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Houston-based mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte excels in a variety of genres, encompassing early music, jazz, classical, and contemporary music, across the US and internationally, and has been praised by The New York Times as “A creamy voiced mezzo-soprano.” Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Cecilia is a versatile singer that has performed around the world singing a variety of music styles, especially early and contemporary music. She has been widely recognized for creating the role of Renata in the first Mariachi Opera, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, with the famous Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, commissioned by Houston Grand Opera in 2010, and has appeared in the role with the Houston Grand Opera (2013, 2018), Châtelet Theatre in Paris, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, The Fort Worth Opera, the Teatro Nacional Sucre in Quito, Ecuador, New York City Opera, El Paso Opera, and Minnesota Opera.

Cecilia has created other roles for world premieres of chamber operas and new works, such as Dido in The Queen of Carthage (Early Music Vancouver and re:Naissance Opera), Jessie Lydell in A Coffin in Egypt (Houston Grand Opera and the Wallis Annenberg Center in Los Angeles), Gracie in A Way Home (Houston Grand Opera and Opera Southwest), Harriet/First Responder in After the Storm (Houston Grand Opera); Alicia in Some Light Emerges (Houston Grand Opera), and Alma in “Boundless,” the first episode of Houston Grand Opera’s web opera series Star-cross’d, which received a Telly Award. Other operatic roles include Linda Morales in Laura Kaminsky and Kimberly Reed’s Hometown to the World, Melissa in Francesca Caccini’s Alcina, Sarelda in The Inspector, Maria in Maria de Buenos Aires, Loma Williams in Cold Sassy Tree, Isabella in Rapaccini’s Daughter, and Tituba in The Crucible, among others. Cecilia also premiered the prequel to Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, reprising the role of Renata in the world premiere of El Milagro del Recuerdo, with Houston Grand Opera (2019, 2022) and Arizona Opera (2021).

Her experience in early music include performances with Ars Lyrica Houston, Mercury Houston, The Bach Society of Houston, the Festivalensemble in Stuttgart, Germany, the Festival de Música Barroca de San Miguel de Allende, México, the Boston Early Music Festival, Bach Collegium San Diego Early Music Vancouver, re:Naissance Opera, and Pacific Music Works. She also sings in the Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, performing early and contemporary music.

Cecilia’s recordings include her first solo album, Reencuentros, produced by multiple Grammy-winner Blanton Alspaugh (Reference Recordings); soloist on the Grammy-winning Duruflé: The Complete Choral Works (Signum), Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (Albany Records), and a special appearance on Encantamiento, an album with music by Daniel Catán.

Photo: Ashkan Image