Octavio Moreno has performed many times with Opera in the Heights, but the ConciertOh! De Invierno concert hits a personal note. The Latin American zarzuelas (opera-like, with both sung and spoken sections), boleros and música navideña (Christmas music) on the program are the music Moreno grew up with in Mexico. “This is what I grew up listening to,” he tells us. “This music is what pushed me to pursue a musical career. Even today, I try to do some of this music whenever I can; it’s too beautiful for me to let go. It’s music that I feel it deep in my heart, in my soul.
“Also, I love romantic music and two of the two arias [I sing] are very romantic.” Opera in the Heights Executive Director Mariam Khalili approached Moreno and a few other singers with the idea for the concert a few months ago. The organization had done a similar event several years ago and when the subject of a holiday concert came up, Khalili suggested ConciertOh! Along with Moreno, the lineup of performers includes Claudia Chapa, James Rodriguez, Arnold Yzaguirre, Patrick Contreras and pianist Brian Suits.
Moreno switches roles for a few songs, going from singer to accompanist when he picks up a guitar in the second half of the show. “I play on ‘Granada’ for Patrick. [Playing guitar,] that’s an obscure part of my life, one that I really enjoy.”
Does a zarzuelas concert being performed by an American opera company surprise Moreno? “Actually, no. Opera in the Heights isn’t a Latin American organization, but it also isn’t an Italian organization or a German organization; nevertheless, they’re doing Italian opera and German opera. I think we, the whole world, has gotten to a point where pretty much everything is everybody’s. In a country like this, where you can look around and see Irish people, Africans, Germans all in one place, adding a program like this makes sense.”
7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights. For information, call 713-861-5303 or visit operaintheheights.org. $25.
ORGANIZER DESCRIPTION: Join Opera in the Heights (Oh!) for ConciertOh! de Invierno, a special holiday concert highlighting some of Oh’s most outstanding Hispanic artists in a way that that allows them to show off different styles of music. Oh!’s concert series will feature traditional zarzuelas, boleros and música navideña (Christmas music) that have broad appeal. (Zarzuela is a Spanish lyric dramatic opera genre alternating between spoken and sung scenes, and bolero is slow tempo Latin music.)
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