Young opera singers set to compete

Cash award goes to winner in Denver Lyric Opera Guild event

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Like professionals in any field of theatrical/musical arts, young opera singers must travel a challenging path to arrive onstage.

Hours of rehearsing, more hours of language and musical technique study, precise care for that valuable instrument housed in their body and coaching from experts on the literature, the history, techniques, style, stage skills are involved.

In this area, Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver offers the needed advanced study, as do the University of Colorado and Colorado State University.

Then with a degree in hand, they must find opportunities to audition, to perform in the U.S. and abroad — to make contacts with directors, producers and others — all while staying in peak condition and assured of some income. A personal life fits in there somewhere — as well as the beginning of a teaching career, perhaps.

Area opera companies Opera Colorado and Central City Opera offer some openings, but these young singers also travel to Europe, Latin America and Asia and to perform professionally.

Some years ago, a group of area opera lovers formed the Denver Lyric Opera Guild as a way to offer some support. Each year, a small group of young singers compete for a cash award the group offers — this year it is $35,000 — and free operatic performances have been available in past years through attending the competition process. In 2021, the process will be live-streamed via the YouTube link on the DLOG website. (denverlyricoperaguild.org/2021-competition.)

The competition will be held at Calvary Baptist Church, Denver and in past years, it was open free to an audience, but that is not an option in 2021.

In a normal year, DLOG members meet for lunch at an area country club for Opera on Tuesday sessions, where an opera-related program with one or more singers offering a brief program and members enjoy talking with fellow music lovers.

The competition schedule for 2021 began with a Master Class on Feb. 13, conducted by Robert Harrison, former professor of music at the University of Colorado and at the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Thirty competitors each sang an aria, heard Harrison’s comments, then repeated the aria, incorporating his feedback.

Pianist Jeremy Reger from the University of Colorado will serve as accompanist for all events.

Preliminaries will be on March 6 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., when these 30 will perform again for three professional judges. (See website information above.) Fifteen competitors will be selected for the final competition, which will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. March 20 with a different panel of experts.

We are advised that participant schedules will be available on the DLOG website on the final day of performance competition.

All judges will be Colorado professionals affiliated with Central City Opera, University of Denver and other institutions.

For readers who may have an interest in joining this generous support organization, new members are welcome and information is on the website.

After I listened to a previous winner talk about how his award allowed him to travel to New York to audition, which he couldn’t afford otherwise, I was sure I wanted to write about the program.

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