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Waiting to Exhale: A Backstage Look at Opera San Miguel Auditions

By Maureen Frances


She came to San Miguel to audition for Concurso San Miguel from a small town many miles away. The smile on her face was evident despite her nervousness. Her parents waited behind her. It was 10am and her audition was at 1pm. We saw tears behind her eyes as her soft voice asked where she could change into her dress and shoes. Hours later, the sound pouring from the studio as she auditioned was that of an angel.

The next contestant was late. We thought he might not appear. His car had broken down, and he had hours to drive. He had to wait for his uncle to finish work and borrow a car. He was winded and scared we might turn him away. That thought was far from our minds as we helped him get ready quickly for his audition. We gave him a few minutes to relax and collect himself before the most important 10 minutes of this young singer’s life.

The diva who appeared on the third of three days of auditions had the posture and demeanor of an opera star. She seemed not to care what we thought as we helped her prepare. This was not arrogance, rather, strong confidence. Interestingly, the judges commented on the wind of nervousness behind her singing during her audition, but they heard her amazing talent and saw the appeal of her confident stride to the stage.

All three singers were unique, yet one common thread prevailed. Each contestant moved us, for they wore their hearts on their sleeves. No matter what their demeanor or situation, tenderness and vulnerability spoke louder. To sing as beautifully as they all did, it must have come from their hearts. There is no other possible explanation.

The rush of emotion as each singer finished the audition was like a storm cloud bursting. Most needed a moment to sit and hydrate. They expressed their nervousness and talked about the dry air, a winter cough, and factors that may have affected their audition. They all left not knowing if they would be chosen.

In three days of auditions, the judges heard so many talented, promising opera singers. They knew they had to choose only 10 of the 85 who auditioned. The importance of the auditions was felt by each singer, understanding that competing in Concurso San Miguel could be a true stepping stone in their careers.

Judges from Europe, Canada, the US, and Mexico attend Concurso San Miguel, OSM’s nationwide contest, spreading their nets for new talent. The goals for each singer was to learn from master teachers, to win money for professional and educational expenses, and to receive offers of performing opportunities. Supporting the dreams of the young and talented opera singers of Mexico is the mission of Opera San Miguel. Concurso San Miguel will be held on March 3, at Teatro Ángela Peralta. Tickets go on sale at the box office February 15.



Concurso San Miguel X

Sat, Mar 3, 7:30pm

Teatro Ángela Peralta

Mesones 82

Tickets at the box office

Starting Feb 15

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