From Mariachi To Opera: Soprano Recalls Her Roots In Southern Idaho

Nov 10, 2017

Credit Vanessa Preziose / Courtesy of the artist

Not many opera stars claim Southern Idaho as their home. Cecilia Violetta Lopez does. This weekend the soprano returns to the Gem State to perform " Music of the Americas " for the Boise Philharmonic.

Her middle name Violetta is also the character she played in La Traviata the last time she sang here, for Opera Idaho. In this interview with Tom Michael, she explains that this famous operatic name was given to her by accident.

Lopez speaks about her humble upbringing in a Mexican-American family working the beet fields of Rupert, Idaho, and how her early musical education was not opera, but the rancheros and nortenos of mariachi music.

She credits public media in Idaho with helping her learn English and introducing her to the "strange" styles of opera.

She also tells a poignant story about the first sentence her father said to her in English, after a performance of Madame Butterfly.

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