Padilla headlines Midland opera event

MIDLAND It was early 2009 when Barbara Padilla was at a bit of a standstill in her career.

The Mexico native of Guadalajara who today is considered one of the most famous opera singers and celebrated globally as “America’s Angel” was still searching for her big breakthrough 12 years ago and wasn’t sure when that would come.

She had already graduated with her bachelor’s in music and foreign language and had received her master’s from the University of Houston in music.

“I wasn’t doing much because the life of an artist is very challenging,” Padilla said. “You have to persevere a lot and develop a thick skin for rejection. Once I graduated, I was already married and we adopted our daughter and I decided to stay home because in the life of an artist, you go and do auditions and out of 60 shows, you get one role and then another year goes by and you get another two roles and so on and that’s the way it goes. You have to travel a lot so I decided to stay home with my daughter.”

A phone conversation with her mother would help change everything.

“Finally, at the beginning of 2009 my mom asked me what I was doing with my career,” Padilla said. “And my mom said ‘Barbara, you have a gift that god gave you, you speak four languages and have a master’s in music and the support of your family. You have the wings of an eagle with the mind of a chicken.’ I knew I had to start flying because she was right.”

After looking for auditions, it wasn’t long before Padilla found out that America’s Got Talent was going to be holding auditions in Houston and despite competing against tens of thousands of contestants, Padilla would soon wow the judges with her emotional rendition of “O mio babbino caro” from the opera “Gianni Schichi” by Puccini.

From there, Padilla would advance to Las Vegas and would continue competing each week until she was named runner-up.

It was that run of success on America’s Got Talent that opened up new doors for Padilla and helped get her performing career up and running.

It also provided her with an important lesson that she now gives to other people.

“I’m extremely thankful,” Padilla said. “I always tell people to not tell themselves no,” Padilla said. “Let others tell them no. but don’t tell yourself no because what if the other person tells you yes?”

People in the Permian Basin will get a chance to hear Padilla when she performs at the Midland Odessa Symphony Chorale’s Concierto De Amor at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center.

Since her breakthrough from America’s Got Talent, Padilla has dazzled audiences with her powerful transcendent voice and turned timeless songs into enchanting adventures that have exhibit her extraordinary operatic technique.

She has performed along with famous singers and composers around the world including the late Juan Gabriel, Mexico’s most famous singer songwriter.

“The statistics say that every person that speaks Spanish knows at least 20 songs by Juan Gabriel,” Padilla said. “He’s that famous. I toured with him the last two years of his life and it’s a whole new world of touring with full stadiums and arenas. It was an experience that I’m forever going to be thankful for.”

Fluent in Spanish, English, Italian and French, Padilla has given concerts and recitals throughout the United States, Italy and Mexico.

She has performed on stages of all sizes from small TV studios to massive open plazas and sold out stadiums including Minute Maid Park and NRG Stadium in Houston as well as the Toyota Center in Houston and the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

She’s also performed at the Auditorio Nacional and Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, the Alhondiga de Granaditas in Guanajuato and The Degollado Theater in Guadalajara.

While Padilla loves the experience of performing in a sold out stadium, she also enjoys singing inside the performing arts centers.

“Of course, it gives you an experience you can’t buy but let me come back home to the performing arts center with their orchestras,” Padilla said. “Even though I’ve performed in sold-out stadiums, my favorite place to perform are performing arts centers and with symphony orchestras.”

At next week’s performance in Midland, Padilla plans on singing “O mio babbino caro” just as she did for America’s Got Talent. She has always considered Puccini to be her favorite composer.

“He’s is the greatest opera composer that has ever lived,” Padilla said.

She’ll also be performing “Habanera” from Georges Bizet’s famous opera “Carmen”.

“Habanera is everyone’s love,” Padilla said. “It’s something that everyone has heard. It’s one of those moments in music that somebody came up with something that’s universally loved. The orchestra is going to do a lot of good things. It’s going to be good.”

Padilla came to the United States in 2000 when she went to further her education at the University of Houston.

“It was not something that was planned,” Padilla said. “I’m a fervent believer in God and I believe that he has plans and he designed a beautiful and interesting way for me to the States. It’s been my home for more than 20 years and I love it here.”

As for her trip to Midland, it will be her first time performing in the Tall City.

“I’m very excited,” Padilla said. “I’m in love with Texas. I can’t wait to be there and get to know Midland.”

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 800-514-3849.

>> If you go:

>> What: Concierto De Amor

>> When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6

>> Where: Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center

>> Ticket prices: Start at $11, students $8

>> Where to purchase tickets: