An Inaugural Family Event at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens Celebrating Holiday Traditions in Latin America
Opera Memphis and Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group will collaborate on a holiday event this December 18 at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens in celebration of the rich and varied holiday traditions celebrated throughout Latin America during the Christmas season. This inaugural Christmas Fiesta will feature caroling in both English and Spanish, delicious food, unique crafts, and fun activities that the whole family can enjoy. Experience traditional dancers and singers from a variety of Latin American countries, learn about piñatas, poinsettias, parradas, and posadas! This free event is sure to inspire and delight, as children and adults
experience the cultural traditions that make Christmas a magical time of year throughout Latin America.
Opera Memphis began hosting A Victorian Holiday in 2018, which invited Memphians to immerse themselves in a unique theatrical experience with Victorian-era music, costumes, activities, and games. When the pandemic made those types of events untenable, Opera Memphis pivoted to a free Drive-Thru Caroling event in 2020, and carloads of families got to experience a bit of Christmas magic from the safety and comfort of their vehicle. Drive-Thru Caroling will continue this year on Saturday, December 11 and Sunday, December 12 at the Clark Opera Memphis Center from 2-4 PM with a quartet of costumed carolers spreading Christmas cheer.
As part of their ongoing mission to create cultural bridges through the arts, Cazateatro has presented traditional Christmas plays to share Latin cultures, such as “Tia Pancha a Christmas Story,” the Latin version of A Christmas Carol, and the Pastorela. Last year, due to the closure of the theaters, Cazateatro continued to fulfill its mission by presenting 12 days of Christmas, which offered 12 days of Christmas activities including recipe guides and concerts through virtual programs and in-person performances around the city of Memphis. As Cazateatro continues to share the Latin Christmas traditions, the company is pleased to return to the stage with the Bilingual Pastorela The Last Christmas on December 3, 4, and 5.
The opportunity to collaborate with Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group and create a wholly new and innovative holiday experience for families has been months in the works. Since her appointment as the Director of Education and Civic Programs, Bethania Baray has spearheaded programming that welcomes new audiences to experience opera in creative and unexpected ways.
“I can’t think of a more perfect organization to partner with than Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group,” says Baray. “Creating a Christmas celebration seemed most fitting when thinking about our vibrant Latinx/Hispanic community. We hope that this year’s event brings a feeling of home while allowing audiences to be introduced to a taste of opera.”
This event is made possible through generous support from AutoZone and ArtsMemphis, who continue to champion the performing arts in Memphis and support the work of both Opera Memphis and Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group. Without their generosity, free family events like this would not be possible. In the ongoing effort to make art, music, and storytelling more accessible to all Memphians, the collaboration between Opera Memphis and Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group is an exciting opportunity for both companies to expand their reach and increase their impact in the community.
“Working with the women of Cazateatro is such a dream,” says Bethania Baray. “They are creative, innovative, and deeply engaging with the Memphis community, and they put their entire hearts into their work. I hope this partnership and event continues and becomes a pillar of both our organizations.”