Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon)

In Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon), baritone Octavio Moreno goes from a young man in his early 20s to the same man in the 35-45 age range and then to his character Laurentino at 70-80 years old. And back again. Moreno, a former Houston Grand Opera Studio Artist who spent the last two years in Mexico, returns to his mariachi roots to play a man who left behind his family in Mexico when he moved to the United States and who at the end of his life wants to introduce his American family to his Mexican one.

Jose ''Pepe'' Martinez, the music director of the esteemed Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics. The one-of-its-kind mariachi opera, commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera for its HGOCo Song of Houston: Mexico 2010 project, is back at the Wortham with the original cast after previous performances here and in Paris.

Moreno says the trip to France was a success beyond their anticipation — word of mouth after the first show there meant sellouts by the end of the run and a waiting list of people who couldn't get in. ''We were like rock stars,'' he says.

Moreno encourages Houston audiences to see Cruzar la Cara. ''First of all, because it's something new. And in this world, we should be open to new music,'' he says. '''It's filled with emotions that I've seen in the golden age of Mexican movies. It's just so realistic. It takes realism a step further. It's something that really happens. More than one family has gone through this.''

7:30 p.m. March 21 and 24 and 2 p.m. March 23 and 24. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-228-6737 or visit www.houstongrandopera.org. $25 to $145.
March 21-24, 2013

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