The Dallas Opera Guild Presents 24th Annual Vocal Competition, 3/10

By: Jan. 31, 2012
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The Dallas Opera Guild is proud to present the 24th Annual "Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition," an on-stage showcase for talented young opera singers with Texas connections on Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 7:30pm in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, 2403 Flora Street, Dallas, TX 75201.

This marks only the second time this eagerly anticipated vocal competition will be held in the acoustically acclaimed Winspear Opera House. There is no charge for admission to any part of the event (although donations are definitely welcome), and Lexus Red Garage parking is available FREE for the Semi-final Round, from 11:30 AM until 4:00 PM. There will be a $15.00 parking fee for the Finals Round of the Guild competition, which gets underway at 7:30 PM that same evening; however, local opera lovers can obtain a discount for self-parking by going to http://dallasopera.org/vocalcompetition. Click on the "Buy Parking" button and then, in the promo code box, enter the word VOCAL before clicking on the "Submit" link. Follow additional instructions to obtain your print-on-demand parking coupon for this event.

Twenty-four semi-finalists (aged 22 to 30) chosen from a field of fifty qualified applicants will compete for thousands of dollars in prize monies ($19,000 was awarded in 2007, 2009, and 2010; $20,500 in 2011) at this year's competition, open to singers preparing for a career in the field of opera. They must be current Texas residents or out-of-state residents attending a Texas college or university.

Judges for this year's event include:

Scott H. Altman, General Director of Arizona Opera, Sheri Greenawald, Opera Center Director, San Francisco Opera,  Christopher Hahn, General Director of Pittsburgh Opera, Robin Thompson, Arts Consultant, Virginia Opera and additional companies, And from The Dallas Opera, Artistic Director Jonathan Pell, who also acts as artistic advisor to this eagerly anticipated annual competition.

"Of all the things I do, over the course of the opera season, the vocal competition is one of the things I look forward to the most, because it gives me an enormous sense of personal satisfaction," explains Mr. Pell. "Being able to help identify, nurture, and develop young talent is the most wonderful part of my job," Mr. Pell adds. "The Dallas Opera Guild Competition has helped quite a few struggling young singers, many of whom have gone on to forge significant international opera careers. People like Clifton Forbis, who is here rehearsing the role of Tristan in Tristan & Isolde and Latonia Moore, who opens our next season in the Winspear Opera House in the title role of Aida."

The Dallas Opera Guild is pleased to announce that the Honorees for the 24th Annual Vocal Competition are Elaine and Bill Blaylock. The Blaylocks have been involved with The Dallas Opera and The Dallas Opera Guild in positions of leadership and service for many years. During their term as co-presidents of The Dallas Opera Guild in 1999-2000, the Bessylee Penland Endowment Fund was established to benefit the Vocal Competition.

Preliminary judges for this year's competition included Vocal Coach/Pianist and Translator Martha Gerhart, who teaches both voice and diction at SMU's Meadows School of the Arts; Angela Wilson, professional opera singer and instructor of Voice at Texas Christian University; and Dallas Opera Head of Music Staff Michael Heaston, who also serves as Head of Music Staff and Program Director of the prestigious Young American Artists Program at Glimmerglass Opera.

The singers in both the semi-final and finals rounds will be accompanied by Dallas Opera pianist and vocal coach Julian Reed and SMU accompanist and faculty vocal coach Jason Smith.

"Fred and I have been impressed with the extraordinary level of talent revealed by these young Texas singers," admits Dallas Opera Guild Competition Co-Chair Sandi Ciarochi. "It's been both humbling and rewarding to listen to their entry CDs, to learn about their personal experiences to date, to witness their resolve and-above all-to share their obvious joy when they learn that they've been selected to compete as semi-finalists."

"With funding for the arts rapidly diminishing," explains Guild Competition Co-Chair Fred Ciarochi, "it's great to have this opportunity to recognize, honor and promote homegrown talent, particularly when you realize how many of our Guild Vocal Competition singers go on to become nationally and internationally recognized. Just sitting in the audience is a thrilling experience and when audience members cast their personal votes for the 'People's Choice' award, you can detect how passionate people become when singers' careers are at stake."

Audience participation, in fact, is part of the fun at each year's Dallas Opera Vocal Competition and, for the thirteenth consecutive year, attendees will be given the chance to vote on their personal favorites for "The People's Choice Award."

The Dallas Opera Guild's Vocal Competition, not only provides vital assistance to the young opera stars of tomorrow, but also creates an outstanding opportunity for people from throughout the community to hear exceptional up-and-coming talents, in free performances in a magnificent setting.



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