Theatrical music



Leoncio y Lena (1980-1981)
Leonce and Lena

Opera in two acts, based on a text by Georg Büchner, for soloists, chamber choir and instrumental ensemble; libretto by José Ramón Enríquez; commissioned by the Department of Theater, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; premiered in 1981.

The libretto of this opera is inspired by the only comic work of the great German playwright Georg Büchner. Its interest is two-fold, in that it was meant to be sung by actors, and that through its musical depitction of the original dramatic argument, the work transgresses principle conventions of the genre. By using excesses and jokes, the composer brings all of the exaggeration, decadence and corruption inherent in our social institutions and traditions to the stage.

This work recieved the "Premio de la Unión de Críticos de Teatro y Música" (prize) in 1981 and has been re-staged on four occasions. more



Orestes parte (1981)
Orestes leaves

Opera in nine scenes for soloists and orchestra; libretto by José Ramón Enríquez; commissioned by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes; premiered in 1984.

This second opera is from a libretto that reworks the Orestes myth into one in which the main character does not kill his mother, Clytemnestra. The composer adopts a rough, dramatic tone, the exposive moments of which are skillfully contained within the limits of the tragic discourse. He shapes a score rich in timbre and rhythms and exploits all the resources of the orchestra and vocal skills of each soloist. The tension and expressive contrast inherent in this tragic genre require the composer's enhanced treatment and result in this demanding material.

This work was the winner of the "Premio de la Unión de Críticos de Teatro y Música" (prize) in 1988, and has been re-staged once. more


Madre Juana (1986)
Mother Joan

Opera in two acts and eight scenes for soloists and chamber orchestra, libretto by José Ramón Enríquez; commissioned by the Department of Music and Opera of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes [or National Institute of Fine Arts]; premiered in 1993.

The argument of this opera comes from various sources: the novel, "The Devils of Loudun", by Aldous Huxley, and the film, "Mother Joan of the Angels", by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, based on the novel of Jaroslaw Iwaskiewicz. The challenge and merit of this score lie in its exposing and developing (in the dramatic text as much as the music) the idea of a rarified space filled with oppressive trauma, where demonic posession and its consequences occur in the cloistered ambiance of convent life.

This work was recorded with the assistance of the Escuela Nacional de Música de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (CD ENM – 1993).more



El pequeño príncipe (1988)
The Little Prince

Opera in one act for soloists and chamber orchestra; based on the original version by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and adapted by Luis de Tavira; commissioned by California State University; premiered in 1988.

As with "Leoncio y Lena", this work was originally written to be sung by actors. The libretto maintains the original characters and primary scenes of the initial work and the score is characterized by its fine and delicate treatment of the voices and reduced instrumental accompaniment. This quality creates a reflective and dreamy atmosphere that counterbalances the quick succession of scenes that occupy the accelerated time frame of the work.

It has beenre-staged twice. more



Alicia (1989-1990)

Opera in two acts for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, based on the Alice books of Lewis Carroll; adaptation by José Ramón Enríquez; composed with the support of the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes; stage debut in 1995.

The libretto is a fusion of the two books that Lewis Carroll dedicated to the character of Alice and her world: "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass". The score of the opera has great variety in the vocal treatment of the soloists' parts, and exhibits virtuosic handling of the orchestral music. Owing to inherent argumentative contrasts the score displays a great deal of freedom and understanding of diverse musical genres. Nevertheless, there remains a unity which allows for the staging of Alice's universe. She is the only character who is portrayed by an actress.

This work was awarded the "Accesit al Quinto Premio Jacinto Guerrero a la mejor obra de Teatro Lírico" prize in 1991 (Madrid, Spain). It has been re-staged twice.more



Despertar al sueño (1994)
Awake to the Dream

Opera in one act and eight scenes for soloists and instrumental ensemble; libretto by David Olguín; commissioned by Camerópera de la Ciudad de México in 1994; premiered the same year.

Again, in this short chamber work the composer employs the theatrical mix of sung lyrics and spoken word to animate a libretto inspired by the Count Dracula myth. Although a short work, it musically conveys the highly dramatic confessional expression of the principal character in a setting shaded by painful memories and inevitable decline. more


El juego de los insectos (2007-2008)
Insect play

Opera in two acts with libretto by Verónica Musalem; for soloists, chorus and orchestra, based on a theatrical work by the same name by Karel Câpeck.

The original argument consists of a social criticism embodied by a traveler, disenchanted with the human world, who only finds hope in the world of insects, which ends up being as absurd and cruel. This work has not yet been produced in its entirety, and because of its considerable duration and the magnitude of resources it requires, it constitutes the composer's most ambitious opera.

The plot's acerbically parodying nature allows the composer to demonstrate his notable ability to deal with varied genres in the musical treatment of each episode. He shows this skill with an orchestration of great richness and maturity, while demanding of the singers a unity of dramatic expression and vocal virtuosity. more



Antonieta (2009-2010)

Opera in one act for soloists, chorus and orchestra, with libretto by Verónica Musalem.

This opera was created in the context of the festivities for the bicentennial of independence and the centennial of the Mexican revolution, and constitutes an artistic gesture of great originality. The work's plot centers on the biography of Antonieta Rivas Mercado and her tragic ending, which is far from finding itself among those official celebrations. The aura of Antonieta's death, and of the more significant episodes of her life allow the composer to show once more his talent at transporting us through many contrasting sonic atmospheres without losing the unity that sustains the tragic tone of this work..more




Imágenes del quinto sol (1980)

Images of the Fifth Sun

Ballet in two acts for orchestra; commissioned by the Fondo Nacional para Actividades Sociales.

The music for this ballet is richly orchestrated and revolves around the prehispanic creation myth of the Fifth Sun. The first act, ('Toltecan Images') consists of three scenes: ('The Appearance of the Gods', 'Mictlán' and 'The Feathered Serpent'). The second act, ('Mexica Images'), consists of one scene in three parts: ('Tribe'/'Duo'/'Sacrifice').

This score was awarded the prize, "Nueva música para la Danza" UNAM, 1982
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La caída de los ángeles (1983)
The Fall of the Angels

Ballet choreographed on the percussion ensemble score, "La chute del anges". more

Metamorfosis (1984)

Ballet choreographed on the orchestral score, “Cinco misterios eléusicos”.

© Federico Ibarra- Derechos Reservados - 2011 - créditos -