Composer: Robert Xavier Rodriguez
Composer Bio: Robert Xavier Rodríguez was born on 28 June 1946 in San Antonio, Texas, where he received his earliest training in piano and harmony. Subsequent musical education included study in composition with Hunter Johnson, Halsey Stevens, Jacob Druckman, and Nadia Boulanger. He gained international recognition in 1971 when awarded the Prix de Composition Musicale Prince Pierre de Monaco by Prince Rainier and Princess Grace at the Palais Princier in Monte Carlo. Other honors include the Prix Lili Boulanger, a Guggenheim Fellowship, four National Endowment for the Arts grants, and the Goddard Lieberson Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Rodríguez's music embraces all genres and often combines Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque techniques with ethnic and contemporary materials. He has had particular success with his seven operas. His most recent opera, Frida, based on the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, has enjoyed successful runs at the American Music Theatre Festival, The American Repertory Theatre in Boston, the Brooklyn Academy's Next Wave Festival, and the Houston Grand Opera. John Rockwell of The New York Times termed Frida, "the best opera/musical theater of 1991...a fascinating, magically engrossing evening...Mr. Rodríguez's music is genuinely original and genuinely accessible, a neat combination not that often achieved." Rodríguez's charming children's opera Monkey See, Monkey Do has had more than 1,000 performances since its premiere in 1986, making it one of the most often performed contemporary American operas in the repertory. The ensemble Voices of Change received a 1999 Grammy nomination in the Best Small Ensemble Performance category for the Rodríguez work Les Niaïs Amoureux.

Rodríguez's orchestral music also encompasses wide-ranging styles, from challenging works for large orchestra such as Oktoechos and Favola Boccaccesca to ballets such as Estampie and The Seven Deadly Sins to music for children such as the popular Colorful Symphony (with a text from Norton Juster's The Phantom Toll Booth) and the circus story, Trunks.

Conductors who have commissioned Rodríguez include Eduardo Mata, Neville Marriner, and Antal Dorati. Rodríguez's music is regularly performed by leading orchestras and opera companies such as the Dallas Opera, National Opera of Mexico, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra among many others. His music is published by G. Schirmer.
Librettist: Hilary Blecher and Migdalia Cruz
Other Artistic Personnel: Richard Cordova (Music Director)
Hilary Blecher (Stage Director)
Original Cast: Helen Schneider (Frida Kahlo)
Marc Krause (Diego Rivera)
Karen Hale (Mother/Lupe Rivera/Mrs. Rockefeller/Mrs. Trotsky)
Alba Quezada (Cristina/Mrs. Ford)
David Toney (Mr. Kahlo/Mr. Rockefeller/A. Cachucha/Edward G. Robinson/Petate Vendor)
Premiere Date: April 07, 1991
Producing Company: American Music Theater (now Prince Theater)
Description: The story of the passionate life of famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Frida presents the inner world of a woman who overcame a debilitating illness resulting from a bus accident, was married to her painting mentor Diego Rivera, and emerged as one of the most distinctive painters of her time.
Reviews: Voice, Leighton Kerner, 8-10-93; The Dallas Morning News, Lawson Taitte, 6-13-93; San Antonio Express, Mike Greenberg, 6-13-93; Houston Press, Howard Pollack, 6-10-16-93; The Houston Post, William Albright, 6-5-93; Houston Press, Valerie Moore, 6-3-93; The Houston Post, Susan Chadwick, 5-27-93; The Houston Chronicle, Charles Ward, 5-23-93; Herald-Voice, 5-20-93
Comments: There were subsequent revisions to the opera before its performance in 1993 at the Houston Grand Opera.
Length: Length is not available.
Total Acts: Not Available
Chorus: Opt. Chorus
Orchestration: 1 cl(asx), tpt(flugel), perc, can, pf, vln
Musical Style: Eclectic with mariachi-style orchestration; mixture of traditional Mexican folk tunes and old-fashioned popular styles---the waltz, tango, vaudeville, and 20s jazz
Contact: G. Schirmer, Inc.
Address: 257 Park Avenue South, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10010
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-254-2100
Composer Web Site:
Publisher Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
Frida (Rodriguez/Blecher)
Thursday, June 3, 1993 - Houston Grand Opera
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