John Jota Leaños, Imperial Silence. Photo: Gordon Huang

Hispanic Heritage Month: Chicago Museum’s Mexican-inspired opera

Death has a bad reputation in most places but is often celebrated in Mexican culture. A new daring multimedia work entitled Imperial Silence: Una Ópera Muerta features “dark, humored animation” with Mexican neo-folkloric dance, Mariachi, hip-hop, bossa nova, and blues featuring the Tuscon-based Mariachi ensemble Los Cuatro Vientos.

The work has caught the eye of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, which has decided to open its 16th MCA Stage season with  Imperial Silence. Created by San Francisco-based  director John Jota Leaños along with Chicago-based choreographer Joel Valentín-Martínez and New Mexico-based DJ/composer Cristóbal Martinez,  Imperial Silence will kick-off Hispanic heritage month for the museum.

Conceived as an opera and broken into four acts, Imperial Silence touches on themes of silence, death, and dissent, commonly seen as cultural taboos. In the fourth act titled DNN: Dead News Network, Leaños and co. include headline events such as Hurricane Katrina to depict what they call the “spin” in the world of corporate news media.

For his piece, which features live music and dance, the director called upon dozens of artists, writers, and community members for his re-imagining of historical and current events.

Imperial Silence: Una Ópera Muerta will take place Friday September 14 to Sunday September 16 in the Edlis Neeson Theater at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

For more Hispanic Heritage kickoff events around the country, check out Remezcla’s handy list of events.

RELATED: Hispanic Heritage Month Fail – EPA celebrates Latinos with Che Guevara, plagiarism

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