A video posted by police of a homeless woman singing opera in the Los Angeles metro has gone viral and prompted calls for her to be on a grand stage.
“4 million people call LA home,” a tweet accompanying the video by the Los Angeles Police Department said. “4 million stories. 4 million voices…sometimes you just have to stop and listen to one, to hear something beautiful.”
The video, which has racked up nearly 300,000 views since it was posted late Thursday, shows the blond woman in pigtails singing a beautiful rendition of a Puccini aria as she stands on a metro platform with a cart and several bags.
A police spokeswoman told AFP that the encounter with the officer who shot the video was spontaneous.
Local media have identified the soprano as Emily Zamourka, 52, and said she was a trained violinist and pianist who emigrated to the United States from Russia when she was 24.
KABC said Zamourka has no formal training as an opera singer and had been a teacher before she fell on hard times because of health issues.
“I am sleeping actually on the cardboard right now, in the parking lot,” she told KABC. “I am sleeping where I can sleep … I have people that feel sorry for me, but I don’t want to be a burden to anybody.”
She added that she would be grateful for help to get off the streets and to have a roof over her head and musical instruments.
“You know why I (sing) in the subway?,” she said. “Because it sounds so great.”
Several Twitter users have urged that her talent not go to waste and have reached out to “America’s Got Talent” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” – one of America’s top talk shows – to help publicize her story.
Sergeant Hector Guzman, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department told the Los Angeles Times that Zamourka’s voice had struck a chord with officers.
“It was powerful the first time we saw it, and every time we see it again, it’s still powerful,” he told the paper, adding that he has watched the video 50 times. “The message for us was simple: Remind ourselves to take a moment to look around and listen.”