Although this is only the event’s second year, the founders of the Tucson Desert Song Festival like to point out that our city has had a long history with classical music.

The University of Arizona has been offering courses in classical music since the late 1800s, and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra can lay claim to being the oldest performing arts organization in Arizona.

This heritage helped to shape the Desert Song Festival’s mission of presenting the world’s best classical singers to Southwest audiences. Jennifer Johnson Cano is an acclaimed mezzo soprano who has sung with the Metropolitan Opera since 2009.

Over the next two weeks, she will be visiting a number of local venues as a guest performer with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra during the 2014 Tucson Desert Song Festival.

Jennifer Johnson Cano makes her debut with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra performing Berlioz’s Nuits d'été (Summer Nights), and Ravel’s Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. at Catalina Foothills High School.

Johnson Cano also sings the role of Marguerite in The Damnation of Faust on Feb. 14 and 16 at the Tucson Music Hall as part of the second annual Tucson Desert Song Festival.