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Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance

Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance is a bilingual, multimedia bi-national opera that explores borders, battlefields, conflict, and culture through the life and mythology of the iconic José Doroteo Arango Arámbula, best known as Pancho Villa.

The original composition by Graham Reynolds and libretto by Mexico City-based theater collective Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, creates an insightful examination of the Mexican and Mexican-American impact on culture and politics. The performance is timely in its contribution to the current conversation around borders and the limitations of the concept of delineated states. You will hear Mexican, Tejano, opera, and chamber music in Reynolds’ rich tapestry

This performance includes hybrid production techniques and an extensive sound palette. The production team and performers showcase the talents of director Shawn Sides (Rude Mechs), lighting designer Brian Scott (Kronos Quartet), lyric opera tenor Paul Sanchez, mezzo-soprano Liz Cass, and a stellar six-member chamber ensemble, with remixes by famed Monterrey DJ Toy Selectah.

The work is performed in English and Spanish, with subtitles in both languages.

A moderated conversation before the show will be conducted by Leigh Ann Hahn with special guest Paul Renteria.

Commissioned by Ballroom Marfa
Co-Commissioned by Fusebox Festival
A project of Creative Capital

Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance

Composed by Graham Reynolds

Libretto by Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol (Luisa Pardo & Gabino Rodríguez)

Directed by Shawn Sides


Mezzo-Soprano - Liz Cass
Tenor - Paul Sanchez

Drums - Jeremy Bruch
Violin - Alexis Buffum
Cello - Henna Chou
Bass and Tuba - Utah Hamrick
Guitar- Adrian Quesada
Keyboards - Graham Reynolds

El Tigre - Miguel Santiago Santos
Music Remixing and Consultation - Toy Selectah
Additional Lyrics - Carrie Fountain

Lighting & Scenic Designer - Brian Scott
Costume Designer - Christine Crook
Video Designer - Robert S. Fischer
Sound Engineer - Gory Smelley
Production & Stage Manager - Dallas Tate
Producer - David Lobel
Translations - Tomás Morín
Additional Translations - Antonio Ruiz-Camacho
Initial Translation Assistance - David Ríos, Michi Runyon, David Lobel
Dramaturg, Dialect Coach, Additional Translations - Luis Armando Ordaz Gutiérrez   
Dramaturg - Mallory Catlett
Videography - Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol
Video Photography - Fernando Pardo
Video Editor - Jeremy Bruch
Photo Editor - Buzz Moran
Triptych Graphic Design - Noel Waggener
Music Consultation - Alex E. Chavez
Music Research and Consultation - Luis Urías Hermosillo
Rehearsal space provided by the Rude Mechs, Austin, TX

Additional support provided by National Performance Network, Golden Hornet

Thank you to The El Paso Public Library and their Photo Archive