Bless Me, Ultima

West Coast Premiere

Apr 20, 21, 22, 2018

Mexican Heritage Theater - School of Arts & Culture @ MHP
1700 Alum Rock Ave.
San Jose , CA 95116


Bless Me, Ultima
A new opera on the power of destiny
by Héctor Armienta

Based upon the acclaimed 1972 novel by Rudolfo Anaya.


  • April 20th - 7:30 pm
  • April 21st- 7:30 pm
  • April 22nd- 2:00 pm


Interested in hosting or attending a forum discussion on the opera and novel with Composer/librettist Héctor Armienta? CLICK HERE

The Story
It is the story of Antonio Marez, a young boy, at the time when Ultima comes to stay with his family in New Mexico. Ultima is a curandera, or shaman, one who cures with herbs and magic. Under her wise wing, Tony will probe the family ties that bind and rend him, and will discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past- a mythic legacy as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America. And at each life turn there is Ultima, who delivered Tony into the world… and will nurture the birth of his soul.

About the Novel
The novel is considered one of the best in Chicano literature and is one of the National Endowment for the Arts Big Reads. Richard Rodrigues has characterized the novel as an “important contribution to literature in a pluralistic United States,” and others consider it the quintessential Chicano coming-of-age novel. In 2013, the novel was made into a movie. Most recently, Author Rudolfo Anaya was awarded the National Humanities Medal by Former President Barack Obama for his literature.


This production is 
funded by: The National Endowment for the Arts, The California Arts Council, The Office of Cultural Affairs San Jose, Applied Materials Foundation, the County of Santa Clara,  Castellano Family Foundation, Knight Foundation, Fleisshacker foundation, Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco, and Friends of Opera Cultura.

NEA    Fleishhacker Foundation CAC  Applied Materials Foundation   Office of Cultural Affairs     The County of Santa Clara     Castellano Family Foundation    Knight Foundation    


Suzanna Guzman
Suzanna Guzman as Ultima

Nicholas McKee
Nicholas McKee as Antonio

Roberto Perlas Gomez
Roberto Perlas Gomez as Tenorio

Alexandra Sessler
Alexandra Sessler as Maria Marez

Pedro Ledesma
Pedro Ledesma as Gabriel Marez 

Michael Orlinsky
Michael Orlinsky as Narciso

Flora Mendoza
Flora Mendoza as The Owl 

Andrew Metzger
Andrew Metzger as Pedro/Lupito

Temirzhan Yerzhanov
Temirzhan Yerzhanov - Conductor


Masterworks Chorale
Members of Masterworks Chorale - as The Chorus