Arts / Performing Arts

Houston’s More Sophisticated Version of The Voice — Opera Singers Win Coveted Prizes

Concert of Arias Wows Again

BY // 02.14.20

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. 

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