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The Metropolitan Opera to Stage Mexico-Wide Auditions in San Miguel

By Michael Pearl, Director, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Mexico District

New York’s famed Metropolitan Opera has been aware for some time that talented Mexican opera singers exist in abundance, but up to now most Mexican singers have been ineligible to participate in the Met’s extensive network of auditions held annually across the USA and Canada. For the first time, the Met has reached out to the opera community in Mexico and has invited this country to become part of its audition structure. Pro Musica is delighted to announce that it has been chosen to exclusively partner with the Met’s National Council to stage the Mexican-wide auditions for singers as part of their 2018/19 auditions. Any Mexican singer between the ages of 20 and 30 can apply to be auditioned. The winners of the San Miguel auditions will go through to regional finals in New Orleans, with the possibility of progressing to the semi-finals and the finals in New York. There is substantial prize money for the winners at every stage.

This major initiative is of international importance—for the Met, because it opens the door to a whole new source of talented young singers from a music-loving nation of 120 million people on its borders, and for opera singers in Mexico, because they will have direct access to a new career avenue with the possibility of reaching the highest levels of the profession: the ultimate prize of the auditions being to sing at the Met. This is a real possibility because, out of the Met’s roster of 300 singers, a third have been chosen through these auditions.

“We look forward to collaborating with Pro Musica to identify and develop the next generation of opera singers,” said Melissa Wegner, Associate Director of the Met at Lincoln Center. “We are proud to include Mexico in the National Council Auditions, and in doing so, our program now reflects the artists and training in all of North America.”

The auditions will be held in San Miguel in the second week of November 2018, when a panel of three judges, all opera professionals certified by the Met, will hear up to 40 singers. They will be accompanied by the incomparable Mario Alberto Hernandez who has played for thousands of singers in auditions throughout Mexico. An important part of the process is that all participating singers, not just the winners, will have the opportunity to spend time with the judges after the auditions for a critique of their performances, essentially turning the day into a valuable Master Class.

There will be a full length Pro Musica Winners’ Concert within a few days of the auditions, when San Miguel audiences will have the chance to hear for themselves the rising stars of Mexican opera, knowing that they will be going on to the Met’s Regional Finals and possibly further! The chosen singers will benefit from awards and fees totaling some $200,000 pesos from the auditions and the Winners’ Concert in San Miguel.

Staging the Met opera auditions is an expensive business, not only because of the necessary strict adherence to the Met’s world class standards, but also because the Met does not meet any of the costs involved, so we have to raise all the necessary funding, including the prize money and bringing the judges from the US and accommodating them. Our Met auditions executive committee has taken responsibility for the fundraising campaign, which will be headed by Joan Mitchell, its chair. Joan brings to this project extensive experience in fundraising for universities and arts organizations, as well as a background in the overall management of arts and other not-for-profit organizations.

Fortunately, we already have pledges for a good proportion of the overall costs. However, we need to raise many thousands of dollars more. This is a wonderful opportunity for opera lovers in San Miguel to contribute to an annual event that will bring tremendous prestige to San Miguel and give a terrific boost to young Mexican singers. A range of attractive benefits are available to all donors, scaled according to the amount contributed. These include program acknowledgement, complimentary admission to the auditions, invitations to dinner with the judges, tickets for the winners’ concert and the dinner afterwards, and discounts on program advertising. Sponsorship can be by way of either a general gift or to underwrite specific aspects of the auditions, such as defraying venue costs or judges’ travel, sponsoring the pianist, or contributing prize awards.

There will be a spectacular Launch Event for the Mexico Auditions in mid-February 2018, including a champagne reception, food, music and opera singing, with a top official from the Met at Lincoln Center joining us, to which all our Founding Sponsors will be invited.

For more information, contact Joan Mitchell at promusicametchair@gmail.com. The Pro Musica website will have a Met Auditions page that will contain further details of the auditions as it is announced. Go to promusicasma.org.

 

 

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