New York’s famed Metropolitan Opera has been aware for some time that talented Mexican opera singers exist in abundance, but up to now most Mexican singers have been ineligible to participate in the Met’s extensive network of auditions held annually across the USA and Canada. For the first time the Met has reached out to the opera community in Mexico and has invited this country to become part of its audition structure. Pro Musica is delighted to announce that it has been chosen to exclusively partner with the Met’s National Council to stage the Mexican-wide auditions. Thirty Four singers from all over the country were auditioned by a panel of three distinguished Judges nominated by the Met. Maestro Mario Alberto Hernandez accompanied every singer throughout this long day with his usual dedication, and consummate musicianship. The five winners of this San Miguel Audition will go through to the Gulf Coast Regional finals in New Orleans, with the possibility of progressing to the semi-finals and the finals in New York.
The five winners are Efraín Corralejo, tenor, Juan Carlos Heredia, baritone, Yunuet Laguna, soprano, Gamaliel Reynoso, counter tenor and Denis Vélez, soprano. The Achievement Award recipients are Alejandro del Ángel, tenor, Vanessa Jara, Damaris Lezama, soprano, Ana Paula Malagón, soprano and Sofía Sánchez, soprano.
This major initiative is of international importance; for the Met, because it opens the door to a whole new source of talented young singers from a music loving nation of 120 million people on its borders; and for opera singers in Mexico, because they will have direct access to a new career avenue with the possibility of reaching the highest levels of the profession: the ultimate prize of the auditions being to sing at the Met. This is a real possibility because, out of the Met’s roster of 300 singers, a third have been chosen through these auditions. Melissa Wegner, Associate Director of the Met at Lincoln Center says “We look forward to collaborating with Pro Musica to identify and develop the next generation of opera singers …We are proud to include Mexico in the National Council Auditions, and in doing so, our program now reflects the artists and training in all of North America.”
Tobin Bradley, Deputy Chief of Mission of the American Embassy in Mexico City, spoke movingly of the historic nature of the occasion bringing together the cultural excellence of two great nations, and presented Official Citations to all ten singers on behalf of the United States Government; reciting that they are the first singers in Mexico to represent their nation in the 65 year history of the Met auditions.