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By Alejandra Serna, Florida Grand Opera

When venturing into a new restaurant or type of cuisine, people tend to go for the samplers, which let you try out a variety of items to determine what you like and don’t like. What if you could do the same with opera? Operatic tapas, if you will? That’s the opportunity the YPO Voice Competition will bring to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County on April 27, 2013, at 1 p.m. for tickets as low as $10.

The competition’s Finals Concert brings together the finest young opera singers from all over the country for a program filled with the most popular and important music in the genre. In just one concert, opera newcomers can sample Verdi, Puccini, Wagner, and much more, to truly get their feet wet. But tapas aren’t only for beginners. The YPO Finals Concert will also allow local opera experts to sample up-and-coming voices, giving new colors to the arias they’ve grown to love.

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“We are not only looking to provide new opportunities for budding opera singers,” said Lucie Spieler, chairman of the YPO Voice Competition. “We also want to give the community the chance to experience their talent and fall in love with opera, whether for the first time or all over again.”

The competition began with hundreds of applicants, which have been narrowed down to 35 semifinalists set to audition in Miami on April 26. The following day, a hand-picked group of 12 finalists will perform at the Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Arsht Center giving the aspiring stars a taste of their future success.

“For more than 20 years, YPO and FGO have worked together to bring opera to the community in South Florida. This competition features the best young voices from across the nation and the proof is in the winners,” said Susan Danis, Florida Grand Opera’s CEO and General Director. “Past finalists – such as Michael Fabiano, Nadine Sierra, and Elizabeth Caballero – have gone on to successful international careers, singing leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and more.”

Each of the 12 finalists will perform and compete for $46,000 in prizes, some of which include: the Senior Young Artist division (ages 26-30) grand prize of $8,000; the Junior Young Artist (ages 20-25) division grand prize of $7,500; the Troy Moss Memorial prize of $5,000; the Audience Favorite prize of $1,000, for which tickets buyers will have the chance to vote.

The judges for the 2013 competition include: Andrew Bisantz, music director of Eugene Opera and an American conductor with extensive credits leading national orchestras and opera companies throughout the country, most recently FGO’s Magic Flute; Gerald Martin Moore, pianist, conductor, and vocal coach who works with several notable singers, including Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, and Rolando Villazón; Maria Zouves, soprano, founder and director of V.O.I.C.Experience in Tampa, and associate director of Opera Tampa.

A luncheon prior to the event will be held at Barton G Restaurant onsite as chaired by Barbara Reese and Deborah Campbell. Tickets for the luncheon are $80, including both a three-course meal and a ticket to the concert. Luncheon tickets can also be purchased via the Florida Grand Opera Box Office.

Tickets are $25 for orchestra and $10 for mezzanine and above. Tickets may be purchased through the Florida Grand Opera ticket office at 800.741.1010 or www.FGO.org.

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