At times, the program, sponsored by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, serves as a stage for the hidden talents of market vendors. The troupe’s 50-year old tenor, Francisco Pedraza, sells shoes near the Basilica of Guadalupe. According to AP, Pedraza auditioned for the group’s artistic director who hired him on the spot. His wife tends to the shop when he performs.

Tenor Dante Alcala.
Tenor Dante Alcala.
Image: AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

Eighteen-year-old fishmonger Jesus Montes, welcomed the break from his regular reggaeton playlist. “Trying new things can be really beautiful, and sometimes it changes the way you think, which is what happened today,” he says.

Ópera en el Mercado performances aren’t unique to the Mexican capital city. Several pop-up operas have been held in boquerias throughout Spain and Italy. In 2010, singers from the Washington National Opera and the Baltimore Symphony startled Whole Foods shoppers with a rendition of the drinking song from Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata.

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