T for Texas, T for Tango! Zamora Comes Home to Houston with Spanish-Music Show on new Hobby Stage

Fay Walsh
T for Texas, T for Tango! Zamora Comes Home to Houston with Spanish-Music Show on new Hobby Stage

Camille Zamora

ONE OF HOUSTON'S favorite daughters — famed soprano, nonprofit founder and artists’ advocate Camille Zamora — will return to her beloved hometown of Houston June 21 and 22, offering a special performance at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Zamora, who grew up in H-Town and proudly graduated from HSPVA (they honored her as an outstanding alum a few years back), made her bones on opera stages around the world and lately has been performing with symphonies. The New York Times has called out her “dignity and glowing sound,” while the Houston Chronicle has marveled at her ability to “combine gentility and emotional fire.”

She jumped at the rare chance to perform what’s she calls “guilty pleasure” music for a hometown crowd in a fabulous, intimate new space: the Founders Club at the Hobby. Expect “Desde el Alma: Songs from the Heart” to sizzle with what the venue is calling “irresistible Spanish classic tangos, boleros and canciones.”

The Manhattan-based singer — who also has a history of vigorous fundraising for Houston and New York charities such as the local Avenue 360 Health and Wellness (formerly Bering Omega, with its Omega House hospice for AIDS patients) and her own performing-artist-supporting nonprofit Sing for Hope back East — says she’ll perform the kind of music she once sang backstage at opera houses to warm up. “It will be a feast of musical identities, four centuries of Spanish song,” she says. “It’s music that feels like home.”

Grammy-winning bandoneón virtuoso Hector Del Curto — Zamora calls him “the Whitney Houston of the bandoneón” — and Latin Grammy-winning tango pianist Pablo Estigarribia will accompany the beautiful artist for “Desde el Alma,” presented by ExxonMobil as part of the “Live at the Founders Club” series. The program will help to break in the cozy new performance space, carved from what was formerly a VIP lounge at the Hobby. Seats are sold individually for the show, all at cabaret tables of four.

Zamora says Spanish music 'feels like home.'

Zamora, a Juilliard graduate (and current Juilliard trustee) who has performed often with the Mambo Kings and other leaders in Spanish music, calls this collaboration with Del Curto and Estigarribia, both of Argentina, the beginning of an artistic “exploration.” The show will include familiar classics, as well as brand-new world-premiere compositions.

Zamora was raised partly in Mexico City and partly here, by leading Latin American academics. Her mother, now 80, still teaches comparative lit at UH. The singer is looking forward to hanging with Mom when she arrives in town, and also some of her favorite Houston pastimes, including jogging in the Museum District, meditating on the Menil Collection lawn and “eating everywhere.”

In keeping with Zamora’s heart for service and creating new ways to help others, she’s philosophical about the new work, about “what it all means in the larger social fabric, and what it means to be a 21st century musician.

“We’re so polarized these days,” says the musician, who not coincidentally was just named to a new initiative of President Biden’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities called Artists for Understanding. “The arts are the original melting pot. They allow us this opportunity to weave strands emotionally and socially and culturally. This program really does that. It merges a lot of different strands of identity. It starts a conversation that provides something new.”

Buy tickets for Zamora’s show here.

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