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“Tienda” — A New Chamber Opera on February 21 and 22 by Augsburg’s Reinaldo Moya and Caitlin Vincent

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (January 20, 2020) — The Augsburg University Music Department presents “Tienda,”  a new chamber opera by Augsburg faculty member Reinaldo Moya and Caitlin Vincent on Friday, February 21 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, February 22 at 7 p.m.

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 across 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.”  

Tickets for “Tienda” include two options: An Immersive Seating* option for $20, and Balcony Seating for free. Tickets are required and available for purchase online at augsburg.edu/tickets. All Seating is general admission. 

* Immersive theater seating includes samples of Mexican food and beverage to accompany the opera 

About Reinaldo Moya
Reinaldo Moya is a graduate of Venezuela’s El Sistema music education system. Through El Sistema, he had access to musical training from an early age and was a founding member of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra touring throughout Europe, North and South America. A graduate of The Juilliard School and a participant in the prestigious John Duffy Composers Institute and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Conce Composers Institute, Moya now lives in Northfield, and is Associate Professor of Composition at Augsburg University. Moya is the recipient of the 2015 McKnight Composers Fellowship, the Van Lier Fellowship from Meet the Composer and the Aaron Copland Award from the Copland House.

About Caitlin Vincent
Caitlin Vincent is an American librettist and lyricist whose writing has been praised as “nuanced and honest” (DC Theatre Scene), “intriguing” (The Baltimore Sun), and “luminous” (The Huffington Post).  Her opera “Better Gods,” with composer Luna Pearl Woolf, premiered in January 2016 at the Kennedy Center as part of Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative. In 2017, Vincent and composer Douglas Buchanan won the prestigious Sackler Music Composition Prize to fund a new opera about Bessie Coleman, the first African-American female aviator, and Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, the first female governor of Texas, for a premiere in 2019.  Other recent commissions include “Nullipara” with composer D. J. Sparr for the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and “Little Black Book” with composer Susan LaBarr for Carnegie Hall.  A classically-trained soprano, Vincent graduated cum laude from Harvard University and holds a Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory and a PhD from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. 

About Augsburg University
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at Augsburg.edu.

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