LA Opera Presents Carla Lucero’s Groundbreaking New Work

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On Saturday, March 19, the Los Angeles Opera presents two shows of CalArts alum Carla Lucero’s (Music BFA 86) The Three Women of Jerusalem (Las tres mujeres de Jerusalén), a groundbreaking live performance at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

Conducted by LA Opera Music Director James Conlon, The Three Women of Jerusalem is the first in The Song of Los Angeles, a five-opera cycle of community opera works in the county leading up to 2028, when the city is slated to host the Summer Olympics. The show is also its first first opera by a woman composer, and the first Spanish-language opera in its Cathedral series.

More about the opera from the official release:

Sung in Spanish with projected English translation, The Three Women of Jerusalem is based on the Passion narrative of the Eighth Station of the Cross, depicting the women who weep for Jesus as He is forced toward the crucifixion. The opera imagines what these unnamed women were like, showing the experiences of ordinary people sharing their compassion when confronted with evil.

The production will also feature more than 100 additional cast members—pre-recorded performances by singers, instrumentalists, and dancers around the world will be projected onto the cathedral’s screens. Alongside Conlon’s conducting and audience participation, the family-friendly opera conveys universal themes of community and compassion. 

“I hope that audiences identify with the tests of faith and conscience that the three women in the opera face,” Lucero shared in an interview with LA Opera. “In the end, following our conscience is having faith in the goodness within us and acting accordingly. This is a universal concept to me, and not specific to any religious belief. Through empathy comes tangible goodness and change for the better, if we put away our fears. The Passion can be uplifting and motivating.”

Both Saturday performances (3 pm and 6:30 pm) are presented free of charge. 

Lucero is a composer and librettist who aims to “move people to rethink stereotypes and empower the voiceless and invisible” through her music. Among her acclaimed works are WOURNOS (2001), about serial killer Aileen Wournos; and Juana (2019), about Hieronymite nun and feminist scholar Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Her current works-in-progress are an opera about Helen Keller called touch, and a pandemic-inspired chamber opera titled Luz.

Read more about Lucero and The Three Women of Jerusalem in the ninth issue of The Pool.

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PUBLISHED BY Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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