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Llorona artist spotlight - Alba Franco-Cancel

April 19, 2019

La Llorona Artist Spotlight: Soprano Alba Franco-Cancél (Sara)

Alba Franco-Cancél'

How did you first hear about the folk tale of La Llorona?

I first heard about La Llorona folk tale when I was about 9 years old. It was a story passed down by word-of-mouth, especially among kids. I remember sitting on the top of a communal concrete mailbox structure ( yes, that was something!) with a few other kids back in Puerto Rico, and we decided to tell scary stories. One of the girls told the story about this woman in white who lost her kid and died in a river. She looked at the full moon and added: “it is said that on full moon nights, she wanders around crying looking for kids to kidnap, in fact, I can actually see her standing in front of us right now”. And we all ran back home, scared!

What are you most excited for in this production?

I am excited to work with Hector Armienta. It is a great and rare opportunity to be able to work closely with the composer. I look forward to work with him, and to bring his Sara to life!

What first attracted you to the stage?

My mom always tells the story of when I was about two years old and told her I was a singer and an actress, and how she would find me crying desperately in front of a mirror and when she would ask what was wrong I would tell her “ leave me alone, I am practicing”. I believe what has always attracted me to the arts and the stage, is the ability that it offers me to feel and experience different aspects of life, situations and emotions that I will probably never get to experience. It also challenges me to understand a certain character, not judge their choices and to find its truth within me.

What advice would you have for singers preparing for a career in opera?

1- Don’t rely solely on your raw talent, you have to always be over-prepared and ahead of everything and everyone 2- Rejections are part of the job, its ok to feel sad but you have to move on very quickly 3- Be honest with yourself, set goals that you can actually meet 4- Do your research, research the level of talent companies usually hires... are you there yet? Go and practice! 5- Know your strengths, rely on them, but work hard on your weaknesses  6- Learn to love your voice and yourself

If you weren’t pursuing opera, what would you be doing instead?

If I weren't an opera singer, I would probably be a full time actress. But if I have to choose something not related to the performing arts then, I would probably be an astronomer!

We will continue sharing more artist spotlights in the coming weeks! CLICK HERE to view Jessica Blau's video artist spotlight. Blau will sing the leading role of Maria/La Llorona.

CLICK HERE to view artist bios for La Llorona.

Opera Cultura will present three performances of Héctor Armienta's award-winning musical drama 
La Llorona/The Weeping Woman this June 28-30 at the Mexican Heritage Theater – School of Arts and Culture in San José. These performances will sell out! Get your ticket today at llorona.brownpapertickets.com.