GUANAJUATO, Mexico – The father of Francisco Araiza received an offer to pursue a career at the New York Metropolitan Opera but had to say “no,” and so the Mexican tenor feels that his own success along those lines is a kind of “cosmic justice” for his father.
Araiza, born in Mexico City in 1950, last Sunday received the International Cervantino Festival Medal in recognition of his career, during which he has broken barriers for Mexican singers and opened doors for the generations that follow.
However, in an interview with EFE he said that at first he never imagined that he would devote himself professionally to singing, saying, “It didn’t interest me, I didn’t like it.”
He wanted to be an organist, like his father, who in his youth had rejected the proposal to go to New York when they put it to him as “Either your mother or your career” and he decided to stay with his mother, for whom he had cared since age 7.
But one of Araiza’s teachers, as well as the director of the chamber choir to which he belonged, insisted to him that he should devote himself to developing his voice, training it first and, he said, they were “externally” implanting in him the idea of singing.
His personal experience convinced him that the artist is always going to be selected, and so he says that “you don’t make your career, your career comes to you,” and the only thing a person can do is prepare themselves in the best way possible and hope that an opportunity comes along.
He knew that he had been “selected” when Irma Gonzalez accepted him in her class, something that was confirmed when Erika Kubacsek musically adopted him.
Kubacsek “was the first person to say that perhaps I might have the ability ... to be able to have an international career,” Araiza said.
Although he feels that the filming of “The Magic Flute” with Herbert von Karajan in 1979 was his entree into a “musical elite,” he said he has never forgotten that his roots are in Mexico, thanks to the two teachers who made him what he is.
Araiza said that “opera is more popular than before, many barriers have been broken,” which has been key for bringing in the younger public, who “began to get the message.”
He emphasized the work of “The Three Tenors” – Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo – who with their concerts have attracted fans to the operatic genre.
“Thanks to the work that I started, and which Ramon (Vargas) continued and now is being headed by Javier Camarena, the Mexican singer has greater acceptance than ever on the international stage,” the tenor said.