WATCH — Lamar State College Port Arthur instructor is also professional opera singer

Published 12:42 am Thursday, October 7, 2021

Port Arthur is long known for a plethora of talented individuals and now there’s another to add to the list — Blas A. Canedo Gonzalez, Ph.D., a Lamar State College Port Arthur voice professor and professional opera singer.

You can catch one of his performances streaming through Oct. 11 as he portrays Figaro the barber in The Barber from Seville in Texas. The opera production is by the Houston Grand Opera To Go, a part of the Houston Grand Opera focused on community outreach.

“It is a shorter, family oriented English/Spanish version of the Barber from Seville by Gioachino Rossini, which is originally written in Italian,” Gonzalez said.

“I have the great honor to work with world class artists, such as our stage director Cecy Duarte, our music director Kirill Kuzmin, as well as Hector Vasquez performing the role of Bartolo. Hector is also an important opera singer in the U.S. and a great voice teacher and colleague.”

Gonzalez will be performing in another show Nov. 12 and 14 with the Glen Falls Symphony at the Zankel Music Center in Schroon Lake, New York.

The singer explained in this performance he is in the role of the evil “Everybody” in the opera Lucinda y las Flores de la Noche Buena, a one-act children’s Christmas opera.

Ticket information is available at theglensfallssymphony.org/concert-schedule-2/.

More about the singer

Gonzalez is originally from Colombia, South America, and chose opera due to the influence of his grandfather, Don Luis Gonzalez, a Spaniard who was a professional musician and teacher at a conservatory. He helped Gonzalez cultivate his interest in music in general.

“I also had the influence of my music teacher and choir director at my high school, Julian Villarraga,” he said. “After I obtained my law degree at the Universidad Externado de Colombia I decided to focus on becoming an opera singer and voice teacher. I ended up living in the U.S. thanks to a full scholarship that I received from Texas Christian University to do my Master’s Degree in Music. I have been living in Texas since 2006.”

He counts a number of people as his mentors or those he looks up to in the field, including Joseph Evans, his voice professor during his doctorate pursuit at the University of Houston.

Professional opera singer and voice professor at Lamar State College Port Arthur Blas A. Canedo Gonzalez, PhD. (Courtesy photo)

He also counts Lois Alba in Houston as a mentor, saying he is blessed to keep in touch with her and that he will be one of the judges for the next Aria Competition in Houston in the spring.

Buck Ross at the Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston has also given Gonzalez many opportunities to perform great opera roles.

“I have had the honor to be in productions in which the Moores Opera Center, ranked the first in the U.S. He helped me to refine my stage presence and acting skills, and I loved learning from and working with him,” he said. “I also have tremendous respect for Maestro Paolo Paroni, a fantastic conductor in Italy — I learned a lot about the bel canto style of singing while working with him in Europe.”

In The Barber from Seville in Texas and Lucinda y las Flores de la Noche Buena, Gonzalez is portraying Hispanic characters, which is very important to him.

“These two shows are also great for families and for anyone new to opera,” he said. “They are easy to follow and always engage first time opera goers. I am very pleased that I can help bring the beautiful art form of opera to more people through these wonderful shows.”

Betty Reynard, PhD, president of Lamar State College Port Arthur, said the college has been extremely fortunate to have accomplished faculty members like Gonzalez.

“For our students, he personifies the possibilities that exist for someone who pursues their career dreams with passion,” she said. “He represents the college on the world stage and in such a way that brings honor and awe to the reputation of Lamar State College Port Arthur.”