Caminos a la ópera is Lyric Unlimited’s audience engagement initiative which develops and expands Lyric's commitment to Chicago’s Latinx communities through partnership, engagement, and collaboration. Through Caminos, Lyric Unlimited creates and presents new and culturally-relevant works, host events with partner organizations in community venues, and fosters enduring relationships with Latinx audiences.
In 2013 Lyric Unlimited presented the Midwest premiere of Cruzar la cara de la luna, the world’s first mariachi opera, to sold-out audiences at the Civic Opera House with additional performances in Pilsen and Waukegan. The following year Lyric Unlimited created a special musical performance, Canciones y arias, which was presented in Pilsen in 2014. After the success of Cruzar and Canciones, Lyric Unlimited commissioned a second mariachi opera, El Pasado Nunca Se Termina, which premiered in March of 2015 with performances in Pilsen, Waukegan, and at the Civic Opera House.
To enhance the presentations of these new works, Lyric Unlimited created a broad range of community engagement activities in collaboration with schools, libraries, cultural centers and other community-based cultural institutions. A particular focus was supporting youth mariachi groups and programs, which highlight the singing culture of mariachi music and reflect the cultural vibrancy of Chicago’s Mexican communities now and in the future.
In the following seasons Lyric has 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 Unlimited, in collaboration with the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, presented Caribe Clasico, 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.
Lyric Unlimited continues to expand this effort to include other Latinx communities in Chicago through a wide range of activities including community events featuring Lyric artists, collaborations with community-based organizations, and dedicated events at the Civic Opera House for Lyric Opera performances.
Caminos a la ópera is supported by U.S. Bank.