Romance at the Opera

By Michael Pearl

This Sunday, October 13, at 5pm at St. Paul’s Church, Pro Musica presents an evening at the opera, starring tenor Rodrigo Garciarroyo and soprano Zaira Soria Tinoco. Rodrigo needs no introduction as San Miguel’s and, increasingly, Mexico’s favorite tenor, and I wrote about him in my article in Atención last week.

Pro Musica presents Romance at the Opera
With Rodrigo Garciarroyo, tenor; Zaira Soria Tinoco, soprano;
Mario Alberto Hernández, piano
Sun, Oct 13, 5pm
St. Paul’s Church
Cardo 6

Zaira, however, has only been heard in San Miguel at Opera San Miguel’s competition, in which she was the universally vetted overall winner in 2010. I first met her that year when she came to one of our concerts at St. Paul’s, during the time she was in town for the Concourso. I only needed a few minutes in her company to know what a beautiful human being she is, totally dedicated to her art and with a voice that is pure silver and laughter, whether she is singing or talking. This is a lady with the personality and shape-shifting abilities to sing a wide variety of operatic roles with total conviction to the point where there is no doubt that she is the character she portrays.

Originally from Parral, Chihuahua, she has won many awards, including at the Concorso Internazionale Citta di Bologna in Italy in 2011, and the first and special prize for the best interpretation of Mozart in the well-known Maritza German Singing Contest in 2006. Zaira has already sung leading roles in Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni by Mozart, La Cenerentola by Rossini, Don Pasquale and L’ elisir d’ amore by Donizetti, La Bohème by Puccini, Un ballo in masquera by Verdi and Werther by Massenet.

It is with an aria from Act II of Massanet’s Manon Lescaut, his most popular and enduring opera, that we open our program. Zaira is our heroine, Manon, and she sings the exquisite “La petite table.” She has been told that her love, Des Grieux, will be kidnapped and that their happy days together will soon be over. She bids adieu to the table at which she and her love ate many happy meals.

This is followed by Rodrigo singing the magnificent “Je suis seul—Ah, Fuyez” from Act III. Both singers then perform “Pardonnez moi, Dieu de tout puissant” and, finally “Toi! Vous!,” a spectacular duet where the lovers dramatically rekindle their passion at the end of the act.

This is followed by an equally ravishing set of arias from Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. Nemorino (Rodrigo) is in love with Adina (Zaira), but she isn’t interested. To win her heart, Nemorino buys a love potion, an elixir. After she drinks it, he sees Adina weeping, and hopes she has fallen in love with him. Is the elixir working?

Starting with the duet “Caro elisir, sei mio” from Act I, Nemorino is emboldened by the elixir and displays an off-hand swagger in Adina’s presence, much to her chagrin. She retaliates by saying she will marry another. This only amuses Nemorino, as he is sure his elixir will soon take effect. From Act II we then hear him sing “Una furtiva lagrima,” when he realizes the elixir actually works. Finally, Zaira sings “Prendi, per me sei libero,” encouraging him to remain at home where everyone loves him; truly the potion is working. The aria demands a great deal of vocal acrobatics from the soprano with its tremendous range and rigorous coloratura.

After the intermission, there is a suite of arias from Verdi’s La Traviata. Our stars open with the duet, “Un dì, felice” (One day, happy and ethereal) from Act I. The famous main melody of the duet is an important theme throughout the opera, and was heard in the movie Pretty Woman. This is followed by “Lunge da lei De’ miei bollenti spiriti” from Act II, where Alfredo and Violetta are living outside Paris. Alfredo (Rodrigo) sings of their happy life together… There’s no pleasure in life when she’s away!


We then move to Violetta’s deathbed, where she receives a letter telling her that Alfredo is on his way. She knows that it will be too late, though, and sings a farewell to her happiness with him, “Addio del passato.” We conclude with “Parigi o cara,”where the lovers are finally reunited before Violetta’s death.

Other highlights of Sunday evening’s performance will include an aria from Gounod’s Faust, and well-known songs by several Mexican composers.

Tickets for the concert are 100, 200 and 300 pesos donation each, and are on sale at La Tienda in La Biblioteca, Insurgentes 25; La Conexión, Aldama 3; Solutions, Mesones 57; and St. Paul’s Church, calle Cardo 6, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, and at the door half an hour before concert time.

Details of all Pro Musica concerts and Patron Membership are on our website:, or e-mail us at


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