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A West Edge Opera Commission

World Premiere 2025


Nicolás Lell Benavides, Composer

Marella Martin Koch, Librettist

Partners Include: BroadStage in Santa Monica, Opera Southwest, San Diego Opera, Campo Santo at The Magic Theatre


Dolores Huerta photo credit: Harvey Richards Media Archive

Dolores is the second complete length opera to be commissioned and developed by West Edge Opera. Dolores was initially commissioned in 2021. 

Dolores Huerta is a legend in the fight for farm workers’ rights. In June of 1968, the movement lost a major ally and Dolores lost a friend when Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. The opera focuses on Dolores’ struggles, triumphs, and tragedies during some of the most iconic and charged weeks of American history.


Commissioners & Supporters Include: Steve Fletcher & Carl Croft, Christina & Kenneth Hecht, Terry McKelvey & Heli Roiha, Heidi Munzinger & Jonn Shott, William & Linda Scheiber, Carol Franc Buck Foundation, Alice Ditson Fund, The Fleishhacker Foundation, Sam Mazza Foundation, Phyllis Wattis Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and Zellerbach Foundation.


The development of Dolores is taking place over the course of three years, with a series of milestones built into the process including:


January 2022 | A libretto reading with actors from Campo Santo at The Magic Theatre, led by Sean San Jose.


January 2023 | A piano-vocal workshop of Dolores at The Order of Odd Fellows, led by conductor Mary Chun and dramaturg Karina Gutiérrez.


August 2023 | Preview Performance at The Taube Atrium Theater in San Francisco.

August 2024 | A complete piano vocal workshop at The Oakland Scottish Rite Center


World Premiere 2025 

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Lead Creative Team

Composer: Nicolás Lell Benavides

Librettist: Marella Martin Koch

Conductor: Mary Chun

Director: Octavio Cardenas

Dramaturg: Karina Gutiérrez


Dolores is a part of West Edge Opera’s Pacific Opera Initiative (POI) - an integrated platform for new opera commissions, development, programming, and partnerships that approaches the creation of new American opera with a fresh take.

Dolores is Commissioned by West Edge Opera with co-commissioners: Opera Southwest in Albuquerque; The Broad Stage in Santa Monica; and San Diego Opera.
It will have a rolling premiere in 2024/25.

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