San Miguel Institute of Bel Canto Debuts in June

By Alexis White

The San Miguel Institute of Bel Canto will make its musical debut in our UNESCO World Heritage city this summer at the Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez, “El Nigromante,” del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. The dates are June 11 to July 8.

San Miguel Institute of Bel Canto
Thu, Jun 11-Wed, Jul 8
Bellas Artes
Hernández Macías 75
154 9837

Bel Canto, an approach to operatic singing popularized in Italy during the 17th and 18th century, stresses voice intensity over volume. The technique focuses on natural, pure, and even-tone production throughout the vocal range, accomplished by developing the voice’s agility and precision. During the 19th century, Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, and Verdi, who used it in his early operas, espoused the Bel Canto style. In the late 19th century, Spanish baritone and teacher Manuel García authored L’Art du Chant, considered to be one of the most important pedagogical treatises on Bel Canto. His grandson and other renowned teachers carried on his pedagogy, and it is the García lineage upon which the San Miguel Institute is based.

The Institute will provide an extraordinarily intense program for young singers with major career potential according to its co-founders, Joseph McClain, founder and former general director of the Austin Lyric Opera as well as founder of Ópera San Miguel and its Concurso San Miguel, and Michael Sylvester, one of the most important American tenors on the international stage, having appeared in leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera and other world renowned companies before retiring. “In designing the Institute,” McClain said, “Michael and I envisioned a Bel Canto workshop comprising faculty from the United States and Mexico who have proven track records of bringing winners to important competitions, placing lead singers in the ensembles of major houses, and, most importantly, building a healthy vocal/musical foundation that would last a lifetime.”

“The García lineage combined with a holistic approach is at the core of the San Miguel Institute of Bel Canto,” Sylvester said. “When a singer’s voice, body, breath, dramatic intention, and musicality function together in harmony and freedom, real artistry can be achieved. It is for this reason, that our faculty will include not only top voice teachers, conductors, and coaches, but also experts in stage training, body work, and life coaching,” he added.

Twenty-two international singers and pianists will participate in this first year of the Institute. Ages 20 through 32 and hailing from Mexico and the United States, they were selected through applications and recorded auditions. In addition to voice lessons, private coaching, acting classes, and sessions on bodywork, they will participate in master classes, informal concerts, and two major concerts that will be given for the San Miguel community. For more information, contact Joseph McClain at 154 9837 or email him at


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