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X Concurso San Miguel 2018

1st prize: Karen Barraza

2nd prize: Jacinta Barbachano

3rd prize: María Caballero

4th prize: Penélope Luna and Luis Aguilar (shared prize)


Finalists: Rosario Aguilar, Jacob Bravo, Enrique Guzmán, Vanessa Jara; Ángel Macías, Graciela Morales, Octavio Rivas.


Invitados especiales: Annette Palomares, Carlos Fernando Reynoso, Tania Solís.

There were no balloons and confetti to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the annual contest of Ópera de San Miguel at the Ángela Peralta Theater. There were only two Greek columns on the softly lit stage at the back and on each side, crowned with flower arrangements. What gave the event a glamorous air were the stunning dresses of the contestants. It was the same format that year after year is well received by the San Miguel public, especially the sponsoring “Ángels”, who occupied the seats in the lunette.


The president of Opera de San Miguel, Álvaro Nieto, began the night with words of thanks to the public and to the artistic director, John Bills, whom he introduced. María Teresa Dobarganes, the charming mistress of ceremonies, was accompanied on this occasion by Leslie Leonard and together they introduced the contestants in both Spanish and English.


On this occasion there were 12 contenders who sang two arias each. The first, Karen Barraza, a 25-year-old soprano, performed the aria by Micaëla from Bizet’s Carmen in the first part of the program: 'Je dis que rien ne m'epouvante' and, after intermission, sang 'Chi' il bel sogno di Doretta' from Puccini’s La rondine.


She was followed by Enrique Guzmán, a light tenor, 33, who first sang 'Si, ritrovarla io giuro' from Rossini's La Cenerentola, and then 'Ah, mes amis' from Donizetti's La fille du régiment.


María Caballero, soprano, 26, sang 'O luce di quest'anima' from Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix, and later, from Louise by Charpentier, 'Depuis le jour'.


Vanessa Jara, mezzo-soprano, 27, offered the aria 'Se Roméo t'uccise un figlio… La tremenda ultrice spada' from Bellini’s I Capuleti and I Montecchi; and when returning after intermission, the “Habanera” from Bizet’s Carmen.


Angel Macías, tenor, 24, presented 'Che gelida manina' from Puccini's La bohème, and then 'Ah, leve-toi soleil' from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.


Rosario Aguilar, soprano, 30, continued with 'Come scoglio' from Mozart's Così fan tutte, and 'Stridono lassù' from Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.


Jacob Bravo, baritone, 28, first sang 'Scintille diamant' from Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann, and then 'O, Carlo, ascolta' from Verdi's Don Carlo.


Luis Aguilar, tenor, 25, sang 'Kuda, kuda' from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and 'Una furtiva lagrima', from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore.


Penelope Luna, soprano, 30, sang 'Bel raggio lusinghier' from Rossini's Semiramide, and 'Obeissons quand leur voix appellee', from Massenet’s Manon.


Jacinta Barbachano, mezzo-soprano, 25, performed 'Parto, parte' from Mozart's La clemenza di Tito and 'Una voce poco fa' from Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia.


Octavio Rivas, tenor, 31, sang 'La fleur que tu m'avais jetée' from Bizet's Carmen and then 'Mamma, quel vino è generoso’ from Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana.


And Graciela Morales, soprano, 26, sang 'Padre germani, addio! from Idomeneo by Mozart, and closed with 'The Trees on the Mountain', from Susannah by Carlisle Floyd.


While the jury deliberated, three young special guests sang: Tania Solís, soprano, 22, who sang 'Chacun le sait, chacun le dit' from Donizetti's La fille du regiment; soprano Annette Palomares, 22, sang the aria 'De mi amor' from the Mexican opera Keofar, by Felipe Villanueva, and the baritone Carlos Fernando Reynoso, 21, sang 'Hai già vinta la causa' from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. All the singers were accompanied by the musical director and resident pianist of the OSM, Mario Alberto Hernández.


On this occasion, the jury was made up of John Bills, artistic director of Ópera de San Miguel; Maureen O'Flynn, renowned soprano and teacher at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut; Charles Oppenheim, professional opera singer and editor of Mexico's Pro Ópera magazine; John Daly Goodwin, former Music Director of the New York Choral Society; Alain Nonat, founder and artistic director of Les Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques de Montreal; Jens Neundorff von Enzberg, manager of the Theater Regensburg in Germany; Ken Benson, Agent and Former Vice President of Columbia Artists Management, Inc. (CAMI); and Nicolas Mansfield, general and artistic director of the Nederlander Nationale Reisoper (Dutch Opera Touring Company).


These were the official results of the Concurso:


First prize: Karen Barraza: $100,000 pesos. The Marion M. Kelley Foundation.

Second prize: Jacinta Barbachano: $75,000 pesos. The Amistad Canada Prize.

Third prize :Maria Caballero: $50,000 pesos.

Fourth prize : Luis Aguilar and Penélope Luna both shared this prize: $40,000 pesos each.

The Victoria Carolina Mosallem Pescador Honorary Award: Graciela Morales: $60,000 pesos.

The Oliver Deehan Memorial Award: Rosario Aguilar: $40,000 pesos.

The Director's Award: Octavio Rivas: $30,000 pesos.

The Dmitri Hvorostovsky Memorial Award: Jacob Bravo: $20,000 pesos.

The Herman Marcus Memorial Award: Vanessa Jara: $20,000 pesos.

The Award for Exceptional Integrity, Strength, Discipline, Tenacity and Positive Attitude was presented to Enrique Guzmán and Jacob Bravo: $20,000 pesos each.

The José Mojica award went to Luis Aguilar: $15,000 pesos and a concert in Celaya.

Les Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques award went to María Caballero and Luis Aguilar: $15,000 pesos and expenses to travel to Montreal to participate in three concerts and a gala with an orchestra in front of 14 directors of international opera houses.

The youth potential award: Ángel Macías: $15,000 pesos.

The Edgar Mason Kneedler Memorial Award, for Outstanding Performance: Jacinta Barbachano: $15,000 pesos.

Incentive scholarships were also awarded to Enrique Guzmán and Ángel Macías: $10,000 pesos each.

The Rosewood San Miguel Audience Award went to Jacinta Barbachano: $10,000 pesos.


In addition to the cash prizes, two contestants also received direct passes to the semifinal rounds: Karen Barraza, for the 2018 International Vocal Competition in Marmande, France; and Rosario Aguilar, for the “Riccardo Zandonai” International Competition in Italy.


In addition, María Caballero received an invitation to audition for a “Fest” contract at the Theater Regensburg in Germany; Octavio Rivas was selected to sing the role of Mario Cavaradossi in a concert performance of Puccini's Tosca in Regensburg; Rosario Aguilar was selected to sing Villa Lobos' "Bachianas Brasileiras" at the San Miguel de Allende Chamber Music Festival in August 2018.


As a result of an extraordinary audition held on March 3 with winners of previous San Miguel Opera competitions, the first place winner of the 2015 Competition, César Delgado, was invited to sing the role of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor in May 2019 at the Theater Regensburg; and also the role of the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto in the 2022-2023 season of the Nederlander Nationale Reisoper.


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