MAGIC VALLEY — Opera Idaho's first mainstage production since the beginning of the pandemic is back this weekend with the Merry Widow. And the Magic Valley may recognize one of the performers on stage.
The Merry Widow's Cecilia Violetta Lopez grew up in Rupert, Idaho, and made her Opera Idaho debut in 2014. Her parents were farmworkers, and on occasion, brought her and her older brother out to work in the fields.
“That was just what we did because it was, well one, it was a way to provide for our little family but for our parents that were just a way that they instilled in us a good work ethic," Lopez said.
It was out in those fields in Rupert where Cecilia says her mother initiated her love for singing.
“So the thing with working out in those fields is where my mom taught me how to sing. She taught me all of the songs that she grew up singing and that my grandma taught her. The music is what she used to help the hours go by faster because fieldwork is not fun,” Lopez said.
During her teenage years, Cecilia sang with mariachi bands at rodeos and quinceñeras, but it wasn't until her college years when she was introduced to opera.
“Me coming from a very Mexican, very mariachi type of singing background, it was challenging. I didn’t understand what vocal technique was and how to raise the soft palate and all the physics behind it," Lopez said.
Since her 2014 Opera Idaho debut, Opera news named Cecilia one of Opera's 25 rising stars.
The Merry Widow will be Cecilia's first performance without any COVID-19 restrictions.
“We’re loving it. Loving just being able to tell these stories. A lot of the singers are my friends, and it’s just nice to see them and to hear them again because they’re great performers," Lopez said.
The Merry Widow premieres tonight with another performance following tomorrow night.
Visit Opera Idaho's website for more information.