opera's future

Young super-soloists compete in annual Houston Grand Opera global showcase

Young super-soloists compete in annual Houston Grand Opera showcase

Amanda Batista Houston Grand Opera
Amanda Batista (soprano) will compete in the show. Photo courtesy of Houston Grand Opera

Fans of opera and local talent will no doubt delight in Houston Grand Opera’s Concert of the Arias, which presents its 34th annual showcase on Friday, January 21. Known as the Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers, the concert showcases some of the best and brightest performers in the world at  the Wortham Theater Center.

Each finalist performs two arias from the opera repertoire for a panel of acclaimed judges. Judges for this year’s competition include guest judge and soprano Christine Goerke, HGO general director and CEO Khori Dastoor, HGO artistic and music director Patrick Summers, and HGO artistic advisor and soprano Ana María Martínez.

The 2022 Concert of Arias finalists include:

  • Amanda Batista, soprano
  • Tatiana Carlos, soprano
  • Meryl Dominguez, soprano
  • Navasard Hakobyan, baritone
  • Jongwon Han, bass-baritone
  • Jonas Jud, bass
  • Shannon Keegan, mezzo-soprano
  • Evan Lazdowski, bass-baritone
  • Olivia Smith, soprano

HGO narrowed the applicants from 768 to 18 semifinalists before selecting the nine finalists who will come to Houston for the final round of the competition. The selected finalists will have the opportunity to learn more about HGO and work with company music staff leading up to the Concert of Arias, during which they will perform two arias each, competing for up to $10,000 in cash prizes.

Finalists will be accompanied by HGO Studio alumnus and HGO Principal Coach Kirill Kuzmin, according to a press release.

Houston Grand Opera will present the competition to a live audience in the Wortham’s Cullen Theater, and the event will be livestreamed through HGO Digital and HGO’s social platforms, per a release. Livestream viewers can follow host Norman Reinhardtas he keeps track of the action behind-the-scenes.

The in-person audience can vote for the Audience Choice Award, while livestream viewers have can vote for their favorite singer in the Online Viewers’ Choice Award. The evening ends with the announcement of the six coveted prizes: First, Second, and Third place, the Ana María Martínez Encouragement Award, the Audience Choice Award, and the Online Viewers’ Choice Award.

“The Concert of Arias represents the purest distillation of this company’s values, as nothing is more important to us than the future of this art form,” said Dastoor in a statement. “Each year we put all we have into developing the talents of the finest young artists in the country through the HGO Studio program, and that starts with this thrilling competition.”