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Rosarito Takes Center Stage with First Opera Encounter

BY ARCHER INGRAM

Gear up, opera lovers and curious bystanders! The city of Playas de Rosarito in Baja California is gearing up to host its first-ever Opera Encounter in Rosarito (ENOR), set to transform the State Center for the Arts into the opera hub of the region from July 27 to August 3. This inaugural event is not just a series of performances; it’s a cultural movement aimed at making opera accessible and enjoyable for all.

The Baja California Secretary of Culture is spearheading this initiative, with a packed schedule that includes masterclasses, rehearsal sessions, insightful lectures, and riveting recitals. The event will gather a mix of experienced maestros, professional singers, and up-and-coming talents, all dedicated to providing a unique artistic experience that cultivates a deeper appreciation for this majestic art form.

According to Marco Antonio Nuño Sánchez, the coordinator of CEART Playas de Rosarito, the essence of ENOR is to foster artistic development, broaden the opera’s appeal to new audiences, and strengthen the cultural community. “By creating spaces for opera, we aim to not only entertain but also educate and inspire connections among local, national, and international artists,” Nuño Sánchez remarked.

This sentiment is echoed by Javier Carrillo, the artistic coordinator of ENOR Rosarito, who emphasized the festival’s role in breaking down the elitist barriers often associated with opera. “ENOR is designed to integrate opera culture in a natural and accessible setting for everyone. This week-long event focuses on unveiling the behind-the-scenes of opera production, from singer preparation to the complexities of staging an opera,” Carrillo explained.

One of the highlights of the Opera Encounter is the grand concert “Il baccio di Tosca,” scheduled for July 31. This performance will commemorate the centennial of Giacomo Puccini’s passing by bringing to life scenes from his iconic opera “Tosca.” The event will feature renowned opera stars Maria Katzarava as Floria Tosca, César Sánchez as Mario Cavaradossi, and Carlos Conde as Il Barone Scarpia. They will be accompanied by the Ghukasyan String Orchestra with Andrés Sarre at the piano, under the skilled direction of Armando Pesqueira, coordinator of the State Music System of Baja California.

As ENOR draws to a close, the festival will segue into the twelfth edition of the “Opera by the Sea Festival,” which will take place at the CEART Rosarito arts esplanade. This event is free to the public, further emphasizing the initiative’s goal to make cultural events accessible to a broader audience.

Local businesses and tourism operators are also set to benefit from the influx of visitors and cultural aficionados expected to attend the festival. This aligns with the broader vision of the organizers to not only enrich the cultural landscape but also stimulate the local economy through high-quality artistic events.

For those interested in experiencing this operatic extravaganza, further details about the program and ticket information can be found on the websites and social media pages of the Baja California Secretary of Culture and CEART Playas de Rosarito. This is a golden opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of opera right in the heart of Baja California.

Tijuana’s Ultimate Wine Festival Returns!

Get ready to sip and savor, wine enthusiasts! The third edition of the “Festival Vino sin Fronteras” (Wine Without Borders Festival) is set to take Tijuana by storm on Saturday, June 29th at Club Campestre Tijuana, starting at 3:00 PM. This fantastic event is all about bridging our border with the rich enological and gastronomical offerings of the region, thanks to the efforts of the Comité Provino Baja California. 

Last Wednesday, June 12th, a press conference was held at the CANIRAC Tijuana conference room to unveil all the juicy details of this year’s festival. Attendees included representatives from Provino Baja California, Zaida López Sánchez, President of CANIRAC Tijuana, Dr. Karim Chalita Rodríguez, President of COTUCO Tijuana, and José de Jesús Quiñónez, Deputy Secretary of Tourism of Baja California. 

“The main goal of the event is to continue promoting the culture of wine to the public on both sides of the border, while also serving as a significant promotional platform for enotourism among national visitors and those from Southern California,” emphasized Juan Carlos Ochoa, General Manager of Provino. 

This year, the festival moves to the picturesque Club Campestre Tijuana, providing an ideal atmosphere surrounded by trees to enhance the enogastronomic experience. Attendees will get to enjoy the best from the Valle de Guadalupe and Baja California’s wine valleys, with 45 participating wineries offering tastings and sales of over 100 wine labels, including whites, rosés, reds, and sparkling wines. Additionally, Temecula, CA, will be the guest wine region, featuring prominent wineries such as Doffo Winery, Falkner Winery, Churon Winery, and Oak Mountain Winery, enriching the event’s wine selection. 

Thanks to a partnership with the National Chamber of the Restaurant and Seasoned Food Industry (CANIRAC) of Tijuana, the festival will feature 25 regional restaurants from Tijuana, Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe, Tecate, and Rosarito. These establishments will offer a variety of gastronomic samples, supported by supplies from Distribuidora La Canasta, and some will also sell dishes. 

The musical lineup is set to entertain with regional talent, including DJ Maury de la Vara spinning retro ’80s tunes, DJ Amy with contemporary electronic sounds, and DJ Winstone closing the night with a tropical set guaranteed to get everyone dancing. The main act will be Astros de Mendoza, a Mexican duo with 12 years of experience, who will delight the crowd with their blend of organic and electronic tropical sounds. 

Tickets are priced at $1,500 MXN per person, including a wine glass and tastings of wine and food (while supplies last). Attendees are encouraged to arrive on time to fully enjoy the enogastronomic and musical experience. The event also has a social impact, as part of the proceeds will support Provino Baja California’s projects benefiting the communities of the wine valleys, such as the reconstruction of San Vicente Park in the Valle de San Vicente, south of Ensenada, where the Antigua Ruta del Vino is located. 

Tickets can be purchased at various Farmacias Roma locations in Rosarito (Giramar Juárez), Tijuana (Paseo Playas, Triángulo de Oro, Campestre, Las Américas, Conquistador, Hipódromo, La Mesa, Tropicana, Plaza Torre Agua Caliente, Zona Río Urbana, Chapultepec, Cuauhtémoc), Mexicali (Justo Sierra, Caballito, Plaza 686), and Ensenada (Parque Revolución).  Online tickets are available here.

Get Ready for the Sassy Fine Art Festival 2024!

Rosarito is about to get a whole lot sassier! On Saturday, June 8th, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Hacienda Km 43 will host the Sassy Fine Art Festival. This all-day event promises a feast for the senses, featuring 23 of northern Baja’s finest artists, live music, delicious food from Chef Santos, and three fully stocked bars. It’s set to be a day of pure enjoyment.

The festival, inspired by the talents of Marlen Caster and Polo Valencia, will showcase a range of artistic brilliance. Marlen Caster’s glowing-in-the-dark artwork highlights the tragedy of discarded fishing nets in the sea. Her pieces are nothing short of mesmerizing. Polo Valencia, a seasoned artist with a gallery in Popotla since 1988, has helped curate the festival’s lineup. Polo’s gallery has attracted celebrities like Mel Gibson and James Cameron, and he has a knack for discovering incredible talent.

Adding to the excitement, Canadian author Marnie Ross, now residing in San Felipe, will be present to share her Baja-set murder mystery series. Young talents Maky Garcia Romero, and brothers Tonatiuh and Emiliano Ramírez, are also set to impress with their work.

The entertainment lineup is equally stellar. World-class violinist Jose Enrique Tovar, formerly of the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra, will perform. Jose, now living in Mexico, is renowned for his versatility, seamlessly switching from classical violin to fiddle.

Following Jose is Storyteller, a band of seasoned rockers guaranteed to get the crowd moving. Known for their infectious energy, drummer Todd and lead guitarist Dante, along with the rest of the band, promise to deliver a performance that will have everyone dancing.

The Sassy Fine Art Festival’s first year is shaping up to be an unforgettable celebration of art, music, and community. From stunning visual art to live performances and culinary delights, this event is all about enjoying the finer things in life.

Don’t miss out on what promises to be an unforgettable day at the Sassy Fine Art Festival!

Arena Valle de Guadalupe Opens Its Doors with a Bang!

Get ready, music lovers! The brand-new Arena Valle de Guadalupe is set to become Baja California’s premier entertainment hub, boasting a capacity of 10,000 and promising top-tier events. Although the arena is still a work in progress, the venue opened its doors to the press for an exclusive tour on May 16th, revealing its impressive architecture and design, all set against the stunning backdrop of the wine valley.

The grand opening concert will be headlined by none other than Christian Nodal on May 26th, marking the first of many spectacular events. Following Nodal, a star-studded lineup awaits: Carín León on June 8th, Ricky Martin on June 21st, Banda MS on June 22nd, and Los Aguilar on July 27th. And that’s just the beginning!

Nelly Sanoja, the arena’s representative, highlighted the venue’s modern yet regionally respectful design. Equipped with nearly 300 restrooms, 3,000 parking spaces, and advanced security systems, Arena Valle de Guadalupe is ready to welcome both national and international visitors. The venue also prides itself on its eco-friendly construction, featuring its own power substation and septic systems, and ensuring accessibility for all guests.

Photo courtesy of Alejandro Zepeda

Ricky Martin’s concert on June 21st is particularly anticipated, as he will be the first international artist to grace the new arena’s stage. Fans can expect a phenomenal show with Ricky’s greatest hits, including “Livin’ la Vida Loca” and “She Bangs” enhanced by a full symphony orchestra. Tickets range from 2,000 to 10,000 pesos, promising a high-quality visual and auditory experience.

Marco Santalices from InHouse, the production company behind the arena, assured that while a few final touches are still being made, the venue will be fully ready for Nodal’s concert. The arena’s long-term strategy already includes bookings up to 2025, big names like J.Lo, Michael Bublé, Andrea Bocelli, Raw Alejandro, and Maluma are already being mentioned while Luis Miguel is said to be already confirmed to perform, with the date to be announced soon.

Mark your calendars, grab your tickets, and get ready to experience world-class performances in the heart of Valle de Guadalupe!

We Bring You All the Details About Viñedos en Flor 2024!

Get ready for the vibrant XVIII Fiesta de los Viñedos en Flor, happening this June 8th at the scenic Jardín Decantos in Valle de Guadalupe. Wenceslao Martínez Payán, president of the Comité Provino Baja California, has announced that this charming family-friendly festivity will open its doors free to youngsters under 18, promising an unforgettable day for everyone. This annual gathering, rooted deep in the community for 17 years, primarily aims to fundraise through the sale of wine, food, and art.

Highlighting the event’s charitable spirit, last year’s proceeds went to substantial improvements at the local CBTA number 323 high school, benefiting 150 students. This enhancement included upgraded sports facilities, classroom furnishings, computer equipment, and a nearly completed civic plaza. Despite the fundraising not covering all the costs, Provino members generously filled the financial gap, ensuring the school remained a crucial stepping stone for local youth aiming for higher education.

As for the event itself, adults can enjoy wine tastings for a ticket price of 750 pesos, while children participate for free, without any limit per family. This year expects a turnout of about 200 kids, engaging in various artistic and recreational activities. They’ll get to contribute to a collective mural, fly kites, interact with farm animals, and even try their hand at large-scale painting, with the finished artworks auctioned off at the end of the day.

Foodies are in for a treat as well, with 84 wineries offering over 160 different wine labels to sample. The culinary section, led by chef Miguel Bahena, will feature a Mercadito Campestre showcasing local honey and cheeses, and multiple food stations manned by renowned chefs highlighting local ingredients. The event will also celebrate local cultures with traditional cooks and artisans.

For those interested in diving deeper into sustainable agriculture, don’t miss the Conferencias en Flor on June 7th at CETYS University’s Cevit Auditorium. This free event will feature expert talks on sustainable agriculture, aligning with Provino’s strategic themes.

Tickets are available at the Comité Provino offices, Decantos Vinícola, La Contra, at the door, or online at provinobc.mx. Don’t miss out on this beautiful blend of community, culture, and cuisine at Fiesta de los Viñedos en Flor!

Come Join the Fun at the Vineyard Fiesta in Valle de Guadalupe!

Mark your calendars for an unforgettable family-friendly event in the heart of Valle de Guadalupe! The “Fiesta de los Viñedos en Flor” is happening on June 8, 2024, at Jardín Decantos, and it promises to be a day full of sun, fun, and some fine wine.

Imagine a day where you can taste over 160 wine labels from 84 local wineries, munch on gourmet dishes from food stations run by guest chefs under the guidance of the acclaimed Chef Miguel Bahena, and shop for unique regional products at the Mercadito Campestre. All of this is set against the backdrop of large-scale live art creations, with three big paintings being auctioned off right where they’re made!

Kids will have a blast too, with plenty of arts and crafts, kite flying, and even a little farm to explore. Local Baja California tribes will be there as well, showcasing traditional cooking and crafts.

The event runs from 12 PM to 7 PM, and while adults need to grab their tickets for 750 MXN (about $45 at the current exchange rate), kids under 18 can join in for free—just remember, no pets allowed!

For a smooth experience, be sure to bring your QR-coded ticket and ID, and follow all health guidelines to keep everyone safe and happy.

So, bring your family and friends to Jardín Decantos for a delightful day among the vines. It’s not just a wine tasting; it’s a celebration of local culture and community spirit!

Little Shop of Horrors’ Returns to La Mision with a Polished Encore Performance!

BY DAVID CATTANIO

Great news for all of you who love a mix of dark comedy and thrilling musical numbers—La Misión Performing Arts Center (LMPAC) is bringing back “Little Shop of Horrors” for an encore performance! If you missed out last time because of the shutdown from Hurricane Hilary, here’s your chance to catch this cult classic.

The story is all about Seymour, a shy flower shop assistant who stumbles upon a peculiar plant during a solar eclipse. Naming it Audrey II after his crush, he soon finds out this plant has a bizarre diet—it thrives on human blood. As Audrey II grows, so does the shop’s fame, but at a chilling cost. This show promises a roller-coaster ride that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat!

This isn’t just another run of the show. We’ve polished and fine-tuned everything. As a New England native, directing this slice of Skid Row—a throwback to an old New York vibe—has been a blast. It’s been like revisiting the streets I remember, complete with authentic accents and attitudes. The challenges of revisiting a well-known show like this are many, but our dedicated and super talented cast turns these challenges into fun.

I’m grateful for the chance to put on the director’s hat once again for this encore performance. We’ve dug deeper into the characters, spruced up the costumes, and tightened our choreography. And yes, managing four different puppets hasn’t been easy, but it’s definitely upped our game.

Our crew and cast have been tirelessly fine-tuning their performances, and now we’re ready for you to see the results. Whether it’s your first time or you’re back for more, your support means the world to us.

Don’t forget to use the promo code ‘GAZETTE’ to snag $5 off your ticket. Grab your seats, sit back, and get ready for a wildly entertaining show that’s sure to be a highlight of your year!

Click here to buy your tickets!

See you at the theater!

Make a Difference for Animals in Need

Red Barn Rescue, based in San Diego, CA, and extending its help to Baja, Mexico, serves as a safe haven for animals that have faced abuse, neglect, or abandonment. More than just a rescue, this nonprofit educates the public on important issues like the benefits of spaying and neutering and the joys of adopting a rescue animal.

The organization invites you to support their mission by attending a special fundraising event on April 29, 2024, from 3 PM to 6 PM at Hacienda K43. For a $25 USD donation, guests will enjoy a mini buffet featuring pizza, pasta, and salad, and receive a complimentary margarita or sangria.

This fun-filled afternoon offers a chance to meet fellow animal lovers, enjoy delicious food, and contribute to a cause that transforms lives—one animal at a time. Funds raised will help Red Barn Rescue continue their work, partnering with approved local fosters to provide nurturing temporary homes until each animal finds their forever family.

To learn more about the event or how you can help, visit Red Barn Rescue. Your support can lead to a brighter future for these deserving animals. Join us on April 29th to make a lasting impact in your community!

Set Sail or Fail: Guadalupe Island Regatta’s Wavy Third Edition!

Exciting news for sailing enthusiasts and adventure lovers! The third edition of the Guadalupe Island to Ensenada Regatta is set to sail on May 18th. This isn’t just any race; it’s a challenging offshore journey that stretches over 400 nautical miles and lasts between five to six days, depending on the weather.

Carlos Hussong González, a member of the Todos Santos Ocean Racing Club and a promoter of this maritime competition, shared that this year, they’re expecting around three sailboats to participate. He mentioned that this race is catching the eyes of international sailors each year, helping to solidify its status as a top-tier offshore sailing event. Offshore races, unlike coastal sailing where boats stay close to land, involve greater risks and demand intense technical skill and effort from the crew, making them a major draw in other parts of the world, both as a sport and a tourist attraction.

This edition of the race has the backing of the Mexican Sailing Federation and will feature international judges, which just adds to its prestige. Hussong González also highlighted the potential for local tourism, noting the huge sailing community in California, with over fifty thousand sailboats, suggesting a promising market for sailing events in Mexico.

The race starts and finishes in the city of Ensenada and promises to be an exhilarating challenge for everyone involved. So, if you’re into sailing or just love the thrill of a good race, this event might just be what you’re looking for!

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Crossing South Wine & Food Festival – Segunda Edicion

BY REN DRAKE HILL

Directly from last year’s “resounding success,” the Crossing South Wine and Food Festival will again adorn the Gardens of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, Saturday, April 20, 3 – 9 pm. Crossing South claims there was an “overwhelming” demand for a second Festival. Jorge Meraz, host of Crossing South on PBS will again be the Host of Honor this year. There will be many photo ops around the festival, so feel free to take some snaps of your favorite chefs, vintners, and the host Jorge, himself. 

Due to this success, the number of restaurants, wineries and entertainers were expanded. Thirteen wineries of the Valle de Guadalupe will join with 25 restaurants and three craft breweries from Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, and points in between. Restaurants will provide tastes of their signature dishes. Now I know you may have a different “signature dish” in your minds, but this will be a chance to sample other great menu items from your favorite bistros. All this while being entertained by many talented musicians and entertainers. There may even be a salsa dancing class, or two.

This year’s Crossing South event promises to be more spectacular. One new touch, to celebrate spring, the Crossing South Wine and Food Fest will be a White Attire Event. (I hope I can still wear my blue Crossing South hat!)

Some of the local restaurants include Marea Alta, Pasta y Basta, Chaubert’s (Rosarito Beach Hotel’s fine dining establishment), Tacos Kokopelli, ad Hacienda de Badu, a favorite of roasted lamb lovers. 

Crossing South on PBS is in its 12th season. New episodes featuring arts, artists, culture, and food, from fine dining to the best in taco stands, will be airing starting this month. If you are unable to catch the episodes as they air on PBS, many episodes are available at the PBS website. Some past shows have highlighted the Blues Against Hunger drive and the Rosarito Club de Ninos y Ninas. 

PBS joins COTUCO and CANIRAC of Rosarito, the ministry of tourism, and the Chamber of Restaurants as co-hosts of this gastronomic event. 

Tickets are available at www.Eventbrite.com, under “events in Mexico.” General admission to this “all you can eat/sip event”: $80; VIP admission $150, or $72 and $145.90 respectively with the 10% discount. Last year this event sold out, so get your tickets pronto. Your attendance doesn’t merely delight your taste buds, but you will be supporting the emergent culinary scene in northern Baja California. 

Crossing South is a “Feel good” show to entice those in the southern US to visit our beautiful Baja, and to remind those of us living here, Tijuana to Ensenada, what a culinary paradise we are living in.

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