Concurso San Miguel winners sweep Mexico City contest

By Shari Alexander

J.Bills and Fabián

The results of Concurso Morelli in Mexico City, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious singing contest, proved in no uncertain terms that Opera San Miguel is fulfilling its mission to discover and cultivate the most promising young opera singers in Mexico. The finals, held Sunday, September 8, in the Palacio de las Bellas Artes, found the top three prizes, plus the Youthful Potential award, going to winners of Concurso San Miguel 2013. In fact, six of the ten Morelli finalists (60 percent!) were finalists here in March, where they received a week of musical, dramatic and language coaching, audition preparation, and career counseling. At week’s end, they competed in the sold-out final round at Teatro Ángela Peralta where over 130,000 pesos in career grants and performing opportunities were awarded. (See Sidebar for results of both contests.)

“We are incredibly proud of these young artists, and thrilled that they are fulfilling the promise they showed in our Concurso,” says John Bills, Artistic Director of Opera San Miguel. The company’s Concurso, now entering its sixth year, has grown from a small regional contest to one of international importance, and with it a growing reputation for discovering the nation’s top operatic talent. Each year some 200 singers from nearly every state travel to San Miguel de Allende for the preliminary round of auditions. Up to 12 finalists are then chosen to return for a week of extraordinary musical experiences, working with a team of international operatic experts personally chosen by Mr. Bills for the wisdom and guidance they can impart. That gained experience was on full display at the Morelli contest.

Concurso San Miguel 2014 will be held on March 8 at Teatro Ángela Peralta, and will be followed by Opera San Miguel’s first-ever Opera Gala on March 19, 2014, featuring 10 previous prize winners of Concurso San Miguel, accompanied by the orchestra and chorus of the Conservatorio de Música de Celaya, under the direction of Maestro Jesús Almanza, with concert staging by Joseph McClain, founding Artistic Director of Lyric Opera of Austin and Opera San Miguel’s Artistic Director Emeritus. “Our gala gives us the opportunity to bring back 10 extraordinary singers first discovered through our Concurso, including Morelli winner Fabián Rodríguez Lara, for a superb operatic evening with full orchestra and chorus,” says Bills. “This unique event, the first of our new collaboration with the Celaya Conservatory, should not be missed!” The March gala will feature three complete acts from three different operas, Verdi’s Aida and Rigoletto, and Bizet’s Carmen.

Save these dates, they are certain to be sold-out: Concurso San Miguel 2014, March 8; Opera San Miguel Gala, March 19. For information on how to become a supporter of Opera San Miguel, email


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