Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions~This Weekend

Heather Russo, Met Opera Chair, along with her amazing team, has been working diligently to prepare for this weekend's auditions.

Here's a quick summary of what's going on this weekend, as well as some deep-rooted history on this placement and how important this partnership has been through the years for the Junior League of San Antonio.

The Metropolitan Opera National Council Southwest Region will celebrate its 53rd annual auditions with the Finals Concert held Sunday, January 15. This event will be at the Ruth Taylor Fine Arts Center on the campus of Trinity University. The public is invited and encouraged to attend at no charge to hear some of the most promising young singers in the world of opera. Curtain time is 2 p.m.

Attending the Met Opera regionals is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear national and international talent compete in this year's competition. These rising stars offer an exciting performance before a panel of three distinguished judges. On hand for this year's competition will be Scott Altman, General Director for the Arizona Opera, Bruce Stasnya, Young Artist Program Director for the Palm Beach Opera and Gayletha Nichols, Executive Director of the MONC. Singers will be accompanied by Thomas Jaber, Professor of Music at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music.

The Southwest Region winner announced at the end of the performance will receive coaching from the Metropolitan Opera's artistic staff, and then compete at the National Semifinal Auditions at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in March. The Grand Finalist named at that competition will perform on the stage of the Met with full orchestra before an audience eagerly anticipating the professional birth of future worldwide opera stars.

These auditions have produced more than 35 national finalists, with many joining the permanent roster of singers at the Met.  JLSA members are especially fortunate, because we've had the opportunity to enjot their stellar performances at our General Meetings!

This tradition of the MONC Southwest Region auditions in San Antonio began in 1959 with Margaret Batts Tobin.  One of San Antonio's strongest arts philanthropists, Mrs. Tobin was pivotal in developing the National Councils regional auditions program to identify and develop top operatic talent throughout the United States.  Mrs. Tobin was a very active and involved member of our Junior League and she helped establish the auditions program right her in San Antonio, as well as create that strong partnership with the league, recruitment of volunteers, and awareness of this program.

We hope you can spend part of the long holiday weekend at the Finals Concert and feel like you are in the audience of the Met in New York City. Who knows - you might actually be hearing one of their future stars!
(Thank you to Kim Biffle, Publicity Chair. For more information Kim can be reached at 210-573-0684)

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