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The Three Women of Jerusalem The Three Women of Jerusalem

Composed by Carla Lucero

Conducted by James Conlon

March 19, 2022

A heartwarming new opera created for families

Newly commissioned from composer and librettist Carla Lucero, The Three Women of Jerusalem (Las tres mujeres de Jerusalén), will be performed by a cast of hundreds in a monumental staging at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, with hundreds of additional performers joining in virtually from around the world.

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Sung in Spanish, the opera is based on the Passion narrative of the Eighth Station of the Cross, depicting the women who weep for Jesus as He is forced toward the crucifixion. The opera imagines who these unnamed women were, showing the experiences of ordinary people sharing their compassion when confronted with evil.

Important COVID-19 Audience Policy Update:
LA Opera has adopted a temporary vaccination-only policy in addition to requiring masks. These guidelines will be in effect beginning September 1, 2021, and will end as soon as they are deemed no longer necessary. Please click here to review all protocols.


Maria Elena Altany
Gabriela Flores
Peabody Southwell
Alaysha Fox
Jacob Ingbar
Ashley Faatoalia
Pontius Pilate/Pharisee
Michael J. Hawk

Creative Team

Carla Lucero
James Conlon
Eli Villanueva

Read the synopsis

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People fill a town square in Jerusalem. They are singing happy songs, telling jokes, dancing and bartering with open air shopkeepers. Out of the crowd, three women emerge. There is a big commotion and a cross is seen being carried through the town square by a group of men. They carry it offstage.

Everybody is suddenly quiet during a somber moment of confusion from the crowds. The Three Women aren’t sure what is happening yet. Curious, they join the crowd moving to follow. (Audience and both choruses sing a hymn.)  From a distance the women hear Pontius Pilate sentencing Jesus. The Children’s Choir responds as Jesus. The crowd gasps when Jesus falls (the Children’s Choir sings of struggle) and the Three Women wonder why nobody is helping Him or showing compassion, and yet they too feel helpless and afraid.

Mother Mary enters, following her Son. Simo then appears beside Mary and offers to help Jesus carry the cross. Veronica then enters with the cloth that she wiped Jesus’s face with. It has the imprint of his face on it. The Three Women sing in awe with the Adult Chorus.

Jesus falls again and there is a big choral moment of pain with the organ. Women find their strength, and step forward to offer their help, but instead, Jesus sings to them about compassion and sacrifice for the greater good, telling them that the time of his suffering is almost over. The Three Women ask why he is being stripped and the response from the Adult Chorus is symbolic – the stripping of compassion in a modern society, the stripping of one’s true identity, the stripping of faith.

In the distance, Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies. (Audience and both choruses sing a hymn.) As the women witness the crucifixion, it feels to them as if the universe has cracked and broken.

Suddenly there is cold forsaken silence and overwhelming isolation. Quietly, Mother Mary appears again, leading the procession to the tomb. She sings an aria about a mother’s love and sorrow, letting go of a child so that they can discover their own purpose.

The Children’s Chorus hums during the procession as the set is changed for the final scene to reveal the empty tomb. The Three Women, Mother Mary, and the two other Marys are seen at the tomb. They sing a canon, which then turns into a hymn for the audience to join in 

Performances take place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (555 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).

Production made possible with a generous grant from the  
Dan Murphy Foundation 

Special support also received from the 
City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs 
Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture 
Mrs. Joseph A. Saunders

Artwork for The Three Women of Jerusalem
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2021/22 Season