SYNOPSIS

Miguel Morales (Othello) is the police chief of a small town on the USA-Mexico border. He is married to a mestizo woman named Mona (Desdemona). His lieutenant Jake (Iago) spends his off-duty hours spiriting people across the border illegally; Kane (a Caucasian labor organizer from Chicago) is stirring up trouble. The action centers on the wedding of Jake and Emily (Emilia), and features the unfortunate planting of Mona's bandanna by Kane and Jake in Cassidy's (Cassio) pocket, and the subsequent murder of Mona by her husband. Set on the "Day of the Dead," the opera's unifying concept is the idea of the borderlines between emotional, metaphysical and moral states.

Premiere

Staged Premiere
25 February 1999 
McCullough Theater, Austin, Texas 
University of Texas Opera Theater / Michael Haithcock

American Concert Premiere
3 March 2000 
Ham Concert Hall, Las Vegas, Nevada 
UNLV Opera Theater and Orchestra / Daron Hagen

European Concert Premeire
26 April 2006
Parr Hall, Warrington, UK
North Cheshire Concert Band; Manchester Chamber Choir; RNCM Soloists / Mark Heron

Commissioned by the College Band Directors National Association.

Running Time

116 minutes, with one intermission

Cast

major roles

  • Miguel Morales (tenor)
  • James Kane (dramatic baritone)
  • Jake Lopez (baritone)
  • Mona Morales (soprano)
  • Cassidy (bass-baritone)
  • Emily (mezzo-soprano)

supporting roles (drawn from chorus)

  • Leader (tenor)
  • Two Mariachi Singers (men or women)

mixed chorus (18+ voices)