Vocal competition seeks next opera star

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Calling all closet opera singers!

Opera Theater of Pittsburgh is—for the second year in a row—holding two vocal competitions in search of the best in unknown opera singers: Opera Champion of Pittsburgh Voice Competition and the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition.

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CANDIDE—Andrey Nemzer, left; countertenor, 1st place winner of the 2011 Mildred Miller International Voice Competition, performs “The Old Lady” in “Candide.” (Photo by Patti Brahim)

“We are dedicated to fostering the next generation of opera singers,” said Rachel Kasic, business operations and communications manager of the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. “Our goal is to find people who are working in fields other than opera and who have never had any voice lessons. We’re trying to find that diamond in the rough.”

The Opera Champion of Pittsburgh Voice Competition is open for amateur opera singers of any age and any voice range but who have had no professional training.

Applicants for the voice competition must live within 75 miles of Pittsburgh and can be of any voice type and age range. Applicants must record an audition video for consideration. A pre-screening will take place prior to Opera Theater posting videos for online voting. Ten semifinalists will be chosen by public voting at http://www.otsummer­fest.org/champ, then narrowed down to five finalists by Opera Theater administration.

The Opera Champion of Pittsburgh Voice Competition winner will be chosen by the audience at a gala finals concert held Nov. 4 at 2 p.m.

“Our competitions offer young singers the chance to be on stage and immediately build their experience and repertoire,” said Opera Theater’s artistic director, Jonathan Eaton. “Opera is for everyone because singing is for everyone—we are all, somewhere, deep down, budding singers. So I say let’s bring ‘em out of the showers and onto the stage!”

The winner of the contest will earn the Michelina Fato and Carl Snyderman $1,000 cash prize, free coaching and stage training, and will star on stage in a solo role in SummerFest 2013.

The Mildred Miller International Voice Competition will bring young professionals ages 35 and younger from across the globe to the Golden Triangle.

The first, second and third place winners of the contest will be chosen by some of opera’s most known performers including Marianne Cornetti, Robert Croan, Jane Eaglen, Mildred Miller and Eugene Perry.

Named after Mildred Miller, one of America’s most beloved opera stars with more than 25 years of performing with the Metropolitan Opera, the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition will award the top three winners with roles in Opera Theater’s SummerFest 2013 in addition to a cash prize.

“It is wonderful to be able to support a new generation of talented young opera singers, and to help launch their careers onto the professional opera stage,” Miller said.”We are looking for musical and vocal excellence. Sometimes a small voice can be so beautiful because it’s so pure. We’re looking for the beauty of the instrument. This competition helps the singers realize that they are great and it helps their career go to the next step.”

Contestants interested in applying for the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition can apply via http://www.yaptracker.com.

Semi-finals for the competition will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Finals for both competitions will be held Nov. 4 from 2-5 p.m. at the Mellon Institute Auditorium, 4400 Fifth Ave. Admission is $25 and includes a post concert reception where the audience can interact with the contestants.

To order tickets to the gala or to find out more information call 412-621-1499 or visit http://www.otsummerfest.org.

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