El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering)

Music by Javier Martínez, Libretto by Leonard Foglia

San Diego Civic Theatre
1100 Third Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Friday, December 1, 2023 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, December 3, 2023 at 2:00 pm

Join us 90 minutes prior to curtain for pre-opera activities including live music, a photo station and interactive display, and delicious food and drinks for sale. Click here for more information.

In this family Christmas story, the beauty of opera blends with lively mariachi to tell a heartwarming pastorela accompanied by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.


In a small town in Michoacán, Mexico, two women, Renata and Lupita, are raising their families while their husbands, Laurentino and Chucho, work as braceros in the United States. Laurentino manages to come home for Christmas, but his return enflames an ongoing argument with Renata about his long work trips. Will Laurentino’s urge to support his family overshadow Renata’s desire to keep her family together in a rapidly changing world?

This new mariachi opera lovingly explores family traditions in the face of life-changing decisions and dreams of something more.

Sung in Spanish, this opera marks the welcome return of mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa, who made her Company debut as La Badessa/Zita in 2022’s The Puccini Duo, as Josefina. She is joined by mezzo-soprano Sishel Claverie as Renata and baritone Héctor Vásquez, who made his Company debut as Capitán in 2018’s Florencia en el Amazonas, as Aba. Stage Director Leonard Foglia (Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, El pasado nunca se termina, and Moby-Dick), returns to stage his libretto with James Lowe conducting.

LANGUAGE – Sung in Spanish with English and Spanish text projected above the stage

RUN TIME – 1 hour and 15 minutes, with no intermission.

Pre-Show Party

Starting one and a half hours before every performance, there will be live music, wonderful decorations, themed food and drink for purchase, and other surprises. Come early and enjoy the party!

Pre-Opera Talk

The pre-opera talk begins at 6:40 pm before the 7:30 pm Friday evening performance. The Sunday matinee pre-opera talk begins at 1:10 pm before the 2:00 pm curtain.

Mainstage Post-Opera Talk-Back

Stay after the performance for a Talk-Back. Once the curtain falls, there will be a 10-minute break, then join us in the front of the Dress Circle section where you can ask questions of the stars and cast (subject to availability), and find out what really happened onstage and backstage during the performance!

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Sishel Claverie

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Federico de Michelis

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Vanessa Alonzo

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Bernardo Bermudez

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Claudia Chapa

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Héctor Vásquez

Cast Guadalupe Paz

Guadalupe Paz
La Mujer

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Leonard Foglia

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James Lowe

Synopsis in English

It’s Christmas Eve in 1962 in a small town in Michoacán, Mexico, and the tight-knit community is rehearsing for their annual pastorela. In this traditional folk drama, a group of shepherds tries to reach the city of Bethlehem to meet baby Jesus by following a bright star that is guiding their way. They are stopped by Satan, who tries to tempt them off their path, but Saint Michael the Archangel defends them from the prince of evil. While some of the older members of the community have performed almost every role over the years, 7-year-old Rafael will be participating in his very first pastorela this year.

The town’s plaza is decorated for the festivities, and townspeople are dressed as angels and shepherds. Renata and Lupita are best friends, and their husbands are away in the United States, working to help support their families. This is the first time they will be separated for the holidays.

Sinopsis en Español

Es la Nochebuena de 1962 en un pequeño pueblo de Michoacán, México, y la comunidad que es muy unida, está ensayando para su pastorela anual. En este drama folclórico tradicional, un grupo de pastores intenta llegar a la ciudad de Belén para encontrarse con el niño Jesús al seguir a una brillante estrella que guía su camino. Son detenidos por Satanás, quien intenta tentarlos y desviar su camino, pero San Miguel Arcángel los defiende del príncipe del mal. Mientras que algunos de los miembros mayores de la comunidad han interpretado casi todos los papeles a lo largo de los años, Rafael, de 7 años, participará en su primera pastorela este año.

La plaza está decorada para las festividades y los habitantes del pueblo están vestidos como ángeles y pastores. Renata y Lupita son mejores amigas, y sus esposos están fuera en Estados Unidos trabajando para ayudar a mantener a sus familias. Esta es la primera vez que estarán separados durante las fiestas.

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