Music and Libretto by: Hector Armienta
Duration: 100 mins
Originally premiered by Western Stage Theater, 2008
Anyone who has ancestral roots from Mexico knows the legend of La Llorona/The Weeping Woman. This epic tale of love, betrayl, and vengance has been told and retold throughout central America the United States. Some would say, she is the Mexican Medea. In this new musical drama, La Llorona/The Weeping Woman, composer and playwright Hector Armienta tells us how it all began:
Mexico at the turn of the century. A young Xochil Indian girl fell desperately in love with a man of Spanish lineage, and the great Xochil river has never forgiven her. Twenty years later she is married, and now the river will take its revenge upon her. Her husband will betray her, she will go mad, and the river will torment her until she sacrifices her only child, Sara. She will forever weep.
Maria/La Lloróna (Leading) - Mezzo Soprano; Early thirties, devoted wife, strong willed,
and last of her kind (Xochil Indian)
Sara (Leading) - Lyric Soprano; Late teens, adventurous, a bit rebellious, only daughter
to Maria and Antonio
Antonio (Supporting) - Tenor; Late forties, proud hacendádo (landowner),unhappily
married to Maria
Generál Rafael (Supporting) - Baritone; Retired, early sixties, descendant of the first
conquistadors, arrogant and racist
Carmela (Supporting) - Soprano; Early twenties, beautiful, manipulative, sly and
daughter of General Rafael
Shaman (Supporting) - Baritone; Ageless, lives in shadows, servant of the Xochil River.
Serafina/Spirit Woman (Supporting) - Mezzo; Plays servant
Ana/Spirit Woman (Solo bit) -Soprano; plays servant
Francisca/Spirit Woman (Solo bit) - Soprano; plays servant
OTHER: Don José & Servant Juanito Played by Shaman (a trickster in disguise);
Chorus/Dancers (six to ten) Xochil Indians, servants, musicians, towns folk (optional)
Clarinet 1 in Bb
Clarinet 2 in Bb (doubles on bass clarinet),
La Llorona is part of a trilogy titled - Aguas Ancestrales. The cuento of La Llorona is a story that speaks to so many of us in the Mexican and Mexican American community. For some, it is a story that we grew up with as children. While popular media has exploited the story and focused on the horror element, her story is more than that. It is about her tragedy. It is about what would compel a mother to kill and drown her children. I also wanted to explore the question of fate and whether or not we are truly in control of that. Part of the development of this story took me to México in 2004 to explore the many versions of this legend. After that trip, I decide to incorporate some of the Mayan mythology and set the work in the late 19th century.
My hope is that those that come to see my tale of La Llorona, will come away with a deeper understanding of who she is and the power that her story holds on all of us.