Opera Piccola

Janet Rogers

It’s a good time to be an opera fan in San Antonio. In addition to the newly-formed Opera San Antonio, Opera Piccola, led by longtime singer and impresario Mark Richter, opens their third season this weekend at the historic Empire Theatre. On the bill are two one-act operas that capture America in the 1950s.

On May 10 and 11, Opera Piccola are bringing two operas to the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre stage.

“Anytime we get to perform or present two pieces of new opera in a place for the first time, it’s exciting," said Opera Piccola Artistic Director Mark Richter. 

“There are two one-act operas; two very different kinds of experiences," he said. "One, of course, is derived from the ancient tale of Orpheus and how he follows his love Eurydice into the underworld after she dies.”

You may have heard of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Along with the San Antonio Symphony's "Rusalka," another opera is coming. It’s called "La Curandera," and it’s got a fascinating backstory.

“La Curandera is a very special opera for us," said Opera Piccola General Director Mark Richter about the opera written by former San Antonian Robert Xavier Rodriguez. It’s modeled after Mozart’s "Bastien and Bastiene," but with a twist.

"It’s definitely Mexican culture that’s going to be in the music and on the stage," Richter said.

Opera Piccola

Opera Piccola's season starts with a few surprises and amongst those is a big one: Moving into downtown’s Charline McCombs Empire theater.

"It only seats 800 people," said General Director Mark Richter, "so no matter where you sit in the Empire Theater, it’s a tremendous seat."

They’ve also begun positioning the company in a way unlike what many people think when they think of opera.

Chris Eudaily / TPR

On, Tuesday night after the San Antonio Spurs won Game 3 to go up 2-1 over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, Opera Piccola San Antonio's founder Mark Richter was happy.

"I hope we run the Heat out of town, and I hope we finish them here in San Antonio!"

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