Opera de San Miguel Announces Concurso Finalists

By Shari Alexander

Ópera de San Miguel’s Artistic Director, John Bills, this week announced the 12 finalists who will compete in Concurso San Miguel 2012, ÓSM’s annual nationwide search for Mexico’s most promising young opera singers. The contest, to be held on March 3 at Teatro Ángela Peralta, is made possible through the generosity of many private contributors and local businesses, particularly Los Ángeles de la Ópera, a group of major donors who recognize the importance of encouraging and supporting Mexico’s native-grown talent. Due to their extraordinary generosity this year’s prizes total 150,000 pesos, which will be used by winners for advanced study and professional expenses, and the top prizewinner will also receive a debut performance with the Acapulco Philharmonic Orchestra.

Baritone Carlos Lopez Santillan, Soprano Claudia Rodriguez Vidal, Baritone Carlos Lopez Santillan, Soprano Claudia Rodriguez Vidal

Opera contest, Opera San Miguel 2012. Sat, Mar 3, 8pm. Teatro Ángela Peralta. 350/250/150 pesos

“We have an extraordinary field of young artists to present in San Miguel this year,” said Bills “perhaps the strongest overall since we began this effort in 2008.” This year for the first time the preliminary round of auditions was held here in San Miguel de Allende rather than Mexico City. More than 200 young singers from 22 states in Mexico, and Mexican nationals studying abroad in the US, Canada, and Europe, applied to compete in the first round, representing a 21 percent increase over previous years. Then came the daunting task of choosing 12 finalists. Bills says, “We could easily have chosen 40 singers for the finals and been proud to present each one to our audience in San Miguel.” The 12 finalists will arrive here on February 26 to begin an intensive week which will include master classes, musical, dramatic and diction coaching, and this year for the first time, group and individual career counseling sessions. The week climaxes on Saturday, March 3, with a grand public concert and final round at which the prizewinners will be announced.

The finalists of Concurso San Miguel 2012 are sopranos Vanessa Vera Amaro, Lorena Flores Ruiz, Claudia Rodríguez Vidal, and Adriana Valdés Santibañez; mezzo-soprano Zayra Ruiz Bermejo; tenors Antonio Albores Máttar, Juan Bosco Zavala, and César Delgado López; baritones Carlos López Santillán, German Olvera Cornejo, and Óscar Velásquez Lara; and bass José Reynoso Martínez.

Bills also announced special invitees for Concurso night. “In recent years we have chosen several singers who because of age or special circumstances we were not prepared to include as finalists, but who nevertheless show extraordinary promise, to perform for our audience during the judges’ final deliberations,” he said. “These are singers who deserve our encouragement, and who will be included in all of our Concurso week activities. We know the audience will agree that they are sure to be contenders in future years. In fact, Carlos López, a finalist this year, was a special invitee in 2010.” The special invitees for 2012 will be sopranos Betsabe Brito Urdapilleta and Karen Gardeazabal Huitron; baritone Jorge Espino Martínez; and bass Daniel Noyola Castro.

“We feel this group of extraordinary young singers affirms the breadth of talent that is to be found in Mexico today, the importance of our Concurso in the musical life of the nation, and the exciting future for opera in this country and around the world,” said Bills.

Tickets are now on sale at the theatre box office for this traditionally sold-out event.

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