LA Opera Announces Upcoming After Hours Recitals: ‘Latina Composers’ and ‘Songs of Protest’

By Chris Ruel

LA Opera has announced the next two installments of its After Hours recital series. The online recitals explore thematic programs and will return live to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion’s Founders Room in the fall.

Artist in Residence Russell Thomas curated the programs and will host the recitals.

The first recital, “Latina Composers,” represents the collaborative efforts of LA Opera and Opera San José to celebrate the talent of Latina composers and the artists who perform them.

“Latina Composers” includes songs by Modesta Bor (1926-1998), María Luisa Escobar (1903-1985), Chabuca Granda (1920-1983), María Grever (1885-1951), Ernestina Lecuona (1882-1951), Ángela Peralta (1845-1883) and Consuelo Velázquez (1916-2005). Four living composers are also represented: Gabriela Lena Frank, Tania León, Mariela Rodríguez and Irma Urteaga.

The program features performances by soprano Vanessa Becerra and tenor Carlos Enrique Santelli—alumni of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, baritones Luis Alejandro Orozco and Efraín Solís, pianists César Cancino and Bryndon Hassman, and guitarist Jose Chuy Hernandez. Becerra, Santelli, and Solís are currently Resident Artists with Opera San José.

Performance date: May 14, 2021, at 5:00 P.M. PDT

The second recital, Songs of Protest, honors artists who have used music to affect social justice and features music by Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Duke Ellington, Donny Hathaway, Fats Waller, and Julia Perry, among others. The performers include soprano Brandie Sutton, baritone Justin Austin, pianist Damien Sneed, drummer Jonathan Barber, and bass player Michael Olatuja.

Performance date: June 14, 2021, at 5:00 P.M. PDT

Latina Composers” and “Songs of Protest” will stream on LA Opera’s Facebook and YouTube channels. “Latina Composers” will also stream simultaneously on Opera San José’s Facebook and YouTube channels.