Mexico Goes to the Opera and Likes What It Hears

October 24, 2012 by
Categories: Mexico

By William Booth, Washingtonpost.com

MEXICO CITY — In high times and low, Mexicans turn to their music. To love, to lament, there’s Mexican music for every occasion: poetic ballads, bouncy polkas, rodeo rancheras, plus goth rock, marimba, metal, you name it.

And then there’s opera.

“The warmth, the emotion conveyed by the Latin voice, that you hear in popular music like the mariachi, you hear the same thing — romance, tragedy — at the opera,” said Charles Oppenheim, editor of a magazine published by ProOpera, a private nonprofit group promoting the sublime art in the Americas, and himself a singer.

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“The Mexican voice has fire, a brilliance, a light, but it also has this darkness,” McClain said. “The singers have this connection, this access to their feelings. It’s very intense, very immediate, no apologies. And, of course, that is the world of opera, that volcano of emotion.”

The singers receive a week of coaching from the professionals, in diction, language, dramatic acting — training that is expensive or hard to find in Mexico for young talent. At the end of the course, a dozen singers perform in front of a packed house at the Angela Peralta Theater. This year, the winner received a scholarship and a chance to debut with the Acapulco Philharmonic Orchestra.

“The audience in San Miguel think they’re at a soccer game,” McClain said. “They’re yelling and clapping and cheering. It’s just wonderful.”

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