Local collaboration brings reminder of home to the immigrant community

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Opera Steamboat has announced a new collaboration with Integrated Community to provide opera singers who will perform as part of its World Fiesta event. The event, hosted by Integrated Community, will be a week-long fiesta taking place virtually this year.

“It’s an opportunity to create a space where immigrants and community members alike can learn from each other as well as learn about different cultures, including food, dance, music and more,” said Integrated Community Executive Director Nelly Navarro.

Opera Steamboat has secured two singers, Raquel Winnica-Young and Paulina Villarreal, to create two videos, which will be posted to Integrated Community’s Facebook page as part of the event.

Winnica-Young, a mezzo-soprano originally from Argentina, chose music by composers from Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Brazil and her native Argentina.

“This recital is a musical journey that honors music of the Americas,” she said. “Researching for this performance was a joy, not only because I found wonderful songs that I never sang before, but because music-making is a net of human connections as well.”

Raquel Winnica-Young

Winnica-Young will share her performance at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Paulina Villarreal, also a mezzo-soprano who is originally from Mexico, will perform, as well. She picked her favorite Spanish songs for the program — a selection she believes will speak to everyone.

“There are so many gorgeous Mexican songs that are rarely performed in the U.S., so I programmed them in an effort to disseminate this repertoire,” Villarreal explained. “The only unifying aspect to the program is the fact that it is all in Spanish. I will be singing songs in the style of Mariachi, Mexican Boletos, as well as art song from Spain.”

Paulina Villareal

Villarreal is slated to perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24.

This is not the first time Opera Steamboat and Integrated Community have collaborated. Last year, Opera Steamboat shared free tickets for Integrated Community clients to view the family opera “Hansel and Gretel.” Additionally, Opera Steamboat offered free tickets to its opera, “Friday by Rodriguez,” about Frida Kahlo that mixes English and Spanish.

Andres Cladera, general and artistic director for Opera Steamboat, hopes to continue the partnership into 2021.

“By sharing those tickets, we established a connection and brought new audiences to our organization,” he said. “The Integrated Community members really enjoyed those opportunities that otherwise they might not have learned about or been able to afford. We hope to continue with more opportunities in shared programming for the Latino community in Routt County, in particular programming in Spanish in the schools.”

Next week, during World Fiesta, their shared hope is that the music that Winnica-Young and Villarreal perform will uplift, inspire and teach.

“Music is perhaps the most universal language of all,” Villarreal said. “It has such power that no one will ever fully comprehend. It breaks through all types of barriers, previously established beliefs, and most importantly, it gives us the opportunity to connect with other human beings regardless of age, nationality, native language or gender.”

Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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