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Tienda by Reinaldo Moya
February 21 @ 7:00 pm
One event on February 22, 2020 at 7:00pm
This unique performance presented as a part of Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Celebration will feature a partially-staged opera by Reinaldo Moya with words by Caitlin Vincent. The cast of singers includes mezzo soprano Jill Morgan, as well as Dominic Aragon (baritone), Matthew Valverde (tenor), Mario Ángel Pérez (tenor), and Bergen Baker (soprano). The production will also feature The Augsburg Choir and the Augsburg Orchestra. The stage director is Doug Scholz-Carlson.
The opera tells the story of Luis Garzón, a Mexican musician who immigrated to Minneapolis in 1886 and opened a small Mexican grocery store, or tienda, in St. Paul in the 1920s. While Luis had married an American woman and was fully integrated into Minnesotan society, his store served as a community hub for the newest arrivals from Mexico, many of whom had fled the Mexican Revolution and now toiled on the sugar beet farms of rural Minnesota. “Tienda” explores the immigrant experience: what must be left behind—and what cannot be forgotten—on the journey to a new home. This world premiere performance of “Tienda” is one of the highlights of Moya’s two-year residency with the Schubert Club.
For Moya, Luis’s story has personal meaning. “I had wanted to write an immigration opera for some time,” said Moya. “When my librettist, Caitlin Vincent, and I started doing research for this project, we came cross a human interest story of an immigrant’s journey to and life in the United States. Luis’s story resonated with me because we both came to the U.S. as young men and remained here for a long time. We are both musicians, and we both feel a strong pull towards our home culture while simultaneously seeing the promise of the American dream, even when it fails so many.”
Moya also sees the strong connection between the issues immigrants faced in the early 20th century, and the struggles they still face today. “Luis’s story is also one that is still very relevant in today’s political climate. We might think of these immigration issues as relatively new, but “Tienda” shows that we as a country have had a long history of reckoning with our heritage as an immigrant country.”