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Horacio Franco

Renowned flute and recorder player horacio franco is one of the most successful Mexican classical musicians. His vast repertoire ranges from Renaissance to Baroque and contemporary works. Enjoying virtual rock star status, he has broken the stereotype of the traditional classical musician. A frequent soloist with virtually every Mexican orchestra, Mr. Franco also appears with distinguished ensembles around the globe, including the American Composers Orchestra (debut Carnegie Hall, 1994), the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra of San Francisco, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Symphoniker, Hungary's Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, and Tokyo Solisten. Of special note is Mr. Franco's record of appearances in seven consecutive seasons with the famed Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

Mr. Franco has edited 22 CDs, on which he performs either as soloist or conductor. He has, to date performed the world premieres of over 50 works, written specifically for him by composers from around the world. In 1998, he and double bassist Victor Flores performed together in a series of highly successful concerts, including "From the Middle Ages to the Danzon" and "From Bach to the Beatles."

   
Gabriel Gonzalez

gabriel gonzález was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, where he made his debut in Lucia di Lammermoor and then appeared in Pagliacci, Tosca, Rigoletto and La Boheme. His American debut was with the Aspen Music Festival as B. F. Pinkerton in Puccini's Madame Butterfly, a role he also sang for Opera de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Teatro Lirico d'Europa and for OPERA 2001 in his operatic debut in Spain.

At Houston Grand Opera, Mr. González portrayed two of Gounod's characters in French: Romeo in Romeo et Juliette and the title role in Faust; and also sang Rodolfo in La Boheme. Among the highlights of his career are his portrayals of Federico in the American premiere of Cilea's L'Arlesiana, Don José in Bizet's Carmen and Corrado in Verdi's Il Corsaro for Sarasota Opera.

His European debut was in Spain as tenor soloist in the Verdi "Messa di Requiem" with the Barcelona Symphony, a role with which he also made his debut in Mexico City with the National Symphony. Mr. Gonzalez has sung Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata for Gars Festival in Austria, Tampa Opera, Edmonton Opera and Connecticut Grand Opera. He has performed the role of Duca di Mantova in Rigoletto for Connecticut Grand Opera, Teatro Lirico d'Europa and Utah Festival Opera. His debut role with Opera de Zapopan was Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. He has also appeared with Los Angeles Opera in Lucia di Lammermoor and La Boheme. For Houston Grand Opera, he sang three Verdi tenor roles as Don Alvaro in La forza del destino, as Rodolfo in Luisa Miller and as Manrico in Il Trovatore.

Mr. Gonzalez has won many vocal competitions and awards and has made numerous appearances as a recitalist in the United States, Mexico and Russia. Mr. Gonzalez attributes his ascending career to his experiences working with many great maestri, including Anton Guadagno, Richard Bonynge, Roberto Abbado, Christoph Eschenbach, Lawrence Foster, Enrique Diemecke, Vjekoslav Sutej, Metodi Matakiev and Enrique Patron De Rueda. Recently Mr. Gonzalez sang his debut as Mario Cavaradossi for Teatro Lirico d'Europa with great success, celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of his operatic debut.

   
Monica Patino

Monica patiño opened her first restaurant in Mexico in 1978. She owns several restaurants today, and in 2004, received the Award for Restaurateur of the Year.

Monica trained in the culinary field in Mexico and in France. She has represented Mexico at many culinary summits in Portugal and England. She has a highly rated Cooking Show in Mexico, and is currently working on a new TV series. Recently, Monica has spent time studying South Asian food in Thailand.

Her cookbook "Sabores en la cocina de Monica Patiño", winner of the Foreign Language Illustrated Cookbook in the Cordon d' Or - Gold Ribbon Awards 2005. She also won an award in 2004 at the Gourmand World Cookbook event, for the best female cookbook in Spanish.

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