Graham Reynolds and Ballroom Marfa, Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance
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“This is the place that’s the West of your imagination,” observes composer Graham Reynolds about Marfa, Texas. With support from the Kickstarter community, Reynolds and local contemporary art organization Ballroom Marfa realized his vision for an experimental opera based on the life and death of Pancho Villa — “enigmatic hero of the Mexican Revolution, unlikely film star, and notorious bandit.” Using sampling, improvisation, electronic remixes, and other innovative techniques, the opera explored Pancho Villa’s impact on West Texas and the shared cultural histories of Mexico and the United States. It premiered at the Crowley Theater in Marfa on the day after the 2016 U.S. presidential election before traveling to venues across the state.