Image by Noel Waggener



An experimental chamber opera about Pancho Villa, the legendary bandit, enigmatic general, and hero of the Mexican Revolution // Una ópera de cámara experimental sobre Pancho Villa, bandido legendario, general enigmático y héroe de la revolución mexicana.

Pancho Villa From A Safe Distance is an insightful examination of the Mexican and Mexican-American impact on the culture and politics of West Texas, contributing to the current and timely conversation about borders and the limitations of the concept of delineated states.

Exploring facts from Villa’s biography while also examining the mythology surrounding him, the opera asks what Pancho Villa means to Mexican and American culture and where these meanings intersect and conflict. It brings together artistic collaborators from both sides of the river to engage in a borderless conversation about the shared history between Mexico and the United States.

La ópera es un análisis profundo del impacto mexicano y mexicano-americano en la cultura y la política del oeste de Texas, que contribuye a la actual y oportuna conversación acerca de las fronteras y las limitaciones del concepto de estados delineados.

Aparte de explorar los hechos procedentes de la biografía de Villa y examinar los mitos que la rodean, la ópera se preguntará qué significa el arquetipo de Pancho Villa para la cultura mexicana, la cultura estadounidense y si estos significados se cruzan y chocan entre sí. La ópera reúne a colaboradores artísticos de ambos lados del rio para participar en una conversación sin fronteras acerca de la historia compartida entre México y los Estados Unidos.

Pancho Villa From A Safe Distance is a collaboration between composer Graham Reynolds, Mexican theater collective Lagartijas Tiradas Al Sol as librettists, Shawn Sides of the Rude Mechs as director, Austin Lyric Opera tenor Paul Sanchez as Pancho Villa, Grammy Award-winning producer Adrian Quesada on guitar, and additional lyrics by award-winning poet and novelist Carrie Fountain. The band is rounded out with Liz Cass (vocals), Utah Hamrick (bass and tuba), Jeremy Bruch (drums), Alexis Buffum (violin), and Henna Chou (cello). Set and lighting design by Brian Scott, costume design by Christine Crook, libretto translations by Tomás Morín, dramaturge by Luis Ordaz Gutiérrez, musical remixes and consultation by Toy Selectah.

Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance was commissioned and premiered by Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX and co-commissioned by Fusebox Festival, Austin, TX. Additional support provided by Creative Capital, National Performance Network, and Golden Hornet Composer Laboratory.


This presentation of Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance is supported by the Stateside @ The Paramount’s Community Access Program

Graham Reynolds is on the Texas Touring Roster, and these performances are supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts Performance Support Program.

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