San Miguel Institute of Bel Canto Closes 2016 Season With Two Grand Finales
By Alexis White
Tempestuousness, jealousy, agonizing sorrow, cosmic romance, seduction, flirtation, and comedic behavior come to life in opera, the passionate art that has brought 33 very talented young Mexican and American singers to San Miguel de Allende to study at the San Miguel Institute of Bel Canto. This coming week these rising young opera singers will demonstrate their passion in two concerts. Through arias and staged scenes, they will showcase accomplishments achieved through study at the Institute, which provides an intensive four-week program for young singers with major career potential.
San Miguel Institute
of Bel Canto
Sat, Aug 20, 7pm
Bellas Artes, Hernández Macías 75
100 pesos at the door
Young Professional Gala Grand Finale Concert
San Miguel Institute of Bel Canto
Wed, Aug 24, 7pm
Teatro Ángela Peralta, Mesones 82
100 pesos balcones/200 pesos luneta at Peralta Box Office
The first concert, the Student Artist Grand Finale, features singers ages 19 to 23 whose course of study at the Institute emphasizes opera and art song. The student artists were invited to attend the Institute by audition and through a commitment to opera that includes earning or nearing completion of a university or conservatory degree.
The second concert, the Young Professionals Gala Grand Finale, closes the Institute’s 2016 season. Designed for singers ages 24 to 35 who have demonstrated success toward an early professional path by either skill level or professional experience, the Young Professionals track of study focuses on opera and especially on role preparation. Its participants, who also auditioned, include winners of international concursos as well as some who have received accolades for their roles in operas presented by professional companies.
Led by a faculty of professionals who hail from the Metropolitan Opera and other great world stages and international trainers, the Institute has a holistic approach to the Bel Canto pedagogical legacy, which goes back to 17th century Italy. The style emphasizes natural, organic control. It promotes the concept that when the singer’s voice, body, breath, dramatic intention, and musicality function together in harmony and freedom, real artistry can be achieved. Bel Canto has been credited by popular as well as classical singers for prolonging the health of their voices. Included among them have been Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole.
The Institute was co-founded and is co-directed by Joseph McClain and Michael Sylvester. McClain, the founder and former general director of the Austin Lyric Opera, founded and is Director Artístico Emeritus of Ópera San Miguel and its Concurso San Miguel. Sylvester, one of the most important American tenors on the international stage, 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 creating a transformative Bel Canto program 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 generosity of the Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez, “El Nigromante,” del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, has enabled the Institute to be headquartered at Bellas Artes for its 2015 and 2016 summer season.