ALBUQUERQUE – During the Victorian era, “melodrama” referred to a poetic recitation by an actor with piano accompaniment as an enhancement to the text. Wildly popular in Europe during the 19th century, these presentations were theatre without staging, comparable to a radio play or to hearing the dialogue and soundtrack from a movie without seeing the visuals.

Albuquerque audiences will have a rare opportunity to see this kind of melodrama performed on Sunday, June 24, 2012 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Grammy-nominated pianist Douglas Riva and actor and performance artist Patricio Tlacaelel Trujillo y Fuentes will perform two seminal melodramas by Richard Strauss: “The Castle by the Sea,” with text by Ludwig Uhland, and “Enoch Arden,” based on the well-known poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Strauss is best known for his gorgeous, dramatic operas, often performed by the Santa Fe Opera, as well as his symphonic works and his songs for voice and piano.

Douglas Riva began his musical education at the age of nine, studying both piano and flute, and initiated his professional career at the age of sixteen as Principal Flutist with the El Paso (TX) Symphony Orchestra. Later, devoting himself exclusively to the piano, he continued his studies at the Juilliard School, New York University, and Barcelona’s Academia Granados-Marshall. He is today’s foremost exponent of the piano music of the Spanish composer Enrique Granados (1867-1916), as well as a renowned interpreter of contemporary music.

Patricio Tlacaelel Trujillo y Fuentes has worked locally with La Compañía de Teatro de Alburquerque, the South Broadway Cultural Center, and the Albuquerque Museum, as well as the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and was one of the founders of the Chicano arts group MEZCLA. He also has performed at MoMA and the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York, and with El Teatro Campesino in California. He received his theatrical training in New York from poet, playwright, and director Owen V. Dodson of the Harlem Renaissance.
Your one chance to experience these unusual performances is on Sunday, June 24 at 2 PM in the Albuquerque Journal Theatre, Roy E. Disney Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are $20, with a $3 discount for groups of five or more, and are available at the NHCC Box Office, at 505- 724-4771, or online at The NHCC is located at 1701 4th Street SW on the corner of 4th Street and Avenida César Chávez