‘The Three Tenors’
Sunday, Oct. 28, 3 p.m.
Reinsch Auditorium, 2807 North Glebe Road, Arlington.
The year is 1989. A Peruvian teen and his family arrive in the U.S, and a year later discovers the world of opera: a career he would embark on well into adulthood.
That Peruvian teen was José Sacin, artistic director of volunteer-run organization Opera NOVA in Arlington and world-traveling baritone performer. Sacin explained that it was a VHS tape he and his family watched of a concert they’d seen before called “The Three Tenors” that sparked his interest. It was a concert that inspired Sacin and three other performers, Eduardo Castro (“La Cenerentola,” “Don Giovanni,” “Cosi Fan Tutte,” “L’Elisir d’Amore,” “Count Rodolfo”) and Alex Alburqueque (“La Cenerentola,” “Monkey See, Monkey Do”) to organize and perform “The Three Baritones” concert to be held at Reinsch Auditorium at Marymount University at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28.
“When I first arrived to the states, I wasn’t involved in opera at all,” said Sacin. “But I started getting into it when I saw that VHS tape, around the time that I started studying at George Mason University.”
Sacin was an undeclared major at George Mason until he met Patricia Miller, director of vocal studies in opera. At the time he was taking a music elective class with professor Dr. Martha Giles, and was introduced to Miller through Giles.
“I knew I wanted to sing a little opera because I loved the ‘The Three Tenors’ concert so much that I started imitating it, “ said Sacin. “Dr. Martha Giles heard me sing and told me I had a really nice voice, so she felt that I had to meet Patricia Miller, someone she felt would best encourage me to study music and opera, ” said Sacin. “I then got so immersed with opera that I would just listen to any opera I could.”
Patricia Miller taught and worked with Sacin about three quarters of his college career. Sacin describes Miller as more than just a mentor and colleague. “I’ve always stayed in touch with Patricia,” said Sacin. “I have great respect for her, respect for her experience, and value her friendship. “
Sacin credits his exposure to opera at George Mason as the gateway into a whole new music genre.
“When I was a student at George Mason, I used to work at the music library,” said Sacin. “I’d be sitting around with a whole collection of laser discs. I would spend most of those eight hours or so, thinking to myself, “OK, today I want to look at this opera, then I’ll sit down and get the score and look at the recording or video the next day. I still research and try and discover new operas, but at that time it was so new and exciting to me that it almost become an obsession,” said Sacin. “I went through so many operas and just wanted to keep learning and learning.”
It was also at George Mason where Sacin met Alburqueque and Castro (also Peruvians), where the three began a lifelong friendship through a shared passion for music.
“I’ve known Alex for about 10 years and Eduardo since the mid-90s,” said Sacin. “I met Alex through Eduardo at George Mason and met Eduardo through his sister. We then started hanging out at the Student Union there, which had a group of Latin Americans like us. Once Eduardo’s sister found out I sang, she told me, ‘Oh, my brother sings!’ you guys should meet,’ and so we met and have been working together since then.”
It was from there that Sacin’s opera career began and continues to this day. He has worked with Opera NOVA as artistic director, performer, and conductor for children and classical operas, while also traveling to countries like Japan, Italy, Spain, and Russia to perform. He has lead roles in Opera Camerata in Washington and has sung with the Washington National Opera. Now, Sacin is looking forward to performing in “The Three Baritones.”
“We hope we can cover lots of varieties of music that people will like, as well as trigger them into finding new styles of music,” said Sacin. “We (Alburqueque, Castro, and Sacin) have sort of the skeleton of what it will be. So far we are planning to start with a standard aria and then in the second half start with an ensemble with some solos in between, possibly from ‘Don Giovanni,’ ‘Carmen,’ and maybe a little from ‘West Side Story’.” There will also be Zarzuelas and other Latin-American music.
To Sacin, opera goes beyond what audiences see on stage.
“There is this misconception that opera is boring or outdated,” said Sacin. “But there is this excitement about it because it’s happening right there. People (performers) are reproducing this in real time, so there is a difficulty to it. It’s like the Olympics, you don’t know if they’ll make the jump or not. There’s an element of risk. When a singer goes for a high note it can be very risky and that’s what makes it exciting, especially when the outcome is successful. It’s the opposite of a movie, where there’s no risk because its been edited. But with opera, the performers are achieving a very difficult task right there, so there’s a thrill in anticipating what will happen.”
The Reinsch Auditorium is at 2807 North Glebe Road, Arlington. Tickets ranging from $10 to $25 can be purchased at www.operanova.org or 703-536-7557 or firstname.lastname@example.org or at the door.