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Concurso San Miguel XI Winners to Appear in Concert

Awards Presentation

Winners Bow

By Shari Alexander

The second decade of Opera San Miguel’s Concurso San Miguel started off with a bang on March 2 with what most observers described as the best contest yet.

If you were unable to attend the sold-out event, come hear these exciting young singers in a winners concert at the Bellas Artes cultural center on March 30.

Each year, OSM Artistic Director John Bills personally auditions more than 85 applicants. Only 10 get to come to San Miguel de Allende for an entire week of music, drama, and language coaching; master classes; and an entire day of career counseling. This “whole artist” approach sets the Concurso apart from almost any contest in the world.

Bills invites judges with vast experience in judging professional opera contests, heading up opera companies, and representing singers. This year’s six-member jury had a combined professional experience approaching 200 years!

The judges all understand the state of opera today, the hiring needs of opera companies, and the qualities needed in a successful singer. Each closely watches the week’s coaching so that on Concurso night their decisions are informed by their observations.

“We are investing in potential, and potential is measured in many ways,” says Bills. “We look for singers who best display a combination of talent, technique, style, training, intelligence, musicianship, preparedness, interpretive skills, language skills, strength of character, willingness to accept constructive criticism—all qualities which are important to future success, but many of which are impossible to assess in a single hearing.

“I believe the traditional method of voice contests is not always predictive of future success. To base an investment of thousands of dollars on a moment-in-time impression is not to consider the artist as a whole.”

Bills points to the almost astounding success enjoyed by his Concurso winners, many of whom are now performing with major opera companies around the world at a rate unheard of for Mexican singers just ten years ago.

He recently received a tremendous vote of confidence last week from first-time jury member, Cori Ellison, a frequent judge for the Metropolitan Opera’s Met Auditions. Cori is also a vocal arts faculty member at The Juilliard School.

Ellison wrote Bills, “What you’ve done here is astonishing, and I believe you’re helping to ensure the future of opera, not only here but all over the world, since I honestly believe that Latin singers are the ones who will, more than anyone else, keep this flame (of opera) alive as we know it. Muchas gracias for a life-changing week!”

The Concurso provided a life-changing week for its winners as well! OSM invites you to hear them perform together at this exciting Winners Concert.



Concurso San Miguel XI:  The Winners Concert

Sat, Mar 30, 2pm

Miguel Malo Auditorium

Bellas Artes, Hernández Macías 75


OSM Office, Mesones 78, Int 14

500 pesos all seats

A benefit for the Opera San Miguel Scholarship Fund


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