Fort Worth Opera brings mariachis to the opera house in Cruzar la Cara de la Luna

This year’s Fort Worth Opera represents the festival’s biggest outreach yet to our city’s Latino community. Part of it is the troupe’s production of Carmen, that Spanish-set but French-language warhorse that remains a reliable vehicle for a star mezzo-soprano. The bigger part by far, though, is Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, José “Pepe” Martínez’s opera that uses mariachi music to tell the story of a septuagenarian immigrant laborer in present-day Fort Worth who looks back on the beginnings of his life in Mexico. This work by a musician from the venerable Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán transplants one musical tradition into the framework of an operatic story, and it received great reviews when it debuted in Houston in 2013. Fort Worth Opera’s production is the first in its Noches de Ópera program, which will bring more Spanish-language operas to the stage at Bass Hall.

Elsewhere, the festival also features the world premiere of Voir Dire, a rare opera where the idea for the story came from the librettist, as Jason Zencka saw the justice system up close as a crime reporter and persuaded composer Matthew Peterson to set stories from it to music. This searingly funny work first saw the light as part of FWO’s Frontiers showcase three years ago. Now it’s in full bloom.

Fort Worth Opera runs Apr 22-May 7 at Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW and McDavid Rehearsal Studio, 301 E 5th St, FW. Tickets are $17-295. Call 817-212-4280.