Coming next month to the University of Guadalajara’s newest architectural bauble, the state-of-the-art concert hall Conjunto de Artes Escenicas, is singer Maria Katzarava, who many consider Mexico’s greatest soprano.
She will be performing passages from French composer Francis Poulenc’s opera La Voixe Humaine.
Katzarava was born in 1984 to a family of musicians in Mexico City. Her suspiciously eastern-European-sounding surname comes from her father, a Georgia native; both he and Katzarava’s mother played violin for Mexico’s National Symphony Orchestra.
At age 15, Katzarava began studying voice with Veracruz soprano Rosario Andrade. She further developed her skills under the tutelage of several teachers, including Maritza Aleman at the Escuela Superior de Musica, Gabriel Mijares and James Demster.
The soprano’s first major coup occurred in 2005, when she placed first at the Carlo Morelli competition in Mexico City, which paved the way for her casting in Romeo and Juliet as the page Stephano, performing alongside world-renown singer Anna Netrebko.
In 2007, Placid Domingo, incidentally a great friend to Guadalajara, was impressed by her performance at a gala in Acapulco; in short order she had landed a position in the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program at the Los Angeles Opera. The following year, she participated in the Operalia competition in Canada, placing first in a field of 1,000 competitors from 200 countries.
Maria Katzarava’s La Voz Humana will occupy the Conjunto Saturday, February 10, 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, February 11, 6 p.m. Tickets are 100-300 pesos, 50 for students. The Conjunto is located at Avenida Periferico Norte 1695, Rinconada de la Azalea, Zapopan.