Patrick Summers, Ana Maria Martinez, first place winner Sun-Ly Pierce, Tamara Wilson, and Perryn Leech (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Concert of Arias chairs Laura & Brad McWilliams (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Betty & Jess Tutor (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Libbie Masterson, Mariquita Masterson (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Bill Gutknecht & Christine Falgout-Gutknecht (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Brooke Gunst, Isabel David (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Judy & Richard Agee, Ana Maria Martinez, Gabriel Attal (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Marshall Heins & Christina Stith (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Drs. Vivek & Ishwaria Subbiah (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Staman & Beverly Ogilvie (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Amy & Dr. Stephen King (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Denmon Sigler, Myrtle Jones, Shalando Smith (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Cynthia & Tony Petrello (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Dian & Harlan Stai (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Sam & Melinda Stubbs (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Ryan Manser, Emily Bovina (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Rebecca Rabinow & Matt Ringel (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Jim & Molly Crownover (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Jan Barrow, 'Aida' star Tamara Wilson (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Elizabeth & Richard Husseini (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Philip & Denise Bahr (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Penny Wright, Anna Dean, Melanie Jarrell, Danielle Ellis (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Wortham Theater Center Grand Foyer set for the Concert of Arias Celebration dinner (Photo by Alida Bonifaz)
As opera enthusiasts cast their votes for the Audience Choice Award in Houston Grand Opera’s annual Concert of Arias, the professional judges contemplated who would win the coveted $10,000 award and a slot in the HGO Studio.
For opera fans, this is one of HGO‘s greatest evenings — a culturally sophisticated version, perhaps, of The Voice when eight top notch singers, culled from an original field of more than 600, sing their hearts out for fame and fortune.
Would it be hometown talent Angel Romero belting out high C’s or the powerful mezzo-soprano Sun-ly Pierce who would take the prize? Or perhaps it was the equally compelling voice of bass Cory McGee?
The chorus of 1,100 in Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater tapped Romero as their fave while the judges — HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers, HGO Managing Director Perryn Leech, HGO Artistic Advisor Ana María Martínez, and special guest judge Tamara Wilson — awarded Romero third place honors and a check for $3,000.
Taking home the first place prize was Pierce while McGee earned the second place prize of $5,000.
The night of music included two arias from each of the contestants and a rousing piece from Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta! that featured all nine of the current HGO Studio artists.
Applause, applause for all. There was time for plenty of that when 575 patrons and the contestants moved to the Grand Foyer for a seated dinner that began with the gala-attired contestants taking bows on a balcony above the foyer floor.
The black-tie optional evening, chaired by Laura and Brad McWilliams, raised more than $660,000 for HGO Studio, which is one of the most highly regarded young artists programs in the country.
PC Seen: Glen Rosenbaum, Beverly and Staman Ogilvie, Kathy and Richard Stout, Mariquita Masterson, Libbie Masterson, Molly and Jim Crownover, Jane Cizik, Rebecca Rabinow and Matt Ringel, Linda and Willie Chiang, Anna Dean, Judy and Dick Agee, Drs. Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah, Christine Falgout and Bill Gutknecht, Drs. Rachel and Warren Ellsworth, and Jo Dee and Cliff Wright.