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Opera Connecticut Names "American Opera Idol 2017"

Five Super Finalists including (second from right) Winner Andrés Moreno García; and (right) Doris Lang Kosloff, Opera Connecticut's Artistic Director (Posted by Laura Soll, Community Contributor)

By Community Contributor Laura Soll

Tenor Andrés Moreno García of Monterrey, Mexico, has been judged to be Opera Connecticut's "American Opera Idol 2017." The live competition for opera singers between ages 14 to 54 took place on July 20 before a sold-out audience at Elizabeth Park's Pond House Café.

Nearly 60 opera singers from around the world entered the competition, submitting videos of two or more of their contrasting arias. Ten (10) Finalists were chosen to perform at the competition where they were judged by a panel of three opera professionals: International tenor Bob Brubaker; International soprano Lynne Strow Piccolo; and Opera Musical Conductor and Opera Orlando's Vice President of Development Chevalier Lovett. In the Preliminary Round, each of the 10 Finalists sang an aria, and the judges selected five Super Finalists. After the Super Finalists performed, audience members voted by text and chose Mr. Moreno García as "American Opera Idol 2017". As the top winner, he was awarded the title and $1,500 in cash.

Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Andrés Moreno García is an award-winning tenor who has performed in Italy, the U.S., Mexico and Israel, among other countries. A scholarship recipient from the Liz Mohn Kultur- und Musikstiftung, he is joining the prestigious Internationales Opernstudio der Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin, Germany for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. He holds an undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance from the Hartt School of Music and a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music. 

"I am very proud of the talent that our Artistic Director, Doris Lang Kosloff, presented at the Pond House Café," says Rowna Sutin, the newly elected President of Opera Connecticut. "Already very professional at their young ages, these finalists sang their collective hearts out and the audience was the real winner."

"Opera Connecticut's 'American Opera Idol' showcases the talent of tremendously gifted rising singers who present our event's audience with impressive performances," explains Doris Lang Kosloff, the Artistic Director of Opera Connecticut. "Over the past eight years, many of the competition's finalists have moved on to successful operatic careers and we are very pleased to have provided them with this type of public, creative platform."

The 10 Finalists (in alphabetical order) were:
- Stefan Barner (tenor) of Oskaloosa, Iowa and Boston, Mass.;
- SUPER FINALIST Kelly Curtin (soprano) of Wilmington, Del. and Alexandria, Va.;
- TOP WINNER Andrés Moreno García (tenor) of Monterrey, Mexico and Berlin, Germany;
- Benedetta Orsi (mezzo soprano) of Bologna, Italy and Manhattan, NY;
- SUPER FINALIST Kaarin Phelps (mezzo soprano) of Ashburnham, Mass. and Houston, Texas;
- SUPER FINALIST Yulan Piao (soprano) of China and Manhattan, NY;
- SUPER FINALIST Timothy Renner (baritone) of Woodbridge, Va. and Philadelphia, Pa.;
- Joseph Ryan (baritone) of Cincinnati, Ohio and Sarasota, Fla.; 
- Rachele Schmiege (soprano) of Kalamazoo, Mich. and Boston, Mass.; and
- Brent Reilly Turner (tenor) of Singapore and Oviedo, Fla.

Looking ahead: On Friday, October 27 and Sunday, October 29, 2017, Opera Connecticut will present "Rigoletto" by Giuseppe Verdi. The production will star baritone Nelson Martinez, a Metropolitan Opera Artist and tenor Ta'u Pupu'a, a former National Football League (NFL) lineman. The performances will be at the company's home theater, the Hoffman Auditorium in the Carol Autorino Center for the Arts at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford. Tickets are available now on or call Showclix at 888-718-4253.

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