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Heather Dials joins Camerata del Sol in free mini-concerts at area churches

Leora Zeitlin

Although we’re still not able to go to full performances in indoor venues, soprano Heather Dials and Camerata del Sol have been offering a musical gift to listeners in Las Cruces and El Paso: free mini-concerts at area churches with music selected for the weeks leading up to, and now following, Easter. The 30-minute program of arias by Bach and Handel has already been presented in several churches with more scheduled for the coming weeks. For Dials, who has performed on opera stages around the world and now makes her home in Las Cruces, the concerts are an opportunity to sing two arias she has never sung in concert before.

“Any time I can sing Bach, I am so excited,’ she said in this Zoom interview with Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin and Camerata del Sol’s artistic director, Daniel Vega-Albela. “Especially the St. Matthew’s Passion during this time of year. It is such a gorgeous, gorgeous piece of music.” The aria they’ve selected, “Erbarme dich, mein Gott,” asks for divine mercy, and is to a large degree a duet between the singer and the violin, played by Daniel Vega-Albela.

The concert also includes arias from Handel’s “Messiah” and the aria “Lascia ch’io pianga” from his opera Rinaldo. “If you want to learn anything as a singer, Handel will teach it to you,” Dials said. Vega-Albela, who fell in love with opera at a young age, added that “there’s something really special about Baroque opera” and performing this aria has “been on my bucket list that I have been wanting to do forever.”

Listen to the full interview for more about the music, Baroque performance style, the origins of opera, and much more. The musical clips in the interview feature Dials and Camerata del Sol in their March 21 concert at First Presbyterian Church in Las Cruces. Upcoming performances include tonight at the Newman Center at 6:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 18, in the community gardens of University United Methodist Church, at 3 p.m. Audience members will be required to follow the churches’ safety guidelines. The concert can also be heard online on Camerata del Sol’s Youtube channel. Here’s the full interview:

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