Living La Vida 'Lorca'
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(top) as Federico García Lorca; tenors Kalil Wilson (middle)
and Jesús León (bottom) share the role of Leonardo.
LORCA CAST MEMBERS WON THEIR ROLES
in November, and twice-weekly rehearsals started after winter break.
All but two of the singers are UCLA students, and most are enrolled
in the university’s small, highly selective voice program.
Juliana Gondek, the chair of the voice and opera division and a
soprano with an international reputation, sings a role; León
is her private student. All of the musicians in the orchestra are
currently enrolled Bruins. The choreographer is Mari Sandoval M.A.
’80, who has brought in several professional dancers to lend
their footwork to the flamenco dancing.
Many in the cast have long lists of credits. Dastoor
has been on stage since she was 9; Ralph Cato, 50, a doctoral student
in music, spent many years on stage in Europe. “But a lot
of these kids are fresh out of high school, and maybe they’ve
been in a musical or two,” Gondek says. “Not only are
they having to learn very difficult music that hasn’t been
performed before, but they’re also being asked to dance and
act. So it’s really a baptism by fire.”
Lorca is a production of Opera UCLA
and a showcase event for UCLA’s 2004-’05 Year of the
Arts. With its blend of literature, dance, theater, opera and folklore,
Lorca shows off the university’s multidisciplinary offerings
to grand effect. But the opera traces its origins to a nonprofit
theater called the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts (BFA). Now located
in the old Lincoln Heights jail near downtown Los Angeles, the BFA
brings classic Hispanic theatrical works to Los Angeles audiences.
The Cuban-born Galbán, an actress and director, started the
group in 1973 with two theater friends, the Mexican film and television
actress Carmen Zapata, and Estela Scarlata, a set designer born