The stunning singing star of an LAPD video tweet that went viral has been identified as a Russian woman who moved to the US decades ago, but says she fell on hard times and became homeless after her prized violin was stolen.
The sweetly-voiced singer was filmed by a passing LAPD officer who came across her on a metro platform, standing with an armful of bags and a packed cart, and serenading commuters with a Puccini aria.
Sgt. Hector Guzman was so impressed by her talents that he shared the footage online, drawing 270,000 views in three days.
Delighted commenters, touched by her performance, left appreciative comments and said they hope the video will lead to a change of fortunes for the skilful soprano. Some locals said they had seen her at metro stations for years, while a few said she was a familiar figure in the Glendale area.
A social media search to identify the mysterious singer kicked off in earnest, and local news outlets eventually traced her.
Emily Zamourka, 52, said that she moved to the US aged 24 and taught music among her several jobs, but suffered health issues and turned to her musical skills to pay the bills. However, the heartbreaking theft of her violin ruined her efforts to earn money by playing for passersby on the streets of Los Angeles, and led to her becoming homeless.
She said she loves singing at the metro, as the acoustics and platform are reminiscent of singing on stage and “sounds so great.” Zamourka now hopes that her new-found fame will result in her getting back on her feet.
“I will be so grateful to anyone who is trying to help me to get off the streets, and to have my own place, to have my instrument,” she told ABC7.