About the Grant

$26,000 to support Imperial Silence: Una Ópera Muerta / A Dead Opera in Four Acts (MAP 2008), a multimedia performance that journeys to the ‘other’ side to illuminate cultural taboos around silence, death, and dissent in the satirical Mexican and Chicana/o tradition of the Days of the Dead. This hybrid performance fuses dark humored animation with Mexican folklore dance, Mariachi music, hip-hop, bossa nova and blues conceived and created by director/librettist, John Jota Leaños, composer Cristóbal Martinez, and the Mariachi ensemble, Los Cuatro Vientos. The live/dead performance includes a live DJ, stage actors, folklore dancers, and Mariachi singers who interact with projected animations.

About the Project

The opera’s four acts include:
Act I—Los ABCs ¡Qué Vivan los Muertos! --an animated primer on war and empire
Act II—Deadtime Stories with Mariachi Goose and Friends --an animation that re-examines Mother Goose children’s rhymes and culminates with the great fall of Humpty Mariachi Dumpty
Act III—¡Radio Muerto! --a live performance and animation of a skeleton traveling
the road to Mictlan (the Aztec underworld) while listening to the radio
Act IV—DNN: Dead News Network --a dead animated newscast exploring the silencing of dissent and “spin” in the corporate news media

The opera’s Intermezzi involve a live electronic mix and acoustic Mariachi accompaniment of the baroque songs “El Corrido de Pat Tillman,” “Lamento Desaparecido,” “This is the House that Blacks Built” and others.

Related Websites

Galeria de la Raza


Grantee Search

Pick any or all criteria.

Enter names, keywords or phrases, e.g. "2004" or "dance":