BHHS Alumna Golda Zahra to Make Debut on Broad Stage

High sopranos echoed through the pews, up the altar and poured out of the windows of St. Monica’s Catholic Church on July 1 as Golda Zahra, an up-and-coming opera singer, performed a stirring rendering of “Ave Maria” at the daily mass. Backed by a cellist and a violinist, her voice penetrated the ears and the hearts of both the church community and fans, who had anticipated her return from studying opera in Verona, Italy. A Beverly Hills native with a voice known around the world, Zahra will perform her first official United States solo concert on July 13. At just 25, the vocalist combines the two styles she knows best—opera and Broadway— to share her love for music with audiences.

Though Zahra has seen and performed in some of the most beautiful cities of the world, including Paris, Rome and Tokyo, she’s extremely excited to return to the place where she first started her career. The vocalist began singing professionally at age 12, but she’s been listening to opera her entire life. She attributes this to her parents, who would take her to watch performances when she was a young child. By age 4, she began to play the piano and in elementary school, she sang in the Beverly Vista School (now Beverly Vista Middle School) choir. After that, she joined the independent study program at Beverly Hills High School so that she could spend extra time practicing singing and traveling to performances. Throughout her early life, she was also in musicals, and she performed songs from Broadway, but she decided to pursue opera full time so that she could share a style of music with the world that she feels is underappreciated.

“I don’t want to say it’s inaccessible, but a lot of normal people are scared to go see classical music shows and to go see operas because people don’t really see it,” Zahra told the Courier after her performance on July 1. “And they don’t know that opera in the 1800s, or when it was popular, was like going to see a movie. So, it’s nothing to be intimidated by. We singers have a responsibility to make it enjoyable.”

Although this is her passion, singing opera is also a difficult task. Even after years of vocal training, keeping her voice healthy is a full-time job, and she must find balance between being a normal young adult and a professional singer. She admitted that there are sometimes parties she can’t attend because she needs to rest her vocal cords for early performances. In opera, as she explained, her voice is her only instrument. “Once you’re done playing the piano, you close the lid, and you stop playing. You don’t play anymore,” she told the Courier. “Our voice is in our body. Our vocal cords, and our larynx, they’re in our body, and we’re using them every single moment— how we breathe, if there’s smog, if we’re tired, if we’re sad, if we eat spicy food.”

Besides socializing, she finds balance in her free time by listening to very different types of music. When asked if she listens to opera on her days off, she laughed. “No way! I listen to everything but opera. It’s like, opera is strictly work,” she explained. “Strangely you won’t find classical music—even though I love it and I think it’s beautiful—you don’t find it on my phone.”

Zahra spends most of her time in Verona now, where she studies with world-renowned singer Barbara Frittoli, but she’s still deeply connected to her roots. Because her mom was born in Tehran, being an Iranian American singer is also a huge part of who she is. “There are not a lot of Iranian singers out there,” she told the Courier. “Actually, there are very few. I haven’t heard of any famous Iranian American singers, and I really am proud of my culture and I’m proud of where my mom comes from. I never forget my origins.”

On July 13, she looks forward to giving back to her hometown of Los Angeles through her performance at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. True to herself, she will be singing a combination of opera and Broadway, alongside the Dream Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Suk.

Zahra’s parents, who are Beverly Hills residents, are extremely proud of her.

“It’s an amazing concert. Golda and Daniel Suk crafted something very special that I think will appeal to all generations, all music lovers, the way they tied together the opera with the Broadway classics,” said Shallom Berkman, Zahra’s father and owner of Urth Caffé, which will cater an elaborate spread of desserts at the concert. “They weaved it together in a way that I think is very exciting and it’s a new way to experience the classical voice. I think that it’ll really appeal to the new generation and that’s what she wants to do. She wants to make opera and a classical voice exciting for everyone.”

“I’m really grateful and really honored,” said Zahra, looking forward to the performance. “I just feel so excited to be able to share what I’ve been studying for a really long time and what I’ve been honing down with the Los Angeles community because I’m born and raised here, and I’ve missed my home.”

Those interested can purchase tickets at, and Courier readers will receive a 30% discount by using the promo code “angel” at checkout.

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