This week on Valley Edition reporter Ezra David Romero visits the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif. We are also joined by Valley farmer Paul Betancourt who talks about the state of agriculture in the region.

Fresno Grand Opera

This Sunday the stage of the William Saroyan Theatre comes alive in the Fresno Grand Opera’s production of Andre Previn’s opera “A Streetcar Named Desire.” But it’s not just a great chance to hear world class-musicians, it’s also a big moment for the company as it enters a new era.

Last year the Fresno Grand Opera and the Townsend Opera in Modesto joined forces in a partnership that at least in Central California is unprecedented. The companies now share both the same programming, and the same management staff, while remaining distinct entities. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

There are only a few towns in Central California with their own opera companies and even fewer creating new art forms. In Visalia, a director has brought mariachi and opera together to form an original mariachi opera called “El Bracero.” In this story FM89’s Ezra David Romero meets the opera’s creator and discovers a new art form that weaves together elements of love and struggle.

Mariachi is very important to the Latino community. The Mexican folk music is played at quinceaneras, weddings and celebrations of all sorts. But rarely is it heard in the world of opera, until now.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition KVPR's Ezra David Romero reports on the fusion of mariachi and opera in Visalia.  Also on the show reporter Diana Aguilera reports from Dinuba where Covered California is focusing outreach efforts on the Latino community. But the only problem is that many don't quality for coverage.

How I Started an Opera Company in Visalia

Jul 29, 2013
Visalia Opera Company

How did I, of all people, end up starting an opera company? The answer has to do with being willing to forget about credentials and just take that first step. The answer also has to do with the open culture of my hometown.

I grew up in Visalia, singing Gloria Estefan and Selena songs at county fairs. All I wanted to do when I grew up was to be a pop singer—to shake my booty on stage and wear glittery outfits. I didn’t know the first thing about opera.

Zachary Maxwell Stertz

Mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor has received international acclaim performing with the world’s premier orchestras and conductors, premiering exciting new works, and breathing new life into familiar favorites.

This week on Valley Edition we look at how new regulations, budget cuts and the economy are all changing the way local colleges operate. Dr. Tony Cantu from Fresno City College joins us to talk about new policies that are intended to keep community college students on track to graduate within two years. We also talk with higher education advocate Jessie Ryan of the Campaign for College Opportunity and Joe Haydock of Institute of Technology, Clovis Campus about new federal regulations that prevent students who don't have a high school diploma or GED from obtaining financial aid.

Interview: Audra McDonald

Sep 22, 2011
Michael Wilson / IMG Artists

Audiences throughout the world know Audra McDonald as a star of both the stage and screen, a three time Tony Award winner, a two time Grammy winner, and until recently a star on the hit ABC television series Private Practice. Her latest project finds her returning to the world of musical theatre, starring in a new production of Porgy and Bess, currently on stage in Cambridge Massachusetts, and scheduled to make its way to Broadway in December.

This week on Valley Edition, we feature an in-depth interview with newly un-retired Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. We talk talk about the Fresno Grand Opera's upcoming season.