top of page

IV Concurso San Miguel 2012

1st prize: Zayra Ruiz Bermejo

2nd prize: Claudia Rodríguez

3rd prize: Lorena Flores Ruiz

4th prize: Carlos López Santillán


Finalists: Antonio Albores Mattar, Juan del Bosco, César Delgado, Germán Olvera Cornejo, José Luis Reynoso Martínez, Adriana Valdés, Oscar Velázquez, Vanessa Margarita Vera Amaro.


Invitados especiales: Betsabé Brito, Jorge Espino Martínez, Karen Gardeazabal Huitrón, Daniel Noyola.

March 3, at 8:00 p.m., the fourth edition of the San Miguel 2012 Contest was held at the Ángela Peralta Theater in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. This contest is organized and promotedby the non-profit association Ópera de San Miguel (OSM), whose objective is to discover young talents of operatic singing in our country and support their professionalization through master classes with world-class coaches —prior to the competition—, prizes in cash to be used in the advancement of their studies, and presentations in front of the public that provide them with stage experience.


Cesar Delgado (tenor), Lorena Flores Ruiz (soprano), Juan del Bosco (tenor), Claudia Rodríguez (coloratura soprano), Antonio Albores Mattar (tenor), Germán Olvera Cornejo (baritone), José Luis Reynoso Martínez (bass), Vanessa Vera Amaro (soprano), Carlos López Santillán (baritone), Adriana Valdés (coloratura soprano), Zayra Ruiz Bermejo (mezzo-soprano) and Óscar Velásquez (baritone), were the 12 finalists from Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nuevo León and Mexico City, chosen from among over 200 young singers who auditioned for the Concurso.


The judges were: David Schuyler Bender and Barbara Meister Bender, who were opera and oratorio singers with distinguished international careers; John Daly Goodwin, director of The New York Choral Society; John Bills, who had a long career as a tenor at the Metropolitan Opera and is now the artistic director of Ópera de San Miguel, and Joseph McClain, former director of the Austin Lyric Opera and founder of the association.


On Saturday night, with a full theater that welcomes 400 people, we heard two performances by each of the contestants in random order, accompanied on the piano by maestro Mario Alberto Hernández. It is worth mentioning that, unlike other contests, the finalists were summoned days before to receive master classes on repertoire preparation, dramatic art, languages and advice for their professional careers. This format made a difference in the mood of the singers that day, as some of them commented, and allowed the jury to come into real contact with the vocal and scenic abilities of each finalist, as well as fine-tune details and attend to the particular needs of each of the voices selected during those previous days.


The public also had access to some of the master classes and was able to accompany their favorite singers until the night of the competition, thus witnessing the talent, passion and hard work that the career of an international opera singer requires. In short, the results of the week were evident that night, with singers who came out on stage confident and performing with ease.


A pleasant surprise of the night was listening to four invitados especiales or Special Guests, singers of at least 20 years of age, whose voices were considered by the judges as worthy of being heard, even when they were out of competition. Karen Gardeazabal Huitrón, Jorge Espino Martínez, Betsabé Brito and Daniel Noyola delighted the audience while the judges deliberated.


The winners were:


First prize, Zayra Ruiz Bermejo, mezzo-soprano: $60,000 pesos and debut with the Acapulco Philharmonic Orchestra with a fee of $15,000 pesos, sponsored by maestro Eduardo Álvarez. She performed 'Una voce poco fa' from Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, and 'Smanie implacabili' from Mozart's Così fan tutte.


Second prize, Claudia Rodríguez, soprano: $30,000 pesos. She also took home $10,000 pesos as the “Audience Favorite”. She performed 'Caro nome' from Rigoletto by Verdi, and 'Je suis Titania' from Mignon by Ambroise Thomas.


Third prize, Lorena Flores Ruiz, soprano: $15,000 pesos. She performed 'O smania, o furie!' from Mozart's Idomeneo, as well as 'Io son l'umile ancella' from Adriana Lecouvreur by Cilea.


Fourth prize, Carlos López Santillán, baritone: $10,000 pesos. He performed 'Ah, per semper' from Bellini's I puritani and 'Hai già vinta la causa' from Mozart's Le nozze de Figaro.


A $500 Career Bridges Stimulus Scholarship was awarded to baritone Óscar Velásquez, which was an additional prize awarded by judges David and Barbara Bender, founders of this North American training organization for singers. He performed 'O Carlo, ascolta… Io morro' from Verdi's Don Carlo, and 'Ha! Welch ein Augenblick' from Beethoven's Fidelio.


In the audience was the Ambassador of Italy in Mexico, Roberto Spinelli, with his wife Rosella, the many patrons and fans of Ópera de San Miguel, aptly named “Angels” of the opera, and national and foreign spectators who have made San Miguel de Allende their second home.


Without a doubt, Concurso San Miguel already has a place with national recognition, with the addition of being totally funded by private resources: donations from individuals who decide to invest in something that seems valuable to them, that goes beyond themselves and that at the same time rewards their generosity by giving them magical nights like this Saturday’s. It is exhilarating to witness what the will and vision of ordinary people, like you and me, can achieve. In the end, it's never just about you or me: it's about what art can do for a community, about talent reaching as many people as possible, about voices—Mexican luckily, in this case— that cross countries and souls. This is the blessing that artists provide to a society: one can be and do something extraordinary through them, one night at a time.


bottom of page