A homeless woman in Los Angeles has become a social media sensation for beautifully singing opera in a subway station.
Local news channels identified the woman as Emily Zamourka, 52, a classically trained violinist who immigrated from Russia 28 years ago.
Exorbitant medical bills forced her onto the street, where she began busking to earn money.
Last Thursday (local time), the Los Angeles Police Department tweeted a video of Ms Zamourka belting out Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” on the Purple Line’s Normandie/Wilshire Metro stop.
Recently the Los Angeles Police Department shared a video of her singing in the subway on their Twitter feed.
“4 million people call LA home. 4 million stories. 4 million voices…sometimes you just have to stop and listen to one, to hear something beautiful,” the LAPD wrote.
The tweet went viral, being shared more than 13,000 times and causing Twitter users to attempt track down her identity.
Ms Zamourka moved to the United States at the age of 24 and taught violin and piano.
She also used to earn extra income by performing on a street in downtown Los Angeles before her instrument was stolen.
After she came down with an illness and her medical bills piled up, it became too much for her to handle.
“That’s when I became homeless,” Ms Zamourka told ABC7.
“When I could not actually pay any of my bills and could not pay any more of my rent,” she added.
When Ms Zamourka was asked where she was currently sleeping, she said that she was finding a bed wherever she could.
“I am sleeping actually on the cardboard right now, in the parking lot,” she said.
“I have people that feel sorry for me, but I don’t want to be a burden to anybody,” Ms Zamourka told media.
While her violin was stolen, Ms Zamourka could still rely on her talented vocal instrument and she’s been enthralling L.A. subway riders for years.
“You know why I do it in the subway?” she explained to NBC News.
“Because it sounds so great,” she said.
One Twitter user wrote: “I’ve seen her for years on the Metro”.
“I heard her once singing ‘Ave Maria’ and thought it was a radio at first. Everyone has a story… this woman does too.”
In the wake of her social media stardom, a GoFundMe page has been launched to help Ms Zamourka.
As of publication the page had raised more than $30,000 (US$46,400) of its $112,200 (US$75,000) goal.
“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 said.
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