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Homegrown talent of San Diego, Tijuana stars in operas across Europe

Posted at 11:30 AM, Jun 11, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Cesar Sanchez sings with a pure voice of clarity and power, the same attributes that instantly seduced him when just a young boy who happened upon an operatic performance on television.

“After that … it kept in my heart and my brain, I just started to scream,” said Sanchez.

“For many, many months, my poor parents -- I mean, I feel for them -- they thought there was something seriously wrong with me. I locked the door in my room and then all they hear is screaming, because no singing came out at that point.”

Sanchez laughs as he told ABC 10News that his parents actually sought advice from a family friend who was a psychologist, who figured out the young boy just wanted to be an opera singer.

Growing up in Tijuana, Sanchez sang in church, and then, one day as a teen, destiny found him in his car.

“A singer from Tijuana heard me singing,” said Sanchez. “He was passing the car and then he stopped and said, 'Are you singing?' I was very shy and said, oh no, it was the radio. He looked at me as said, ‘it was you.’”

That chance meeting led to a voice coach in San Diego, which led to a recital attended by Edoardo Müller, the longtime conductor for the San Diego Opera.

“He says, ‘You know, you need to train more,’” recalled Sanchez. “’You need to do full operatic roles. I'm willing to give you that training.’”

Sanchez said he took the trolley from the border to lessons with Müller, who wanted him to perform with the San Diego Opera. While the opportunity didn't materialize, Sanchez still refined his voice and was about to take on the world.

“The training he gave me helped me get to Europe. There's where I fulfilled my professional training and my first operas and concerts and recitals in a bigger scale,” said Sanchez.

While a world traveler, Sanchez made his home in San Diego more than 10 years ago, maintaining close ties to family on both sides of the border. He still dreams of taking the stage here.

“People call it cheesy and sometimes look at me like, uh? Because I tell them, you know, what is your dream theatre? And everybody has like the Metropolitan, the Scala de Milan, and I always say, I want to sing in the San Diego Opera,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said the joy will be performing for his own community -- which includes San Diego and Tijuana together, where he would like to share the passion of opera that swooned him so many years ago.

“Please support San Diego Opera,” said Sanchez, “And ask for Cesar Sanchez to sing there.”

Sanchez said a project is just getting started by the San Diego Opera, called "The Three Tenors from San Diego."

They've been performing for small groups to muster support and get more people engaged with the opera.