Caminos a la ópera (Pathways to Opera)

Caminos a la ópera was a Lyric Unlimited - Learning and Creative Engagement initiative that developed and expanded Lyric's commitment to Chicago’s Latinx communities through partnership, engagement, and collaboration. Through Caminos, Lyric created and presented new and culturally-relevant works, hosted events with partner organizations in community venues, and fostered enduring relationships with Latinx audiences. 

In 2013, Lyric presented the Midwest premiere of Cruzar la cara de la luna, the world’s first mariachi opera, to sold-out audiences at the Lyric Opera House and additional performances in Pilsen and Waukegan. The following year, Lyric created a special musical performance, Canciones y arias, which was presented in Pilsen in 2014. After the success of Cruzar and Canciones, Lyric commissioned a second mariachi opera, El Pasado Nunca Se Termina, which premiered in March of 2015 with performances in Pilsen, Waukegan, and the Lyric Opera House. 

Lyric created a broad range of community activities in collaboration with schools, libraries, cultural centers and other community-based cultural institutions. Each initiative sought to support youth mariachi groups and programs, highlight the singing culture of mariachi music, and reflect the cultural vibrancy of Chicago’s Mexican communities.

In the following seasons, Lyric partnered with the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, Latinos Progresando, ALAS-Wings, and the Harris Theater to present Latino artists, such as tenors Javier Camarena and David Portillo, at various community venues and to provide arts-based programming for youth and adults. 

In 2018 Lyric presented Caribe Clasico in collaboration with the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance. Caribe Clasico was a concert celebrating the music of Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Spain. Under the baton of Maestro Roselin Pabón, the concert featured vocalists, a guitarist, and a cuatrista performing music of Latin America, from classical Spanish zarzuelas to traditional folk music of Puerto Rico and Mexico to modern compositions by Latino artists. Over 600 community members attended the one-night-only performance at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. 

Caminos a la ópera Sponsors

The Chicago Community Trust

Dan J. Epstein Family Foundation

Judy Guitelman


Lyric Unlimited was launched with major catalyst funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and receives major support from the Caerus Foundation, Inc. 

Lyric Unlimited - Learning & Creative Engagement Sponsors

The Beaubien Family

The Grainger Foundation

Robert and Evelyn McCullen

Charles and M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Inc.

Rose L. Shure and Sidney N. Shure

Wintrust Community Banks

Anonymous Donor

BMO Harris Bank Logo

Photos: Todd Rosenberg