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CARIBE CLASICO Presented by Lyric Unlimited and PRAA
Source: Lyric Opera of Chicago

CHICAGO (4/23/2018) – Lyric Unlimited in collaboration with the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA), is excited to present Caribe Clásico, an evening of vocal and orchestral music dedicated to the classical sounds of zarzuelas, beloved Puerto Rican melodies, and popular Mexican boleros. The celebratory concert will take place on Saturday, May 19 at 7:30pm at Roberto Clemente Community Academy (1147 N. Western Avenue, Chicago).

Caribe Clásico, curated and led by conductor Roselín Pabón, will feature Latino artists and a 15-piece string orchestra. Soloists include soprano María Laetitia Hernández (Puerto Rico), tenor Rafael Moras (Mexico), cuatrista Carlos Gabriel Cabrera (Puerto Rico), and guitarist Hermelindo Ruiz (Puerto Rico). The program will include traditional zarzuela arias, cherished traditional Mexican songs such as Malagueña Salerosa and Granada, and selections by famed Puerto Rican composer Rafael Hernández.

The event is part of Lyric’s ongoing Caminos a la ópera initiative, which expands Lyric’s commitment to Chicago’s Latino communities, and marks the first collaborative program with PRAA. PRAA is a multi-disciplinary arts organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Puerto Rican culture and fostering community pride. The collaboration draws on the strengths of each organization to present an evening of compelling music with deep cultural connection.

"This exciting concert is a great opportunity to bring together music and artists from Puerto Rico and Mexico in a celebration of classical and traditional music," said Cayenne Harris, vice president of Lyric Unlimited. "We are thrilled to collaborate with the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance to make this possible."

"El Caribe Clásico represents a groundbreaking step in the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance’s effort to expand appreciation of the depth and diversity of Puerto Rican/Latino musical expression," said Carlos Hernandez-Falcon, founder and executive director of the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance. "As the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance celebrates its 20th Anniversary in 2018-19, we are proud to feature this unique partnership with Lyric Unlimited, which allows us to bridge cultures, communities, and generations."


Roselín Pabón (Conductor) is director emeritus of the Symphony Orchestra of Puerto Rico, as well as the professor of instrumental management and director of the Symphony Orchestra of the Conservatory. For over thirty years, he has directed a variety of symphonies, operas, zarzuelas, ballets, and pop music performances worldwide. 

María Leticia Hernández (Soprano) won first place two years in a row in the Metropolitan National Council Auditions in Florida District (2013 and 2014). She covered Barbarina/Le nozze di Figaro with the Sarasota Opera Apprentice Artist Program (2015) and Mimì/La bohème with Saint Petersburg Opera Company (2016).

Rafael Moras (Tenor) is a recent alumnus of Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Coburn Stein Young Artist Program who has received recognition from major competitions and critics alike. He was a 2014 Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a 2014 Operalia quarterfinalist, and a finalist in Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition in 2013 and 2014. In the summer of 2016, Moras was heard as Rodolfo in La bohème at the Aspen Music Festival. Career highlights include singing alongside Plácido Domingo as a featured soloist in 2014’s When East Meets West with Plácido Domingo, performing the tenor solo in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle under Maestro Domingo, and singing the role of Pong in the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra’s Turandot under Maestro Gustavo Dudamel. 

Carlos Gabriel Cabrera (Cuatro*): Mentored by famed cuatrista Edwin Colón Zayas, Cabrera recorded his first CD at the age of ten after learning to play the cuatro just three years prior. Receiving a full-tuition scholarship, Cabrera recently began studies at the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. (*The Puerto Rican Cuarto is a guitar-like instrument shaped like a violin with five paired strings.  It is considered by many the national instrument of Puerto Rico.)

Hermelindo Ruiz (Guitar) has performed in 12 countries and has been awarded more than a dozen honors, including the "Andrés Segovia" (Compostela, Spain, 2011) and the "Orden Ángel Mislán" (Puerto Rico, 2009). His recording of the Puerto Rican dances of Juan F. Acosta was chosen as one of the best albums of 2014 in Puerto Rico.

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