The ninth edition of OperaMaya’s International Summer Music Festival opened this week in Cancún.
The festival got under way on Monday and is offering a series of eight concerts in Cancún’s Dos Playas Hotel as well as two more in Valladolid, another in Puerto Morelos and one more at the Cobá archaeological site before it closes June 10.
The event, which in previous years has been held in various locations, will feature opera, symphony, chamber and Mexican music performances from more than 50 artists hailing from South Korea, Poland, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States, China, Canada and Austria, including the Angelo State University String Quartet, Piotr Wisniewski, Joanna Ruszala, Simón Kyung Lee, Kathleen Maurer, James Jeffery, John Irish and Fragner Magrinelli.
In addition to the concert series, the festival will also feature a reunion for professors from the Quintana Roo Mayan Intercultural University and the festival participants, as well as a sponsored cultural exchange between the festival’s featured musicians and artists.
Festival director and celebrated soprano Mary Grogan explained that the goal of the event is to celebrate and raise awareness of Mayan culture, not just as an element of an ancient society, but as a relevant expression of a modern people.
“Foreigners are very interested in learning their language and we believe that through music we can invite people to participate in their culture and language.”
Grogan added that the name of this year’s festival series, “Dignificada” (meaning “dignified” in Spanish), came from singer-songwriter Lila Downs’ tribute to Digna Ochoa, a Mexican human rights lawyer who was murdered in 2001 in Mexico City for her activism on behalf of peasants in Guerrero.
“We are celebrating, as the name says, the dignity that we all have, especially women. We are honoring their lives and the sacrifices they have made.”
Miguel Cortés, manager of the Dos Playas Hotel, said the festival is a unique opportunity to experience world-class music.
“This is an experience of life and of exchange . . . [the musicians] are coming to give us the gift of their art.”
A full schedule of performances and events can be found on the OperaMaya website.