Mariachi meets opera in this world premiere: El Pasado Nunca Se Termina; Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán performs at Civic Opera House March 28 and 29

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Mariachi meets opera in this world premiere:
El Pasado Nunca Se Termina

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán performs at
Civic Opera House March 28 and 29

Mariachi Aztlán performs in previews in Pilsen (March 13-15) and Waukegan (March 22)

CHICAGO –El Pasado Nunca Se Termina  (The Past Is Never Finished), the brand-new mariachi opera commissioned by Lyric Unlimited, has its world-premiere performances in March. The opera reunites the team of José “Pepe” Martínez (music) and Leonard Foglia (librettist/director), who created the wildly successful Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, which had its first Chicago performances in 2013.

The acclaimed Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, the “World’s Best Mariachi,” will return to Chicago for the world-premiere performances of El Pasado on March 28 and 29 at the Civic Opera House. Mariachi Aztlán, an award-winning group from the University of Texas Pan-American, will appear in the preview performances at Benito Juárez Community Academy in Pilsen on March 13-15 and at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan on March 22.

Morelos, Mexico. 1910. The son of a wealthy landowner returns to his parents’ home to find his future…only to fall deeply in love with a humble servant girl. As forbidden personal passions burn, so too do political ambitions. It is the eve of the Mexican Revolution. And what happens on the hacienda changes destinies forever. El Pasado is a gripping, deeply emotional story that takes audiences from long-ago Mexico to present-day Chicago. It is a tale of lovers and freedom fighters, scandal and heroism, hopes and dreams—and the legacy of our ancestors that lives within us all.

El Pasado stars Abigail Santos Villalobos (debut), Daniel Montenegro (debut), Paul La Rosa, and Ricardo Rivera (debut). The cast also features Vanessa Alonzo, Cassandra Zoe Velasco (debut), Luis Ledesma (debut), Sebastien E. De La Cruz (debut), Octavio Moreno, and Miguel Nuñez (debut). De La Cruz is the talented young mariachi who has gained a national following both as a semifinalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent in 2012 and from his two performances of the National Anthem during the 2013 NBA Finals. Alonzo and Moreno appeared in Lyric’s 2013 presentations of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna. La Rosa is an alumnus of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, Lyric’s premier artist-development program.

This world-premiere opera is directed by Leonard Foglia, with set and projections by Elaine McCarthy, costumes by Scott Marr (Lyric’s production design director), and lighting by Chris Maravich (Lyric’s lighting director).

All performances will feature the mariachi performing on stage. El Pasado is performed in Spanish and English, with projected titles in both languages. The world-premiere performances are Saturday, March 28 at 7:30pm and Sunday, March 29 at 2pm at the Civic Opera House in downtown Chicago with the full cast and Mariachi Vargas.

Five preview performances of El Pasado precede the world premiere at the Civic Opera House, with the full cast and Mariachi Aztlán. Four performances will be held at Benito Juaréz Community Academy in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood on Friday, March 13 at 7:30pm; Saturday, March 14 at 2pm and 7:30pm; and Sunday, March 15 at 2pm. A single performance will take place at the historic Genesee Theatre in Waukegan on Sunday, March 22 at 2pm.

Tickets for all performances are available now at the following prices: Benito Juaréz Community Academy tickets are $10; Genesee tickets are $10 to $25; and Civic Opera House tickets are $25 to $125. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 312-827-5600.

Watch a “Meet the Artists of El Pasado” video >> 

Download head shots of the cast and creative team>>

El Pasado Nunca Se Termina is generously made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, an Anonymous Donor, Dr. and Mrs. Ricardo Rosenkranz, OPERA America, Exelon, Ken Norgan, United Scrap Metal, Inc., Mexico Tourism Board, The Field Foundation of Illinois, Mr. and Mrs. William E. Hay, Dan J. Epstein Family Foundation, Judy Guitelman & ALAS-Wings, and The PrivateBank, with additional support from Mr. and Mrs. Alejandro Silva, The McDonald’s Hispanic Owner/Operators Association, Maria C. Bechily and Scott Hodes, Douglas A. Doetsch and Susan Manning, and Rosy and Jose Luis Prado.

Media support provided by 105.1-FM “La Que Buena” and Univision Chicago.

Lyric Unlimited was launched with major catalyst funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and receives major support from the Hurvis Family Foundation.

About Lyric and Lyric Unlimited

Founded in 1954, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.

Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.

Under the leadership of general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become The Great North American Opera Company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility.

Launched in 2012, Lyric Unlimited is a long-term, evolving initiative that encompasses company activities that are not part of Lyric’s mainstage season. Its mission is to provide a relevant cultural service to communities throughout the Chicago area and to advance the development of opera by exploring how opera as an art form can resonate more powerfully with people of multiple backgrounds, ethnicities, and interests. Lyric Unlimited leads the development of innovative partnerships with a wide range of cultural, community, and educational organizations to create a breadth of programming through which Chicagoans of all ages can connect with Lyric. In the 2013-14 season, more than 111,000 children, students, and adults participated in Lyric Unlimited activities.

For more information about Lyric Unlimited program offerings, visit


Performance Details
Artists, programs, and prices subject to change
For more information or to purchase tickets,
visit or call 312-827-5600

El Pasado Nunca Se Termina
José “Pepe” Martínez, composer
Leonard Foglia, librettist and director
Abigail Santos Villalobos (Amorita)
Daniel Montenegro (Luis)
Paul La Rosa (Enrique)
Ricardo Rivera (Acalán)
Vanessa Alonzo (Juana)
Cassandra Zoe Velasco (Isabel/Dolores)
Luis Ledesma (Augustino)
Sebastien E. De La Cruz (Daniel)
Octavio Moreno (Xihuitl)
Miguel Nuñez (Miguel/Hotel Manager)

Preview Performances
Featuring Mariachi Aztlán UTPA
Benito Juárez Community Academy
1450 W. Cermak Rd., Chicago
Friday, March 13, 2015, 7:30pm
Saturday, March 14, 2015, 2pm
Saturday, March 14, 2015, 7:30pm
Sunday, March 15, 2015, 2pm
Tickets: $10 

Genesee Theatre
203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan
Sunday, March 22, 2015, 2pm
Tickets: $10-$25
Click here to purchase tickets from the Genesee Theatre.

World-Premiere Performances
Featuring Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán
Civic Opera House
20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago
Saturday, March 28, 2015, 7:30pm
Sunday, March 29, 2015, 2pm
Tickets: $25-$125


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