Tampa opera legend inspires and moves audiences over several decades

Local News

Tampa Bay is full of the arts whether it’s on canvas, in music, or on stage. One woman with an amazing voice has inspired and moved fans of the opera for decades.

“I love going into the theater! The theater to me is a temple,” says Joyce Cermeno Cabanzo.

Before she made her home in South Tampa she lived for the stage!

“This was the first major opera that I did and it was with Licia Albanese,” recalls Cabanzo.

Before singing with the likes of Placido Domingo and others, she got her start in Ybor City.

“As a child I would go to Centro Asturiano, the Centro Espanol for the different functions,” says Cabanzo.

During World War II she was invited out to Los Angeles.

“The war was still going on in the Pacific. The soldiers were on those trains,” she says. “That was at the USO in Hollywood. I was the only child to ever perform at the USO in Hollywood.”

Accompanying her on stage; Carlos Molina and his orchestra!

“I performed. And that’s where the studio men were because they wanted to see me in action. And they offered me a contract,” says Cabanzo.

Her mother decided against life in the West Coast and returned to the west coast of Florida.

Her knowledge of the Spanish language landed her gigs on the radio! She would stand on top of a chair to reach the microphone labeled WTSP and promote Pepsi Cola.

You’re lucky to hear her perform nowadays, but for the holiday’s she granted our wish with a wish.

“I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a happy and a healthy new year,” she sings.

Cabanzo continues to support the arts encouraging more music in Tampa Bay in 2019.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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