Full Speed Ahead for Concurso San Miguel
By Shari Alexander
Concurso San Miguel, the nationwide competition for young Mexican opera singers sponsored by Ópera de San Miguel, just completed its preliminary auditions for this year’s contest, to be held on March 3. From the 200 singers who recently auditioned, John Bills, ÓSM Artistic Director, has selected 12 finalists who will come to San Miguel de Allende in late February for a week of coaching, master classes, language instruction, and career development counseling, culminating in the grand Concurso at which more than 150,000 pesos in awards will be presented.
Contestants from the Preliminary Round of Auditions, Concurso San Miguel 2012: Ana Karen Hernández Zuñiga, Diana Blanco España, with Maestro Mario Alberto Hernández, Ivette Flores Moreno, Jorge Espino Martínez, Omar Lara González
This year, for the first time, the preliminary round was held in San Miguel de Allende, and the “Angels of the Opera,” the group of major donors who make the Concurso possible, were invited to observe. “How in the world will you be able to choose only 12 singers for the finals?” “It is a very difficult, and sometimes heart-breaking task to choose only 12 finalists,” says Bills. Asked about the process, he told us, “It’s about voice, first and foremost, and we were able to narrow the list to about 40 singers, each of whom we would be proud to present in our Concurso. But then come all of the subjective considerations: who seems best prepared, who shows the most confidence and stage presence, who has a real understanding of their own talent and repertoire, who has the personality to really connect on a visceral level with the audience. In short, who among these 40 singers most possess the many, many ingredients that make a performer appealing to audiences and ultimately successful in their careers, and, finally, who is ready now.”
Bills says those considerations further reduced the list down to about 20 singers. “Then comes the really hard part, because the last part of our decision process must take into consideration that we are producing an evening’s entertainment. This year we are able to present a wonderful cross-section of terrific young voices singing in various styles and languages. I am confident we will keep the audience on the edge of their seats for what will be our best Concurso ever.”
Concurso San Miguel 2012 will be held at 8pm, Sat, Mar 3 at Teatro Ángela Peralta