In Mexico City, bringing opera to the grocery aisles

Posted on: September 4, 2018

“The tenor breaks into song next to bunches of bananas strung high above ripe papaya,” writes Amy Guthrie in Sunday’s (9/2) Associated Press. “The recent opera performance is part of an effort to bring the arts to everyday life in Mexico City. A troupe of four singers surprises shoppers at one of the city’s 300 public markets, chopping beef while they belt out romanzas … or, in the case of the tenor, moving a woman to tears with lines such as ‘eyes that cry don’t know how to lie’ from the Spanish-language opera ‘La Tabernera del Pueblo.’  … The tenor is a market vendor himself: Francisco Pedraza sells shoes seven days a week near the Basilica of Guadalupe. He trained to sing opera…. One day this summer, the opera crew appeared for a sound check at the market where Pedraza sells shoes. Pedraza … auditioned … and was invited to join the troupe. Pedraza’s wife runs the store while he’s out singing…. Juan Carlos Diaz, coordinator of the community cultural action program for Mexico’s national fine arts institute, said he was planning more impromptu operas in 2019 [in] public markets and metro stations. Diaz calls them ‘spontaneous interruptions in social life.’ ”

Posted September 4, 2018