Latinx Voices: Andres Acosta
In celebration of Latinx Heritage Month we want to highlight the incredible artistry of the Latinx singers, conductors, and directors in our community. This year, we’re focusing on the artists featured in our 2021–2022 Season kickoff, Ópera Afuera! All month, we’ll be hilighting the Latinx artists who are working both on and off stage to present this one-of-a-kind concert filled with music from and inspired by Latin American culture.
In what ways has your Latinx identity impacted your career in opera?
My Latinx identity first drew me to opera. I was curious to find people that enjoyed singing in other languages. I grew up in a bilingual household and I often felt like some words didn’t translate well from one language to another. Opera became a place of exploration. It grounded me in my identity.
Did you have any Latinx role models or mentors when you were starting your career? What qualities did you admire about them?
Jose Carreras was a big role model as I fell in love with opera. He looked like me. His presence in the business made me feel like I too could stand on some of the best stages in the world. People undervalue the meaning of seeing someone that looks like you and understands your culture on the stage. Representation matters, and I am eager to be a part of the group of artists making that push.
What changes would you like to see in the opera industry, specifically in relation to the Latinx community?
I would like to see more new opera written in Spanish that is inclusive in its reach across audiences. Opera that is not a caricature of the Latinx community, but an embrace and highlight of our culture. Most of all, I would like opera to start casting more Latinx artists in leading roles. We can sing standard repertoire in ways that build opera’s audience. We can be Romeo, Contessa, Onegin, or Angelina. We too can relate to themes of tragic love, royalty, sex, and passion without having to compromise our heritage.
It is not until opera embraces its Latinx singers that its Latinx audiences will feel welcome. We all know that the plots in opera are generally universal – allowing opera to continue to be relevant. It is not until we bring diversity to the stage that we can bring engaged diversity to our audiences. Representation matters.
Andres Acosta as Timothy Laughlin singing “But it Wasn’t Last Night” in 2018’s Fellow Travelers