2019 Season: Latin Celebration!

The 7th Annual Tucson Desert Song Festival Presents
“Latin Celebration!”
Ana María Martínez, Bobby McFerrin and Kristin Chenoweth headline a stellar
Tucson Desert Song Festival 2019
January 16 – February 5, 2018
Tucson, Arizona

George Hanson, Festival Director



Latin American and Spanish music saturate the 2019 Tucson Desert Song Festival, Jan. 15-Feb. 5, with nine local organizations welcoming such major guest artists as Grammy Award-winning Ana María Martínez, Jessica Rivera and Bobby McFerrin, and Tony Award-winning Kristin Chenoweth. Programming stretches from the Spanish Baroque through romantic opera and classical song to tango, jazz and Broadway.

“The Latin theme is such a natural for Tucson,” said Festival Director George Hanson. “Our festival uses broad themes to tie together a wide variety of performing groups and repertoire. You will hear vocal stars of the opera stage, as well as Broadway and jazz— Latin singers, Latin composers, and the chance to learn what really makes up the many facets of Latin style.”

Ebullient Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth launches the festival in a special, one-night performance with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. The True Concord choir and chamber players will dominate the festival’s first weekend, with three performances of Latin American choral music. For high contrast, the Tucson Jazz Festival will feature a special concert by innovative vocalist Bobby McFerrin (whose father, incidentally, was an operatic baritone, the first African American man to sing at the Metropolitan Opera).

The following weekend, the Arizona Early Music Society hosts soprano Nell Snaidas, who got her start in Spanish zarzuelas but now concentrates on Italian and Spanish Baroque music. She will collaborate with Chatham Baroque on an afternoon of early Spanish music. Mid-week, the Fred Fox School of Music presents scenes from Llantos 1492, the world’s first flamenco opera by composer and guitarist Adam del Monte. This concert version features five singers; Roberto Perlas Gomez, Bernardo Bermudez, Clara Rodriguez, Jose Cortes, Shana Blake Hill, and a piano reduction of the score with  Mercedes Juan Musotto (piano) and Adam del Monte (guitar).

The extended, performance-packed third weekend includes soprano Jessica Rivera, cellist Antonio Lysy and friends (including tango dancers) in Lysy’s multimedia show, Te Amo, Argentina, courtesy of the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music. The concert includes classical vocal and instrumental works, and tangos by such Argentine masters as Astor Piazzolla and Carlos Gardel. Piazzolla is also the focus of a three-performance collaboration between Ballet Tucson and the Tucson Guitar Society titled Viva Piazzolla!

Giuseppe Verdi’s beloved La Traviata is an opera written by an Italian and set in France, but its Latino contribution to the festival in an Arizona Opera production is its two up-and-coming lead singers, Vanessa Vasquez and Daniel Montenegro as the lovers Violetta and Alfredo. Daniel Sutin also joins the cast as Alfredo’s stern yet compassionate father.

The festival closes with a UA Presents solo recital by one of today’s foremost sopranos, Ana María Martínez. The Puerto Rican singer dominates international opera houses in all the major Verdi and Puccini roles, but she has also widely performed and recorded Spanish music on her own and with Plácido Domingo.

Tickets are available from the individual presenting organizations.

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