A Dead Opera in Four Acts

Imperial Silence: Una Ópera Muerta / A Dead Opera in Four Acts is a bilingual new media opera that fuses animation with live Mariachi music and Mexican folklore dance in a contemporary interpretation of the Chicana/o tradition of the Days of the Dead. This hybrid performance explores cultural taboos around silence, war and death with dark humored animation and mariachi flavored hip hop, blues and bossa nova music. The project is directed by animator and librettist John Jota Leaños with musical compositions by Cristóbal Martinez and the mariachi ensemble, Los Cuatro Vientos, and choreography by Joel Valentin Martinez. The project is conceptually rooted in the ancient satirical tradition of the Days of the Dead that portrays the dead laughing at and buffooning the constant hubris and folly of the living. In this context, the work speaks to the United States’ long history of silencing dissent and alternative perspectives during times of war as well as the tactical and ideological avoidance of talking about death, a history of silencing that Leaños has identified as “imperial silence.”


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18 Mighty Mountain Warriors    |    Chusma   |    Degenerate Art Ensemble    |    John Leaños' Imperial Silence
Ledoh/Salt Farm    |    Navarrete x Kajiyama    |    Guillermo Gómez-Peña's La Pocha Nostra