Latin music will fill the Alice Silverman Theatre of the Newport Performing Arts Center as the Newport Symphony presents its next concert, featuring soprano Monica Abrego in a performance devoted to traditional and classical Mexican music.

Don Nelson, executive director of the symphony, described the concert, titled “Latin Fireworks,” as “really amazing. It’s going to be a great offering.”

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, March 19, and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 20.

Newport Symphony conductor and music director Adam Flatt said that several years ago he presented a concert whose first half was taken from the Mexican repertoire. “It was a big hit, and it’s always been in my back pocket to do that again,” Flatt said. Now he has put together a full concert from that repertoire; it will feature Abrego, a singer with whom he has worked and who is one of the star sopranos of Mexico.

“I am so delighted to be bringing a star like Monica Abrego to Newport and to be devoting a program to some of the most popular treasures in Mexican music,” Flatt said. “She’s had an interesting career — not only in opera but in traditional folk and mariachi music as well. The vivid rhythm and color of the orchestral works, combined with Monica’s beautiful voice and charisma, will make for one exceptional concert.”

Flatt describes the music selections as bright and colorful, and said they include orchestrated popular songs, such as Agustin Lara’s “Granada.” He said the program offers a lot of variety, featuring Mexican composers from the 19th century to those alive today, as well as a piece by Aaron Copland, written after he had visited Mexico.

Abrego has performed with many orchestras, including the Colorado Symphony, Iowa Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Delaware Symphony Orchestra, La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, Aguascalientes Symphony Orchestra, Lucca Chamber orchestra, OBC (Barcelona) and Bulgaria Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the Chihuahua Philharmonic Orchestra, with which she toured Mexico and the United States. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2003 as a soloist for the Pacific Opera Encore.

She also performs traditional Mexican music around the world with Champaña Nevín Mariachi. Abrego has a Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music. She will be singing seven numbers with the symphony.

As usual, Flatt will offer a pre-concert talk, Saturday only, at 6:45 p.m. He will discuss traditional elements of mariachi music and how a couple of the numbers take mariachi elements and use them in orchestral ways. Abrego may join Flatt in the talk. For the Sunday matinee, Flatt will speak during the concert about the music being performed.

“The concerts will have a festive feel and should be wonderful,” he said.

“We’re committed to outreach,” Flatt added, noting the symphony tries to bring its music to people who may never have experienced it before. As part of that effort, the symphony collaborated with Olalla Center’s Arcoiris Cultural for a guest artist visit by Abrego at the center in Newport on March 17. According to the Olalla website, Arcoiris strives to foster whole-person wellness through resource navigation, the arts, culture and community building

Flatt said he thinks the season has gone well in spite of COVID. “We’ve been playing live since September and have offered really interesting things,” he said. “The situation was fluid, but it was not an option to sit it out. We came back with protocols that protected people, and we were able to fulfill our mission. The season has been a big success, and this concert is going to be a great finale.”

Looking back at the past year and its COVID restrictions, Nelson too said the symphony season went well. “Each concert had more people, and while we still did not have quite a full house, things kept getting better,” he said. “The season was a challenge, and our first couple of offerings were small chamber music events, but January was a full-size orchestra, and we’ve been building back up.”

The symphony’s traditional Fourth of July concert is in the planning stage, and the upcoming season will offer seven concerts, including two chamber music events at the Doerfler Theater of the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center on the Newport Bayfront.

The symphony is currently planning its 2022-23 season, and Flatt said he will be announcing some of its expected high points at this weekend’s 2021-22 finale. He added that season tickets will go on sale soon; they include such benefits as an early opportunity to purchase tickets for the Doerfler chamber music concerts.

“We’re continuing to innovate in fulfillment of our mission to serve the community with great music — to “enhance the quality of life in Oregon’s coastal communities with diverse, inspiring performances and engaging educational activities,’” Flatt concluded.

Tickets for this weekend’s concerts are $27 and $42 plus fees, and $10 for students. They are on sale at the performing arts center box office, at 541-265-2787 or online at Online sales close at 5 p.m. March 18. After that time, tickets can be purchased at the door, starting one hour prior to the concert. They may also be purchased by phone at the number listed above.

This weekend’s concert will have normal seating, but masks and proof of COVID vaccination are still required, both for the audience and the musicians. Detailed information is available on the Newport Performing Arts Center website at

And as plans are being made for next season’s offerings, Nelson promised “great guest artists and wonderful music.”

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