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El Paso Opera presents a night of “Mozart by Moonlight” at McKelligon Canyon

Leora Zeitlin

It will be a night of Mozart, mountains, and even a little mariachi music when El Paso Opera offers its first-ever “Mozart by Moonlight” concert at McKelligon Canyon this Saturday night. Four opera singers from the region will join four young performers and a 30-piece orchestra to perform arias from four of Mozart’s operas in a concert performance led by conductor Bohuslav Rattay.

“We were trying to focus on those things locally that set us apart from other places around the country,” said Arianne Marcee, the new executive director of El Paso Opera, when telling KRWG’s Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin how they decided to perform in McKelligon Canyon. “When you have an amphitheater that is literally carved into the side of a mountain, you cannot be more unique and more El Paso than that.”

Soprano Kellie Rumba-Rattay, mezzo-soprano Cherry Duke, Metropolitan opera tenor Brian Downen and bass-baritone Ricardo Herrera will be the soloists in Saturday’s concert. El Paso Opera is also committed to reaching younger audiences, and invites area students and schools to come to their dress rehearsal on Friday night, billed as a “Youth Night at the Opera. “We’re creating the next generation of opera lovers and opera aficionados. We do it with every performance we do,” Marcee said. Students attending on Friday night must be accompanied by an adult.

For those wanting to add a Cinco de Mayo celebration to the evening, there will be a Cinco de Mayo Mozart Fiesta beforehand, with Mexican food, drinks, and mariachi music preceding the concert from 5 to 7 p.m. The Mozart by Moonlight concert begins at 7:30 p.m.