San Francisco Opera Announces Winner Of 2018 Emerging Stars Competition
San Francisco Opera announces the winner of the 2018 Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Emerging Stars Competition. Brazilian tenor Atalla Ayan, who made his Company debut as Alfredo in Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata last fall, was named "2018 Emerging Star of the Year" based on a popular vote conducted online at sfopera.com from July 9-July 31, 2018. As winner of the competition, now in its third year, Ayan receives a $10,000 cash prize.
Ayan was one of 13 artists appearing in San Francisco Opera's 2017-18 Season with support from the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Emerging Stars Fund who were nominated for the competition. The other nominees were soprano Aurelia Florian (La Traviata); soprano Ellie Dehn and baritone David Pershall (Manon); sopranos Hye Jung Lee and Julia Bullock, mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges, tenor Paul Appleby, baritones Ryan McKinny and Elliot Madore and bass-baritone Davóne Tines (Girls of the Golden West); bass Soloman Howard (Turandot); and mezzo-soprano Ronnita Miller (Der Ring des Nibelungen).
Ayan said, "It was on the stage of the San Francisco Opera House that I had one of the happiest moments of my career so far. A special thanks to Maria Manetti Shrem and Jan Shrem for their wonderful support of the initiative and for those all who believed in me and in my talent. I appreciate this award as a beautiful incentive for my development as an artist and for my career with hopefully many years yet to come."
Maria Manetti Shrem said: "Jan and I were so excited when we learned that Atalla won this year's Emerging Star of the Year competition. We are committed to celebrating these amazing new talents at San Francisco Opera because they are essential to keeping the art form fresh and exciting. We were thrilled to inaugurate and to continue supporting this competition, and we are delighted to give a special award to Atalla for his sensational Company debut last fall in La Traviata."
Jan Shrem continued, "Maria and I are so inspired by this new generation of stars at San Francisco Opera. They work so hard and they give all of us in the audience so much pleasure. I am happy to raise awareness for them through the Emerging Stars competition. Atalla Ayan sets a wonderful example for other rising stars in the opera world. Bravo Atalla!"
A member of the Stuttgart Opera since 2012, Ayan has quickly established himself as one of the most sought-after tenors of his generation and has been well received at major international opera houses, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (in the roles of Ruggero in La Rondine, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Rodolfo in La Bohème), The Metropolitan Opera (Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac and Alfredo in La Traviata), Teatro alla Scala (Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore), Opéra National de Paris (Rodolfo), Grand Théâtre de Genève (the Italian Singer in Der Rosenkavalier) and Deutsche Oper Berlin (Ruggero and Rodolfo). Upcoming engagements include Rodolfo at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Canadian Opera Company and the Bavarian State Opera, Alfredo at Semperoper Dresden and the Munich Opera Festival, and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi at the Metropolitan Opera.
The Emerging Stars Award is made possible by the Emerging Stars Fund, established through a multi-year, multimillion-dollar gift from Company benefactors Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem. Their gift provides crucial support for San Francisco Opera to celebrate rising artists and to engage the community in the thrill of experiencing these performers. Past recipients of the "Emerging Star of the Year" award include baritone Lucas Meachem and tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz.