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Little Jo
A Folk-Opera by John Donald Robb

Tickets Now On Sale!

A Project of the John Donald Robb Musical Trust

Oil Painting for Little Jo Production courtesy of Frank McCulloch
Image, courtesy of Dick Ruddy, photographer

Three Performances
ay, October 21– Saturday, October 22, 2005

At the Hispanic Cultural Center

Little Jo
A Folk-Opera by John Donald Robb

When: Friday & Saturday
October 21, 22, 2005
  Friday, October 21 @ 10am:
A Special Free Admission Performance for Youth
Friday & Saturday, October 21 & 22:
Evening Performances at 8pm.

Where: Hispanic Cultural Center
  Roy E. Disney Center for Performing Arts
  Journal Theater

Tickets Now On Sale:
  National Hispanic Cultural Center Box Office: 505-724-4771
Ticketmaster.com , ph) 505-883-7800
Ticket Prices:
($5 discount for students and seniors-must show valid ID)


With the Help of Sponsors (like you!)

  To help sponsor this performance, please
Click here for a pledge card
Contact Alicia Ultan at 277-8967 or
email her at aultan@unm.edu

Conducted by Guillermo Figueroa:

The John D. Robb Musical Trust is pleased to announce that Guillermo Figueroa, Music Director of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra since 2001, will be the Music Director for the production of Little Jo.A conductor and violinist, Figueroa is one of the most renowned and versatile musicians of his generation. A member of Puerto Rico's most distinguished musical family, he was named Music Director of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra in 2000, after serving as that orchestra's Principal Guest Conductor for several seasons.

The tenth Music Director for the NMSO, he became the first Puerto Rican-born conductor to lead an important orchestra in the United States. With this orchestra he made his debut as a conductor on CD, a highly acclaimed performance of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, and works by Berlioz and Ravel.
Figueroa made his Lincoln Center conducting debut with the New York City Ballet in 1994 and in his dual role as soloist and conductor he has appeared with the Kansas City Symphony, the Colorado Symphony and the Iceland Symphony. He has been guest conductor of the New Jersey Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the El Salvador Symphony, the Orquesta del Teatro Municipal de Rio de Janeiro, and with Ballet Memphis and Ballets de San Juan.
This season marks his debut with the Phoenix Symphony. Figueroa is a Founding Member of the world-renowned conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, which is celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2003. With this group he has been concertmaster and soloist in acclaimed performances through the US, Europe and Asia. Orpheus made over fifty recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, many led by Figueroa.
Committed to the music of his native Puerto Rico, Figueroa has given the world premieres of works by important composers such as Ernesto Cordero, Raymond Torres, Carlos Vazquez and Mariano Morales.
One composer that has merited special attention from Figueroa is Roberto Sierra, the Composer-in Residence of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Albany Records has released the premiere recording of the oratorio Bayoán, by Sierra, with the Bronx Arts Ensemble Orchestra and Chorus, led by Figueroa.
For more about Guillermo Figueroa and the New Mexico Symphony go to: www.nmso.org

The Inspiration for Little Jo:
Robert Bright's novel, The Life and Death of Little Jo, inspired John D. Robb, then Dean of the University of New Mexico's College of Fine Arts, and a pioneer collector of Hispanic folk songs in New Mexico, to write an opera which would incorporate folk music of the Southwest.
For Spanish Version
click here.

The Story of Little Jo:
Inocencia's sings a lullaby to her newborn son, Little Jo. She is interrupted by an officer looking for her husband Eloy, who has escaped from jail. Rafael, Eloy's brother, and his wife Luz vow to turn Eloy in, but their plot is halted by a curandera, and the villagers bid farewell to Eloy, who will have to flee. Twelve years pass. It is the Feast of San Ysidro and there is singing and dancing. Inocencia suffers a fatal heart attack, and Little Jo is taken to live with his uncle. Six years later, Jo is working hard for his uncle, Vidal, his cousin, sits and gloats. Jo joins the Penitentes and is honored by being chosen Cristo. Luz and Rafael turn him out. On a stormy night, with the river flooding and the houses in danger, the villagers spend the night in the general store on higher ground. Jo and his sweetheart, Mela, discuss their marriage plans. While Jo sleeps, Mela steals a dress for her wedding. The next day, in an attempt to protect Mela, Jo buries the dress in the cemetery. Vidal arrives and threatens Jo with a gun. Trying to defend himself with a shovel, Jo kills his cousin. Like his father before him, Little Jo must leave the village and his loved ones.
For Spanish Version click here.

Goals / Objectives / Scope:
To produce John Donald Robb's World War II folk opera, Little Jo at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) October 21-23, 2005. Set in a northern New Mexico Hispanic farming community. Features sacred and secular cultural practices and indigenous music relevant to multi-generations of New Mexicans.
To advance the understanding of music of the Southwest, i.e., the Hispanic folk tradition, through preservation, performance, and education.
"To inspire audiences to become knowledgeable about their own heritage and the heritage of New Mexico by becoming familiar with and utilizing the archives at the NHCC and the UNM Center for Southwest Research (CSWR).
To develop a cooperative effort in the community among the Robb Trust and local professional and educational entities utilizing New Mexico resident artists and providing opportunities for UNM student mentorship.
To introduce the folk opera to audiences in specifically targeted communities in New Mexico, allowing discovery and revitalization of their appreciation and awareness of cultural traditions.

Need for the Project in the Community:
New Mexico's unique culture and traditions provide impetus for raising awareness of its heritage. Robb was a New Mexico composer and collector whose work preserved indigenous folk music that would have been lost. Little Jo is an accessible production that offers both entertainment and education value to New Mexico audiences.

Expected Results:
Little Jo will reach approximately 2,000 people in three performances at the NHCC.
Outreach efforts will expand the impact of the project. The Trust will bring performances of excerpts from Little Jo into underserved schools and communities in order to inspire young people to learn and become excited about New Mexico's cultural heritage, their own personal histories, and cultural connections with the arts.
New opportunities for student mentorship and levels of cooperation between professional community entities and UNM.
Increased public awareness of archival resources at the NHCC and UNM's Center for Southwest Research and John D. Robb's contribution to preserving New Mexico cultural resources.

Personell & Project Implementation:
The Robb Trust: governed by a volunteer board of business and professional community leaders, many of whom are professional musicians and educators.
Robb Trust Executive Director, Alicia Ultan (6 years tenure). Ms. Ultan has an extensive background in arts administration, including positions as Publicity Coordinator w/ Outpost Productions, Education and State Tour Director, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Program Director for Young Audiences, MN and Very Special Arts MN and others. She is also a professional musician.
James Bratcher and Darlene Evers, Producers: Jim Bratcher is retired Artistic Director and Music Director of Opera Southwest; currently the organist at St. Bernadette's Catholic Church, and a Robb Board member. Darlene Evers is a retired professional singer and voice professor, University of Texas, El Paso, and a Robb Board member.
Other professionals from community arts entities, members of the faculty of UNM's Music, Dance, and Theatre Departments, and personnel from Albuquerque Public Schools.
David Chavez will be serving as stage director. He has recently directed an 'updated' version of West Side Story called Feeling Pretty and directed and choreographed the Nutcracker Suite performance done by local children this past December.


Contact Us!
Call (505) 277-8967 or email robbtrst@unm.edu

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