino Festival are ¡Aye No!, 26 Miles, and Secret Things. Valli directed The Medea Complex and staged readings as part of the University of New Mexico’s Words Afire Festival.  She has directed and/or acted in Santa Fe for Santa Fe Playhouse, Santa Fe Performing Arts, and Teatro Paraguas.  Directing works in Santa Fe include Blood Wedding, Eyes for Consuela, Sagrado y Obceno, Plaza, ¡Curanderas! Serpents of the Gods, Rappaccini’s Daughter, One Railroad Circus, Baggage, and Rosa de dos aromas.  Valli is co-founder of a group of women writers for theatre, Hembras de Pluma, and wrote, directed, and acted in El Punto de Lola.  She co-authored the published play Hembra, which she performed in festivals in Chile, Argentina, and Puerto Rico. Throughout her career, she has performed and/or directed for theatre festivals in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean. Valli has appeared in television shows and film throughout her acting career.  Her film work includes Maldeamores, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival (2007), and Roswell FM.

The Music Research Team

Jaime Rodriguez just graduated from UNM with a B.S. in Biology, and minors in music and chemistry with a designation from the Honors College. While pursuing a career in medicine, Jaime enjoys playing the piano, violin, and pipe organ, which led him to lend his
expertise to the Manuel Areu Project. As an undergraduate he worked with classmates to
scan original documents and transcribe music from manuscript to digitized files.

Emily Ramsey is majoring in Music Education and Flute performance at the University of New Mexico. Emily is an active member in many of the music ensembles at UNM. Through the Honors College, Emily has joined to help in the final steps of the Manuel Areu project. Emily is working under Professor Javier Lorenzo as a part of the group working to transcribe music, and put on a concert featuring Areu’s works.

Ben Montoya graduated from Santa Fe High in 2014 and is now in his sophomore year at UNM. He is majoring in English. He will be assisting Dr. Javier Lorenzo with the editing and organization for the New Mexico Philharmonic concert.

The Historical Research Team

Dr. Celia López-Chávez has taught interdisciplinary seminars in the Honors College at the University of New Mexico for twenty years as Associate Professor, including  co-teaching with Conductor Javier Lorenzo the course “Drums and Dreams: Latin American Music as Text”. She received her Ph.D. in Latin American History at the Universidad de Sevilla, Spain and has published two books in Argentina and many academic articles in Spain, Argentina, and the United States.  Her latest book, Epics of Empire and Frontier. Alonso de Ercilla and Gaspar de Villagrá as Spanish Colonial Chroniclers, by the University of Oklahoma Press, will be out in May of 2016. She has worked for a year now for the Manuel Areu Project doing historical research using the Areu collection and guiding undergraduate UNM Honors students in becoming scholars on the subject of Manuel Areu, his life and work. She is coordinating the academic activities of the Manuel Areu project.

Olivia Carpenter is a senior at the University of New Mexico majoring in English. Her research interests include eighteenth-century British women writers, gender and sexuality studies, and studies of race and empire. In addition to her research in literary studies, she has also been working with Manuel Areu’s memoirs and personal papers since 2014 and is currently working on an annotated edition of some of these writings. She will pursue a PhD in English this fall.

Anna Kebler is a senior graduating in May with a B.A. in Anthropology and minors in Spanish and Interdisciplinary Honors.  Born and raised in Kirkwood, MO, Anna has been active in the Honors College since moving to Albuquerque in 2012.  During the Spring 2014 semester she scanned documents, transcribed music and lyrics, translated lyrics, and conducted historical research for the Manuel Areu Project.  She is presenting a revised version of her paper on Areu’s “Himnio a Porfirio Díaz” at the Student Symposium on April 8th.

The Exhibit Team

Megan Jacobs is an Associate Professor of Art in the Honors College. She holds an M.F.A. in Photography from the University of New Mexico. Jacobs’ work has been exhibited internationally and explores the delicate relationship between our existence as material and concept. Jacobs’ teaching interests include fine art, aesthetics, material culture and cultural preservation through new media. She is heading up the creation of a photographic exhibition depicting the life and influences of Manuel Areu.

Trent Spencer is originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Upon graduating from Santa Fe High School, he is now pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of New Mexico. As an active member of the UNM Honors College, Trent is the assistant photographic researcher and exhibit designer for the Manuel Areu photographic exhibition, which will be on view at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.



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