Opera San José Announces Winners of Irene Dalis Vocal Competition

Mezzo-soprano Shanley Horvitz secured Second Place, and baritone Andres Cascante earned Third Place.

By: May. 25, 2022
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Opera San José Announces Winners of Irene Dalis Vocal Competition

Opera San José has announced the winners of its Irene Dalis Vocal Competition, named for the acclaimed mezzo-soprano Irene Dalis who founded Opera San José. The two-day event came to a dramatic conclusion on May 21, with tenor Kyle van Schoonhoven winning First Place, mezzo-soprano Shanley Horvitz securing Second Place, and baritone Andres Cascante earning Third Place. Judged by a remarkable panel of celebrity judges, the six finalists performed before a live audience at the California Theatre in downtown San Jose, where local opera lovers witnessed an unforgettable evening of music. The Finale judges included world-renowned mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, San Francisco Opera's Head of Music John Churchwell, celebrated opera star Soloman Howard, and Opera San José General Director Shawna Lucey. For the first time in the event's history, the dazzlingly talented line-up of singers were joined by the Opera San José Orchestra, conducted by Opera San José Music Director Joseph Marcheso. The finals of the Irene Dalis Vocal Competition took place on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at the California Theatre, 345 South 1st Street, San Jose. For more information, the public can visit operasj.org or call (408) 437-4450 (open Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm).

"The revival of the Irene Dalis Vocal Competition was an incredible success both in the digital realm with our semifinals and on the great stage of the California Theater," says Opera San José General Director Shawna Lucey. "The phenomenal talent on display all week wowed judges and audience members alike, and I can't wait to see where each competitor ends up next. Bringing these rising stars to perform for two panels of the great leaders of opera in front of our cherished OSJ audiences led to a thrilling week of music. The future of opera is bright."

Bass-baritone Ben Brady (Denver, Colorado); soprano Susanne Burgess (Atlanta, Georgia); baritone Andres Cascante (San José, Costa Rica); mezzo-soprano Shanley Horvitz (Voorhees, New Jersey); soprano Nina Mutalifu (Ürümqi, China); and tenor Kyle van Schoonhoven (Lockport, New York) were the six finalists who competed before a live audience on May 21 for nearly $10,000 in cash prizes. They were selected by a panel of distinguished judges from 11 semi-finalists who performed before a virtual world-wide audience on May 18. The Semi-final judges included: two-time Grammy Award-winning mezzo soprano J'Nai Bridges, Houston Grand Opera General Director Khori Dastoor, Opera San José Music Director Joseph Marcheso, and Lyric Opera of Chicago's newly appointed Chief Artistic Administration Officer Matthew Ozawa.

About the Irene Dalis Vocal Competition:

Since its inception in 2006, the Irene Dalis Vocal Competition, named for the San Jose native who became a Metropolitan opera star and then founder of Opera San José, has recognized emerging opera singers who flocked from across the country to participate. The last competition was held in 2014, drawing nearly 100 artists from throughout the United States. General Director Irene Dalis retired from Opera San José shortly after, concluding the three-decade leadership role that she played in the cultural life of the Bay Area. She passed away in December 2014. After an eight-year hiatus, Opera San José welcomes back this event, honoring the legacy of the company's founder as it looks forward to an exciting new future. The Irene Dalis Vocal Competition has been generously underwritten by Dr. H. Andreas Neves.

About Opera San José:

Opera San José is a flagship arts organization located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Maintaining a resident company of artists, OSJ presents four mainstage productions annually in San Jose's historic California Theatre, while regularly broadcasting fully-produced productions from its state-of-the-art Heiman Digital Media Studio. Now in its 38th season, OSJ specializes in role debuts, serving as an artistic incubator for established and emerging artists alike, producing world-class operatic performances for diverse audiences throughout the Bay Area and around the globe. More information is available at operasj.org.

Photo credit: Chris Hardy