Dec 12, 2022 - Things to Do

"El Milagro del Recuerdo" at the Houston Grand Opera

A photo of a blue playbill in front of a stage

A mariachi opera at the Houston Grand Opera. Photo: Shafaq/Axios

The Houston Grand Opera brings back "El Milagro del Recuerdo" (The Miracle of Remembering) this holiday season after its success in 2019.

Driving the show: "El Milagro del Recuerdo" is a mariachi opera that follows two families in 1962 in Michoacán, Mexico, struggling with the absence of their husbands and fathers, who are in the U.S. as part of the Bracero visa program.

  • The families put on the pastorela, a Mexican tradition of reenacting a Christmas story.
  • The opera explores concepts of the American dream and what it means to be separated from your family.

Context: "El Milagro del Recuerdo" is the second mariachi opera to be commissioned by HGO and only the third mariachi opera to ever be written. Much of the original cast from the 2019 world premiere returned for this revival.

If you go: The show runs till Dec. 18. Tickets range from $30 to $107.

Shafaq here! I saw this show on opening night and had high expectations after my mom and sister enjoyed it in 2019.

💭 My thought bubble: I loved the concept behind the opera and the themes presented. It showed a touching family story.

  • Although my family's immigration story is very different from those of the Mexican families in the show, I found similarities. And it was beautiful to see those stories on a grand stage.
  • I hope more mariachi operas and diverse stories are brought to and commissioned by HGO.

Yes, but: I'm not an opera expert, but the show lacked some heart for me.

  • Maybe it was because the opera was in a smaller theater, or 78 minutes was too short, or the audio didn't fill the room, but I didn't feel it had as high production as the other operas I've seen at the HGO.
  • I was also promised mariachis, and I wish the music was better integrated in the show.

My highlights: I loved the comedic reliefs and when the priest was contemplating his life choices.

  • But my favorite part was hearing how the people around me appreciated the show. There was a camera for people to record their reactions, and I saw so many Latino families express their love for "El Milagro del Recuerdo."
  • I met two young girls who said it was their first time at the opera and that it was magical and "the best thing ever."

The bottom line: "El Milagro del Recuerdo" was an enjoyable holiday-themed opera.


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