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Fire Island Opera Festival: Marfa

A series of opera performances and education programs in Marfa this December 4-6, 2015.


Friday, December 4 - Opera à la Carte, Jett’s Grill at Hotel Paisano 

Saturday, December 5 - Free Voice Lessons at Marfa Visitor Center/USO Building

Saturday, December 5 - A musical journey through the Seven Chakras at the Crowley Theater 

Sunday, December 6 - Walk Opera at the Dixon Water Foundation Mimms Ranch


Jeremy Hirsch, bass-baritone

Samantha Malk, mezzo-soprano

Francesca Mondanaro, soprano

Amy Shoremount-Obra, soprano

Piano – Patrick Harvey

Set Design and Projections –  Charles Mary Kubricht


Fire Island Opera Festival commissioned new one-act operas and brought revivals of forgotten gems. Their West Texas performances converged artists from the world of opera, theater, classical music, and visual art.


Friday, December 4, 2015, 9pm
Opera à la Carte, Jett’s Grill at Hotel Paisano 

The weekend kicked off with a musical tasting menu of some of the greatest arias in the operatic repertoire including Carmen, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, Tosca and a surprise musical dessert to conclude.

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 11.30am-1pm
Voice Lessons, USO Marfa Visitors Center

On Saturday our peerless and fearless opera singers led the community of Marfa and students of all ages through voice lessons. Artistic Director Edwin Cahill began with discovery exercises and group breathing. Then renowned South African voice teacher and mezzo soprano Samantha Malk led vocal exercises. Students worked up an appetite and were treated to frito pies after class. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 8pm (Doors at 7.30pm)
Feature Performance, Crowley Theater 

The centerpiece of this exciting weekend of performances was a collaboration with artist Charles Mary Kubricht in the Crowley Theater. Opera singers took the audience on an immersive journey through the primary chakra states of survival, pleasure, confidence, love, compassion, imagination, and acceptance of inner beauty with arias, songs, duets, and trios from operas by Mozart, Handel, Bizet, Gounod, and Weill. We explored a journey through the chakras or energy centers of the body with a series of operatic musical tableaux in counterpoint with newly commissioned projections by Charles Mary Kubricht inspired by the color and gem stones of each of the seven chakras and the starry skies of Marfa. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015, 1-4pm 
Walk Opera (hike and outdoor performance), Mimms Ranch

The festival concluded with an extraordinary afternoon at the Dixon Water Foundation's Mimms Ranch. Before embarking on a walk with the singers, participants gathered at the ranch house where audience members were invited to write down on a piece of paper a negative thought or energy that he or she would like to release. The artists sang a walking opera over the hike to the Mimms Ranch viewing area designed by Joey Benton. There encountered soprano Francesca Mondanaro who collected the papers and sang the “Casta Diva” from Norma by Bellini as a blessing. At the end of the aria, the papers were buried and the artists and audience shared a celebratory toast. (The hike to viewing area was 2.5 miles each way)



Tom Michael interviews JD DiFabbio, Edwin Cahill and Francesca Mondanaro on West Texas Talk for Marfa Public Radio. 

Lorne Matalon interviews Edwin Cahill live from the Dixon Water Foundation’s Mimms Ranch for Marfa Public Radio.

Fire Island Opera Festival Artistic Director – Edwin Cahill

Fire Island Opera Festival Music Director – Bradley Moore

Marfa Live Arts Co-Producers – JD DiFabbio and Jennie Lyn Hamilton

Production Assistant – Cate Schrim 


Fire Island Opera Festival: Marfa is generously supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Women for The Arts, and City of Marfa. Education program supported by Texas Women for the Arts. In-kind support provided by Hotel Paisano, Jett’s Grill, Treaty Oak Distilling Co., Austin, TX, Chinati Foundation, The Get Go, Marfa Maid Dairy, and Boyz 2 Men. Special thanks to Yoseff Ben-Yehuda, Vicki Barge, Joe & Lanna Duncan, Megan Wilde & Robert Potts of Dixon Water Foundation, Paul Graybeal & Moonlight Gemstones, Michael Roch, Rob Crowley, Tim Crowley, Crowley Theater, Gory Smelley & Marfa Recording Co., Dan Dunlap, Marfa Public Radio, Sasha von Oldershausen & Big Bend Sentinel, Katy Rose Elsasser, Sarah Vasquez, Asa Merritt, Minerva Lopez, Renee Mick,Tasha Petty, Rae Anna Hample, Laura Shell, Meghan Gerety, Quality Quinn, Buck Johnston, Sabrina Franzheim, Malinda Beeman, and Jessica Allen.




Slideshow photo credits above: Charles Mary Kubricht, Shifting Distance, a series seven of projected images commissioned by Marfa Live Arts for A musical journey through THE SEVEN CHAKRAS performed at the Crowley Theater with the Fire Island Opera Festival. Dark sky images are Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech, NASA/CXC/SAO/STScI/JPL-Caltech, X-ray: NASA/CXC/NASA/JPL-Caltech. 

For more images of the Fire Island Opera Festival: Marfa weekend please visit our Facebook page.


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