The opera Mariachi chronicles the life of Mexican workers in the 1950s
Oxnard’s ÁNIMO theater company transports audiences to the 1950s to remember Mexican laborers who sought work in the United States under the federal bracero program.
Using mariachi music and Folklorico dance routines, “El Bracero – A Mariachi Opera”, depicts the life and struggles of Noe and other workers in a bracero camp.
The unique performance begins at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased at aminotheatre.org starting at $25.
The one-act play features performances by J. Carlos Ozuna’s mariachi ensemble Mariachi Águilas, rising opera singer Estefani Lopez, and students and musicians from Oxnard’s Inlakech Cultural Center. Photos of bracero workers from the 1950s will also be on display.
“This is a cultural and educational experience that teaches an important chapter in Mexican-American history,” said director and producer Miguel Orozco.
The United States started the bracero program during World War II at a time when most of the country’s workforce was overseas, said Euclides Del Moral, chief consul at the Mexican consulate in Oxnard. .
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The program brought thousands of Mexican workers into the country to work on farms and ranches. Although the program ended in the 1960s, it created a long-standing practice of Mexicans working in the fields, Del Moral said.
“(The play) is meant to allow the younger generation to learn about the difficulties faced by older generations in coming here to work in the fields,” Del Moral said. “It’s something to be proud of.”
Written by Rosalinda Alexander Verde, “El Bracero” will be performed in a mix of Spanish and English. Captions will be shown, but Orozco said the hybrid performance allows speakers of both languages to follow along.
The theater company has performed the opera several times over the past six years in Santa Barbara, Kern, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Saturday’s performance will be her final performance of the piece. The actors last performed it at Pacifica High School in 2019.
Brian J. Varela covers Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Camarillo. He can be reached at [email protected] or 805-477-8014. You can also find him on Twitter @BrianVarela805.