• Featuring soprano Oriana Falla and tenor Xavier Prado
  • 7pm at the Rancho Mirage Library & Observatory
  • Free community performance

On Wednesday, February 21 (7:00 PM) the Palm Springs Opera Guild will present ¡Viva Zarzuela!, an hour-long program highlighting the lush, romantic music from some of the world’s most popular zarzuelas. This much beloved art form originated in Spain and quickly spread throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Zarzuela combines beautiful music with spoken dialogue and is akin to operetta, light opera or classic music theater. In this program, soprano Oriana Falla and tenor Xavier Prado will sing arias and duets accompanied by Dr. John Ballerino on piano. Ballerino, a scholar of the art form, will give some history and context of each selection.

The program will feature music including “No puede ser,” popularized by tenors including Plácido Domingo and José Carreras, as well as selections from Luisa Fernanda and La Marchenera by Federico Moreno Torroba; Los gavilanes and La rosa del azafrán by Jacinto Guerrero; La Tempranica by Gerónimo Giménez; El Niño Judío by Pablo Luna; and El Caserío by Jesús Guridi.

Opera Guild member Josie Gomez provided special funding for this program.

Introducing the Artists


“We are thrilled to present three amazing artists,” says Executive Director Laurie Baldwin, “They will bring this amazing music to life for our audiences and demonstrate the power and passion of zarzuela.” Tenor Xavier Prado is familiar to local audiences through his appearances at the Guild’s Opera in the Park concert (2023) and his award-winning performance in this year’s Palm Springs Vocal Competition. He is a two-time Accademia Rossiniana Alberto Zedda alumnus, a finalist and grant recipient at the Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition, and Giulio Gari Vocal Competition finalist. He has performed at The Rossini Opera Festival in Italy, Sarasota Opera, Opera Southwest, and Opera San Jose. This season he will perform the title role in Hector Armienta’s Zorro with Opera Santa Barbara.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Colombian-American soprano Oriana Falla has been praised by Opera News for singing with “palpable purity” and by LA Opus for her “large, lovely, and vibrant voice.” This season she sings the role of Ana Maria in Zorro for Opera Santa Barbara and sing the soprano solo in Orff’s Carmina Burana. Other recent roles include Mrs. Anderssen in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music at the Pasadena Playhouse, Adina in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (Pacific Opera Project and Opera in the Heights), and Mimì in Pacific Opera Project’s drive-in performance of La bohème. Oriana also had the privilege of recording for the soundtrack of Disney’s film Encanto.

Dr. John Ballerino grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico. He holds a DMA in Collaborative Arts from the University of Southern California, where he also studied Spanish and Latin American literature as part of his doctoral program. He is an accomplished speaker and performer of Spanish and Latin American music and has lectured and performed this repertoire throughout the United States and the Caribbean. He has been the principal coach and Assistant Music Director for ten different Zarzuela productions at the Jarvis Conservatory in Napa, California and has also served as a Spanish diction coach for productions by the Los Angeles Opera and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. In 2007, John was on staff at Los Angeles Opera for the Zarzuela Luisa Fernanda, featuring Plácido Domingo in the lead role. In 2010 John was the assistant conductor and Spanish coach for Rio de Sangre, a world premier opera by Don Davis that was produced by the Florentine Opera (Milwaukee).

About the Guild

More than 50 years of artistic excellence and community engagement has earned the Palm Springs Opera Guild a major role in shaping the national cultural reputation of Palm Springs. In recent years, the company’s commitment to community engagement, artistic collaborations, innovative performances and programming, audience development, education, fiscally responsible management, and support for emerging artists have dramatically advanced and expanded the mission of the Palm Springs Opera Guild.

  • ¡Viva Zarzuela! has one performance on Wednesday February 21, 2024 at 7:00 PM

at the Rancho Mirage Library & Observatory (71-100 CA-111, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270)