VIP judging panel announced for fifth Concurso San Miguel

By Shari Alexander

Concurso San Miguel, the nationwide search to discover the most talented and promising young opera singers in Mexico, returns to the Ángela Peralta Theatre on March 2nd for the fifth time. This year’s gala event will be judged by a panel of international luminaries of the opera world, gathered together by John Bills, Artistic Director of Opera San Miguel, which sponsors the annual competition.

Concurso San Miguel
Sat, Mar 2, 8pm
Teatro Ángela Peralta

“I am pleased to be joined this year,” Bills said this week, “by five illustrious judges who will be responsible for making the difficult choices of who will be the winners of Concurso 2013.” On this year’s judging panel will be two international opera stage directors, an eminent conductor, a distinguished opera magazine publisher and one of the most celebrated opera stars of the past 50 years.

Competition winners receive career grants which may be used for advanced study and professional expenses. Unique to competitions in Mexico, all of the prize money awarded by Opera San Miguel is raised locally, through the generosity of the members of San Miguel de Allende’s international community and its local businesses. “Our competition truly benefits the young operatic artists of Mexico, a country that produces truly remarkable talent,” says Mr. Bills. “Through this competition we strive to address the often harsh realities of making a career in opera in this country, where wonderful talent can ‘dry on the vine’ for lack of opportunity and adequate funding.” He continues, “When we bring judges from the US and elsewhere, and they experience these young singers first-hand, they are literally blown away by what they hear. It is a joy for me to open their eyes and ears to the depth of talent here in Mexico.”

In addition to Mr. Bills, the judges for Concurso San Miguel 2013 are:

•John Daly Goodwin, for 25 years Artistic Director and Conductor, New York Choral Society,

•Joseph McClain, Founder and Artistic Director, Austin Lyric Opera; Founder, Opera San Miguel,

•Charles Oppenheim, Editor, Pro Ópera magazine, the only Spanish-language magazine devoted to opera in the Americas,

•Paul Plishka, 45 seasons and more than 1,600 performances as Principal Bass, Metropolitan Opera, and

•Sharon Thomas, Stage Director, San Francisco Opera and Metropolitan Opera.

In addition to judging the competition, Bills, McClain, Plishka and Thomas, along with the company’s resident coach and pianist Mario Alberto Hernández, will work individually with the finalists for the week leading up to the finals, preparing them for the big night. They will be joined by Mr. Oppenheim for a round-table discussion on professional career issues and for private career counseling sessions with the finalists. “We try to give each of our finalists the benefit of the vast experience of our judges and panel members,” Bills says, “so that each singer leaves San Miguel de Allende feeling that they are winners, whether or not they are awarded a grant.”


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