La Ultima Parada 2016 – Opera Cultura

Opera Cultura

The mission of Opera Cultura is to explore the Latino-Hispanic cultural experience through music theater and opera, while providing opportunities for the community to participate as creators, learners, and performers.  They accomplish this by presenting the work of composer Hector Armienta, showcasing other artists,  and training young people in the performing arts. In doing so, they create a cultural bridge between communities.


Past programming has included presenting Latino-Hispanic opera, collaborating with Latino based arts organizations, and providing training for young people in the performing arts. While San Jose remains their artistic home, they have also presented and co -presented in New York, Washington D.C,  and México. Notable performances include La LLorona, Rio de Mujéres, and Armienta’s immigration song cycle opera Cuentos de Peregrinacíon. Cuentos has been performed in San Jose and in Guadalajara México’s Degollado Theater.  Opera Cultura also initiated the Arte Sin Fronteras (Art Without Borders) Initiative, a cross cultural exchange between San Jose and Guadalajara México.



Upcoming events include a bilingual children’s opera Coyotes and Rabbits, Hector’s bilingual children’s opera, coming up in March 2017. It will be presented on March 4th at the Mexican Heritage Plaza and touring schools in San Jose.  Also, in production this season is Hector Armienta’s new opera Bless Me, Ultima, based on the novel by Rudolfo Anaya. 


At LUP 2016, Opera Cultura presents three of their artists . . . Maria Caycedo, Carmelo and Paul Zawilski .


sevenhills-headshot-cropMaria Caycedo, Soprano, is Colombian by birth and was raised in the American south. Her multicultural childhood lead to a variety of musical interests including classical, latin, gospel, irish, pop and hip hop. She has performed around the Bay Area in roles including Lucy (The Telephone), Musetta (La Boheme), Frasquita (Carmen), Belinda (Dido & Aeneas), and Sara (La Llorona). She will be performing again with Opera Cultura next year in a children’s opera, Coyotes and Rabbits, as well as in a reading of Hector Armienta’s newest work, Bless Me Ultima.



Carmelo is a San Jose native whose education, background and career are primarily in high-tech and data storage. However, he has had a passion for Opera ever since he was a child. He began singing and performing locally at the end of 2012. Since then he has had the privilege of working with Lyric Theatre of San Jose, West Valley Light Opera, Royal English Opera of Berkeley, the Charles Dickens Fair of San Francisco, Opera Cultura, and the Allen Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Chorus in Allen, TX. Carmelo is very passionate about live performances, and loves the concept of bringing this art form to those who may have otherwise not considered giving it a chance. Because of this he is very excited to be a founding member of Bay Area Opera Collaborate. He is also serving as the Artistic Administrator and Producer for Opera Cultura.
screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-9-08-20-pmPaul Zawilski is a singer, pianist, conductor, and music teacher.  Paul last appeared with Lyric Theatre of San Jose as part of the Liebeslieder Quintet in “A Little Night Music” (2016), as The Sergeant of Police in “The Pirates of Penzance” (2015) and Lord Mountararat in “Iolanthe” (2015).  He also stage-directed Lyric Theatre’s production of “El Capitan” (2016).  Paul has also performed with South Bay Musical Theater, Berkeley Opera, Oakland Opera, San Francisco Opera, The Lamplighters, and other Bay Area music groups.  Paul plays organ and piano at Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo, is former music teacher at Yerba Buena High School, San Jose, now retired, and is a single dad raising three teenagers.


La Ultima Parada is funded by grants from the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, The Castellano Family Foundation and our community–YOU!!  Avoid the long lines and buy your ticket TODAY!