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On Writing an Opera about Family Separation at the US-Mexico Border

Anna Deeny Morales, Georgetown University

Wed, 11/16 · 12:00 pm1:20 pm · 216 Aaron Burr Hall

Program in Latin American Studies

Anna Deeny Morales will discuss the production of her opera “¡ZAVALA-ZAVALA!” an opera she wrote about a real-life case of a grandmother who was separated from her grandson after crossing the Mexico-US border. “¡ZAVALA-ZAVALA!” debuted at the Kennedy Center with the Georgetown University Orchestra April of 2022.

ABOUT OUR GUEST SPEAKER
Anna Deeny Morales is adjunct professor at the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University. She works in poetry and music as a literary critic, translator, and librettist. She received a PhD in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MA in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College. Deeny Morales is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow for her translation of Tala by Nobel Laureate, Gabriela Mistral. Her translations of Raúl Zurita’s poetry include Sky Below, Selected Works (Northwestern University Press, 2016), of which she is also the editor; Dreams for Kurosawa (arrow as aarow press, 2011); and Purgatory (University of California Press, 2009). Shearsman Press published her translations of Alejandra Pizarnik’s Diana’s Tree in 2020, and Mercedes Roffé’s Floating Lanterns in 2015. Composer Theresa Wong set selections of Floating Lanterns to music during her residency at The Stone, The New School, New York City, in 2018, and for a Long Beach Opera commission in 2020. Deeny Morales has guest edited literary journals such as Almost Island, based in Mumbai, India. And her essays and translations of poetry by Amanda Berenguer, Rosabetty Muñoz, Malú Urriola, Diana Bellessi, Idea Vilariño, Marosa di Giorgio, Mirta Rosenberg, Isabel de los Ángeles Ruano, and Idea Vilariño, among others, have appeared in anthologies and journals such as the Paris Review, Mandorla, BOMB, and the Harvard Review. Forthcoming translations include a volume of selected works by Nicanor Parra (New Directions), of which she is also the editor. Her original works in opera include “¡ZAVALA-ZAVALA!” which debuted at the Kennedy Center with the Georgetown University Orchestra. Recent adaptations of zarzuelas include Gonzalo Roig’s Cecilia Valdés (2018), and La Paloma at the Wall (2019), an adaptation of Tomás Bretón’s La verbena de la Paloma. Both were commissioned by the In Series and performed at Gala Hispanic Theater in Washington, DC. Original works for contemporary dance and theater include La straniera (1997), an adaptation of Medea by Euripides, and Tela di Ragno (1999–2002), inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Both were commissioned by Il Balletto di Spoleto and performed in Italy and Spain.

DISCUSSANT
Mariana Bono, Spanish and Portuguese, Princeton University

Open to students, faculty, visiting scholars, staff and invited guests. A boxed lunch will be provided while supplies last.

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