|Dallas Opera Memories|
|Home > Newsletter Archive > Vol. 44 > Dallas Opera Memories|
THE 21ST ANNUAL DALLAS OPERA GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION
"American Idol" ... "Dancing with the Stars" - Kid's Stuff!
But if there WERE an OPERA OLYMPICS for fresh, exciting and incredibly talented young amateurs - THIS would be it: The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition 2009! Show your support for the home team at this incredible one-day event, Saturday, April 4, 2009 at Gooch Auditorium on the campus of UT Southwestern Medical Center (free covered parking off Harry Hines at Butler, free valet parking for the finals only). Semifinal round starts at 11:30 a.m. with the finals round--including a free champagne and dessert buffet--beginning at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for admission to any part of the event.
Twenty semi-finalists (aged 18 to 30) chosen from a field of close to a hundred applicants will compete for thousands of dollars in prize monies ($19,000 was awarded in 2007, more than $18,000 in 2008) at this year’s competition honoring longtime Dallas Opera Guild Officers and former Guild Presidents Sylvia and Maurice Elton. The competition is open to singers genuinely desiring to pursue a career in the field of opera. They must be current Texas residents or out-of-state residents attending a Texas college or university.
"Our semi-finalists exhibit a variety of academic backgrounds," explains Dallas Opera Guild President Gloria Rege. "They include singers from the Academy of Vocal Arts, Baylor, Indiana, Juilliard, Oberlin, Rice, Southern Methodist University, the University of North Texas and U.T.-Austin, to name a few!"Judges for this year’s event include Roberto Mauro, Director of Artistic Operations for Arizona Opera; Gayletha Nichols, Director, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions; Brad Trexell, Director of Artistic Planning, Opera Colorado; Brad Woolbright, Artistic Administrator for Santa Fe Opera; and from The Dallas Opera, Director of Artistic Administration 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 year, this vocal competition gives me the greatest level of personal satisfaction," admits Mr. Pell.
"It is the direct expression of everything I feel about the opera business and how it works to nurture, foster and develop young talent," he adds. "The Dallas Opera Guild should be very proud of the impressive ‘track record’ of past competition winners who have gone on to significant international careers."
Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition Chairman Don Jones also considers this annual event an important part of The Dallas Opera calendar: "This competition gives young singers an opportunity to showcase their talents before a live audience. Each semi-finalist will present a professional ‘mini-recital’ that will be judged by a distinguished panel of vocal experts and enjoyed by an appreciative audience.
"In fact," Jones adds, "singers who did not walk away with a prize have, on 2 occasion, been offered roles and positions, based upon their outstanding performances at this competition."
Audience participation is part of the fun at each year’s Vocal Competition and, for the tenth consecutive year, attendees will be given the chance to vote on their personal favorites for "The People’s Choice Award." Audience members will also enjoy mingling and getting to know these young singers during the traditional champagne and dessert reception, a bubbly foretaste of the awards ceremony to come.
This year’s special honorees, former Dallas Opera Guild Presidents Sylvia and Maurice Elton, joined the Opera Guild in 1997. As Vice-President for Student Education, Sylvia visited area schools to prepare students for the opera experience and to promote opera as an exciting choice of career. The Eltons served as guild presidents for the 2004-2005 Season and, just last May, Sylvia co-chaired the "900 Nights at the Opera" event, which raised substantial funds for the Vocal Competition Endowment Fund.
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.
"The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition offered much-needed career and financial support at a crucial time in my life," says Jennifer Black (First Prize, People’s Choice Award, 2001). "I had just completed my studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio, as well as my first summer with San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program, and was on my way to The Yale School of Music. "The chance to participate in this competition was a real ‘vote of confidence’ that encouraged me to continue on this path I had chosen. I feel blessed to have been a recipient of the Guild’s generous support."
This free, Spring musical event has become a favorite among opera aficionados and vocal music lovers across North Texas. For additional information about the 21st annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, please contact The Dallas Opera Guild at 214-443-1040.