Latinx Opera Won an Innovation Competition in Music Industry and Business

On Feb 6th of 2021, "The Empire of Light" a brand new opera designed and co-created by Maestro Barbosa-Vásquez, won one of the prizes of the Innovation Competition of the prestigious Jacobs School of Music and the US top-ranked Kelley School of Business of Indiana University. The opera (with Latinx and Pre-Hispanic influences and original in Spanish and English) was built under the "Community Opera" concept allowing professionals, students, and community members to perform opera all together side by side. The Opera is an innovative approach for Opera Sustainability and community development for the artistic and cultural organizations worldwide.

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The creative team lead by Maestro Barbosa-Vásquez was one of the winners of The 8th Annual Innovation Competition on Feb 6th, 2021. The competition was organized by Jacobs School of Music a worldwide leading university in the Opera industry with students, professors, and alumni working in the most important opera companies around the world. And the Kelley School of Business a US top-ranked business school with outstanding business programs and alumni that leads powerful companies around the world. With juries of both schools it also had juries of Carnegie Mellon School of Music and previous winners of the competition.


Barbosa-Vásquez's team won with "The Empire of Light - Community Opera in one Act". With original text in Spanish and English, this Opera is one of the results of state-of-the-art advances in the Opera field. It is the first of a series of brand new Operas that are constructed around the concept of Community Opera. An artistic, music, and pedagogical concept that allows professional musicians, students of music (advance, mid, and beginners), and community members (kids, youths, and adults), to perform opera all together side by side. This is an innovative approach for Opera Sustainability from the financial, artistic, music, and human resources development. Also, is a powerful tool for community development for the Opera industry. The key to this amazing interaction is the multilevel construction of the opera designed by Maestro Diego Barbosa-Vásquez. This is based on the Doctoral Dissertation studies that Barbosa-Vásquez is developing as a part of his studies at Jacobs School of Music with a Major in Opera and Orchestra Conducting and Minors in Arts Administration and Music Theory.

Maestro Barbosa-Vásquez has been working on "The Empire of Light - Community Opera in one Act" since January 2020 leading an Outstanding team of co-creators that have more than 90 years of experience and international trajectory. The Original Libretto in Spanish and English was done by Alonso Cueto Peruvian Internationally awarded writer and Esteban Cueto Peruvian/US Citizen. The Music was done by Daniel Cueto Peruvian/US Citizen composer with a remarkable international career. The Artistic component was designed by Liliana Rocha Colombian Artists, and Gloria Manzanares Spanish artists both with exceptional experience in art mediation and art pedagogy.


The Opera was commissioned by the Opera (Collaborative Arts) Summer Camp in Los Angeles, where Maestro Barbosa-Vásquez is Music and Co-Artistic Director. The date of the premiere by the Opera Camp is going to be announced soon. However, the rental agreements for other productions after the premiere are now in process.

*For rentals please contact directly: operascomunitarias@gmail.com with the Subject: Rent of The Empire of Light – “Name of your Organization”.


Insides of "The Empire of Light - Community Opera in one Act"

©Original Texts and Images from "The Empire of Light - Community Opera in one Act", Jan 2021

Reproduced with the permission of the co-authors.


This score takes into account the state of the developments in pedagogy, music training, fine arts training, opera, and community building. This experience provides training in six artistic aspects around opera with an important component of worldwide cultural literacy. In addition, it is originally written both in English and Spanish becoming a powerful tool for secondary language training.


First, this score offers training for Singers as Soloists and as choir members. Each role is carefully crafted for different levels allowing a broad range of training and experience possibilities. In addition, the criteria for casting each role are carefully described in the score facilitating the casting role of the Stage Director and Conductor.


Second, the Opera offers training for orchestra players. The score is crafted for an orchestra with strings, winds, and percussion, with an organization in multilevel for professionals, students, and amateurs. It contemplates flexible instrumentation in case the people performing the opera require it. It allows schools, music programs, cities, and multiple opera companies to offer valuable training no matter their specific orchestral resources.


Third, the opera offers training in visual arts. It focuses on costumes and scenography with pedagogic strategies that allow the artist crew creative autonomy. For doing so, the participants will get diverse resources about the story, culture, and aesthetic characteristics of the opera theme. The art components are designed to provide training for a wide range of levels and ages.


Furthermore, the opera offers extra composition, theory, and orchestration activities, where the students at different levels could analyze the music of the opera and compose their own music. This project also offers the opportunity for the participants to see and understand different cultures around the globe, in this case, the Pre-Hispanic Andean cultures.


For the above, "The Empire of Light", is a tool for the community to participate and create arts; it is a unique opportunity in which the community is not only a receptor but instead is a creative agent. This opera is the perfect resource for schools, cities, universities, opera companies, orchestras, and artistic organizations around the world; to offer effective training and artistic experience to the community with up to 100 participants per production. In it, each member has the freedom to give their talent and creativity and work as a team to weave community.


Drama and Artistic and Music Description

The Drama of the Opera is based on the myth of the establishment of the great pre-Hispanic Andean civilization: The Incas. In an original Libretto of Alonso and Esteban Cueto the story describes how Inti, the Sun God, decided to create his Empire under the leadership of his sons: Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo, who were born from the water. Both characters travel around the Andean lands looking for the perfect place to bury the Cayado, a golden staff that Inti gave to them for the mission to create the empire. However, the task is not easy, since many of the places where they try to bury are in conflict and chaos. The holy animals of the Inca civilization appear, Amaru (the snake), Condor, and Puma, each trying to get their land as the place where to start the Empire. However Inti was clear, the Empire of Light will be located only where all people are in harmony. To help Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo in this difficult task, Mama Killa, the Moon, appears, giving them calm. After several attempts a place was found. All people felt comfortable on it, all music motives became one and finally they are able to establish the Empire of Light.


The Opera is full of Pre-Hispanic influences being a powerful tool for cultural literacy development. The staging proposal includes descriptions of Inca civilization culture as a way to generate creativity in the participants. In terms of the music, it uses colors, melodic, and harmonic structures usually associated with Peruvian music and Pre-Hispanic music.


About the Community Opera Concept

The concept of Community Opera started in 2018 when Diego Barbosa-Vásquez Co-Founded with the Azusa Conservatory of Music, the Opera Collaborative Arts Summer Camp in Los Angeles, California. There, the community's massive response allowed professionals, students of Music and arts, and the community members, kids and adults, to perform Opera altogether. This remarkable communitarian artistic experience, with an increase of more than 450% in community interaction, is still running under Maestro Barbosa-Vásquez leadership. Now, thanks to the Model that he created in his doctoral dissertation, this experience of Community Opera Summer Camp is planned to be replicated in different parts of the world, becoming an opportunity where professional musicians, students and the community can interact around the Opera and experience this art performing side by side.


With these experiences, Maestro Barbosa-Vásquez realized the necessity of new Operatic scores that could achieve his program necessities. For this reason, he requested commissioning 10 new works within the next 10 years for the Opera Summer Camp in Los Angeles. His request was supported by the Opera Summer Camp Board of Directors and this encouraged Maestro Barbosa-Vásquez to organize and lead a multidisciplinary team to work side by side in the construction of this new concept of community opera. That way he became the creator of the original concept of this new brand; scores and operas were professional musicians, students of music and community members could perform opera all together side by side no matter their previous knowledge.

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