In partnership with The Mariachi Conservatory, LA Opera invites people from around LA County (with a concentrated focus on East LA) to explore opera. The Zarzuela Project is a key component of this. Led by a team of LA Opera teaching artists, including Melodee Fernandez, Abdiel Gonzalez and Vivian Liu, The Zarzuela Project accepts all ages and weekly rehearsals are held at Salesian High School in East LA. Fernandez’s students rehearse various Zarzuelas and perform them at partner venues around the community. It is a project that is very dear to LA Opera General Director Plácido Domingo, whose parents were both Zarzuela singers.
One of the members of The Zarzuela Project is Andrea Sohn.
Andrea Sohn raised her three children Nicolas (14), Julen (10) and Shela (8) with a strong appreciation for classical music and opera. Sohn feels that it is extremely important to keep the classical arts alive (she’s a former ballet dancer). When Sohn’s music appreciation teacher encouraged her to participate in The Zarzuela Project a few months ago, she did not have to give it much thought before signing up her entire family. She and her children brave rush hour traffic from Torrance to Salesian High School in East Los Angeles for each rehearsal, because Sohn believes it is her duty to share her passion for the arts with her children.
As a result of The Zarzuela Project, the entire family now feels at home on stage. “I like the Zarzuela Project, because I can relate to Spanish culture and express my feelings in dance and song. I know I am not alone on stage, because I can count on my brothers and my mom to be there with me.”
Click here to watch a short video about The Zarzuela Project and meet the talented Esquivetzeta-Sohn family.
Upcoming Zarzuela Project Performances:
Sunday, April 17, 2:00pm & 4:00pm
Free Concert of Zarzuela and Mariachi
Plaza Kiosko at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument
Home of Olvera Street
125 Paseo de la Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Monique Lyons is a graduate student in the Master of Art in Media for Social Justice program at Woodbury University and founder of MySurvivorVillage.org, the virtual Latina cancer community.