There is almost no difference in between an Opera and a Zarzuela. Nevertheless, they are considered a different genera of staged performances. Zarzuelas began as light character operettas from Spain. Nevertheless in the past century, there were a series of latin american composers who decided to write Zarzuelas. It must be mentioned that if an Opera is in Spanish, its not necessarily a Zarzuela. Great examples of Operas in Spanish are Beatriz Caxi and Bomarzo (both written by Alberto Ginastera).
Thanks to his professor and friend Janet Sturman, Luciano got to participate in two Zarzuelas produced by the University of Arizona. This program was focused on latin american musicology and it gave Luciano a chance to enhance his realm and exposure. Among the performers of those operas, the program included Alfonso Molina, Jaime Bofill, Caroline Crawford, Ivette Ortiz, Edgar Ricaud and Dori Smith.