Peralta audience cheers winners of Concurso San Miguel

By Shari Alexander

In a night filled with cheers and surprises, a sell-out crowd rose to its feet for baritone Germán Olvera as he was announced the First Prize winner of Concurso San Miguel 2013. In the most closely contended contest in the five-year history of the Concurso, presented annually by Opera San Miguel, Olvera won out over 11 other finalists to take home a career grant of $60,000 pesos, a $15,000 peso debut performance with the Acapulco Philharmonic Orchestra, and an automatic advance to the semi-finals of this year’s Morelli voice competition, the oldest in the nation. In addition, Olvera also won the $10,000 peso “Audience Favorite” award. A big night indeed for the 27-year-old baritone from Sinaloa, and the beginning of a big month for the young singer, who makes his debut at the Bellas Artes as Escamillo in Carmen on March 17 with the National Opera in Mexico City.

“Without doubt, this was the strongest field of finalists we have ever presented in Concurso San Miguel,” says Opera San Miguel Artistic Director John Bills. In a last minute decision, the judges were able to award a $2,500 peso grant to each singer who did not otherwise win a prize. “We wanted to recognize the achievements of all of our finalists, and so these career encouragement grants were presented through the generosity of judge John Daly Goodwin and his wife Ruth Kaplan.”

In a surprise announcement from the stage, Bills revealed an historic new collaboration between Opera San Miguel and the Orchestra and Chorus of the Celaya Conservatory of Music. “It is my long-term goal for Opera San Miguel to augment the career grants we give our singers by offering real professional performing experience to our singers: staged performances with conductor, orchestra and chorus, produced and directed with the assistance of members of our world-renowned international Advisory Board, and with a cast drawn from the brilliant young Mexican singers we have discovered through our Concurso,” Bills told the audience. “Tonight I am announcing the first steps towards achieving that goal. In March of 2014 we will present our first-ever Opera Gala Concert, with full orchestra, right here on this stage, and also again in Celaya.”

The Second Prize winner, tenor Fabian Rodríguez Lara, also won the Conservatorio de Musica y Artes de Celaya Award which consists of a featured performance in that first-ever joint gala with Opera San Miguel and a fee of 12,500 pesos. In addition to the first through fourth-place prizes, this year saw the addition of several memorial grants of 10,000 pesos each, bringing the total amount of career grants and performing fees awarded to a record 205,000 pesos.

And the winners are

1st Prize, German Olvera, baritone. 60,000 pesos; Debut with Acapulco Philharmonic Orchestra, all transportation and expenses paid, DVD of the concert, and fee of 15,000 pesos; Automatic Advancement to Semi-Final Round of this year’s Morelli Contest

2nd Prize, Fabián Rodríguez Lara, tenor. 30,000 pesos

3rd Prize, Cesar Delgado, tenor. 20,000 pesos

4th Prize, Pablo Aranday, baritono 15,000 pesos

The Edgar Mason Kneedler Memorial Award for Outstanding Interpretation and Style, Alberto Albarran, baritone. 10,000 pesos

The Therese Anne McCarthy Memorial Award for Youthful Potential, María Fernanda, soprano.

10,000 pesos

The Herman Marcus Memorial Award, Daniel Noyola, bass-baritone. 10,000 pesos

Audience Favorite Award, German Olvera, baritone. 10,000 pesos

The Conservatorio de Musica y Artes de Celaya Award: Featured Appearance in the Inaugural Opera San Miguel/Conservatorio de Celaya Opera Gala and Fee of 12,500 pesos, Fabián Rodríguez Lara, tenor

The Opera San Miguel Career Encouragement Grant: 2,500 pesos each

Octavio Rivas, tenor; Armando Pina, baritone; Yamel Domort, soprano; Tenantzin Cruz, soprano; Ligia Cedillo, mezzo-soprano.

photo  caption: John Bills Congratulates Concurso Winner Germán Olvera

Photo Credit: Agustín Valadéz Sánchez


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