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Only someone who lives so many months in darkness can appreciate the sun of Sonora…
Solo alguien quien vive muchos meses en la oscuridad puede apreciar el sol de Sonora…
– Rocío Olalde
By Shandra Keesecker-Rivero
The powerful soprano voice of Rocío Olalde will fill every nook of Puerto Peñasco’s Municipal Auditorium tomorrow evening, December 28th, as she performs opera and boleros alongside pianist and tenor German Esquer Delgado at the 2013 Winter Gala organized by Cine Club Primera Toma, A.C.
Olalde, born in Mexico City though having grown up in Sonora, has been residing in Sweden for the past 10 years where she continues to perform across Scandinavia. Rocío bursts with enthusiasm in describing her return to Puerto Peñasco for Saturday night’s performance, remarking, “Peñasco is in my heart; the sun of Peñasco and her people remain in my heart – it has marked my history and my life.”
Many may recall Rocío and her former husband Joachim Saxenborn performing years ago at The Lighthouse, where Olalde’s soprano notes along those of Saxenborn’s baritone would spill out into the night. Olalde explains, “Armando Noriega was a friend, and we would sing at The Lighthouse. He taught me many things, such as how to sing boleros. I was an opera singer and he would say, ‘that’s not how you sing boleros.’ When one is humble and sensitive, you can learn something anywhere and from anyone.”
In retelling her journey, Rocío explains that music has been part of her life since she was a child. Having studied music and song in Mexico City in high school, she always knew her personal goals included that of improving her technique while living in a country where culture is something that one breathes and lives daily. She moved to Vienna and studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, under the leadership of Professor Ralf Döring.
Following the unexpected sudden death of her father, Rocío returned to Puerto Peñasco after various years in Vienna, along with her husband. Pregnant with her daughter at the time, Olalde felt the strong personal desire that her daughter be born in the same place where her father had been buried. After the birth of her daughter in Puerto Peñasco, Olalde’s stay extended nearly 2½ years. Rocío explains, “My daughter still has strong ties here, her cousins are here. Personally I am filled with joy that I can share with you… this place that gave me so much is something that fills me with emotion and gratitude.”
In addition to her studies in Vienna, Rocío studied at the Instituto Cardenal Miranda in Mexico City under Xavier Gozález and Rosa Rimoch and has had master classes with the Italian tenor Antonio Carangelo and the Swedish soprano Karin Mang-Habashi.
Olalde has toured Sweden in various productions and has performed to rave reviews as a soloist at several international festivals, including Mexico’s International FAOT in 2008 (held each year in Alamos, Sonora), as well as at the Malmö Festival in Sweden, the Vienna Bezirk Festival week and kaleidoskopio des Nationen (also in Vienna).
In reflecting upon cultural opportunities in Puerto Peñasco, Olalde stresses, “I would like to see an increase and pathways into a cultural plan; if strengths can be united, the fire will not be extinguished – the light does not go out.”
Doors to Saturday night’s Winter Gala with international soprano Rocío Olalde, accompanied by pianist and tenor German Esquer Delgado, at the Municipal Auditorium (across from City Hall) open at 7 p.m. Performance begins at 8 p.m., tickets are 250 pesos (approximately $20 US) and available at Café Puerto Viejo in the Malecon (across from Thrifty / next to Blue Marlin) and will also be at the door. Dress is casual formal (which in Puerto Peñasco could mean from jeans and boots to suits and ties). We look forward to seeing you at the Gala as we begin to wind down the year!