When the curtain falls

Between the sublime and the tragedy


The greatest drama in opera doesn’t take place on stage, but after the curtain falls.

Would-be opera singers make many sacrifices and spend considerable time and money on developing and refining their art, but few even have the chance to audition and become full professionals.  Experiencing that glory seems to be the privilege of a supremely gifted few.


It has been approximately 20 years since I have photographed the opera in Mexico, and invariably each time I watch the curtain fall, I wonder whether the performers can easily doff their characters with their costumes, or the drama that brought them to tears. I ask myself how they manage to play that instrument that is their body so masterfully every time, even if they’re ill or going through serious difficulties in their personal lives.  I imagine their disappointment on occasions when one of these situations prevents their voice from being up to the task, because then they also have to face the ensuing criticism from the press and public.

I think about the hard work of so many people--makeup artists, costumers, musicians, stagehands, administrators, etc.--that goes into staging a new work. At the end of the performance, were the applause and cheers enough to satisfy them?

And I think about what happens when silence gradually takes over the orchestra pit, the voices of the choir dwindle, are quieted and the dramas onstage and off exit the building along with the people.  The stage, the dressing rooms, and the seats are all empty.  The curtain has fallen…


This is a tribute to everyone who makes opera in Mexico.


When the curtain falls, 2017

47 pages

21 x 13 cms.

Photography, Editing and Design: ©Lou Peralta.


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