La Llorona 101
March 12, 2019
What's YOUR version of La Llorona? We invite you to record a short video (1-2 minutes) and send it to Opera Cultura! We hope to compile the different stories to share with our community. Email your video to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almost every culture on Earth has a myth or legend of a woman who murders children or haunts others in response to her husband’s infidelity. In ancient Greece, Hera murdered Zeus’ children from his mistress Lamia, and Medea murdered her own children in response to Jason’s philandering. Ancient Japan has Oiwa, the ghost of a woman who became facially deformed, after her husband poisoned her in order to marry the granddaughter of a wealthy neighbor. She haunts him for life. In the Cameroonian folktale “My Best Friend,” two women must share a husband. One slowly goes mad, conspiring to kill the other and her children with poison. Latin America has the infamous tale of La Llorona, or, “the weeping woman.”
La Llorona is a character of darkness and death. The most basic form of the folk tale is that La Llorona, a woman dressed in white and sometimes crying tears of blood, will reach out to children in bodies of water in order to drown them. Many parents throughout Latin America teach this story to their children in order to keep them from going to lakes and rivers at night—“Don’t go to the lake at night or La Llorona will grab you by your ankles and pull you under!”
The story varies depending on location and interpretation. In Héctor Armienta’s La Llorona/The Weeping Woman – A Musical Drama, a more detailed version of the folktale hailing from México is the foundation for his narrative. At its core, it is a story of revenge. Armienta’s musical novella is set in México at the turn of the century. A young Xochil girl falls in love and marries a man of Spanish lineage, but the great Xochil River never forgives her for betraying her people. Twenty years later, her husband betrays her, she goes mad, and the river exacts its revenge by tormenting her until she sacrifices her only child. She will forever weep.
Opera Cultura will present three performances of Héctor Armienta's La Llorona/The Weeping Woman – A Musical Drama this June 28-30 at the Mexican Heritage Theater – School of Arts and Culture in San José. These performances will sell out! Get your ticket today at llorona.brownpapertickets.com.