At the American Opera Idol finale, Nadia Aguilar’15 performed Je veux vibre from the opera Romeo and Juliette by Charles Gounod and Glitter and be gay from the operetta Candide by Leonard Bernstein.
With a hundred people cheering in eager anticipation, the top 10 finalists in America’s Opera Idol 2016 competition nervously waited for the winner to be announced at Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, Conn. on July 14. When Nadia Aguilar’15 heard her name, she almost could not believe it.
“I did not think I was going to make it. It was so surreal,” says Aguilar, a native of Torreón, Mexico, who obtained her degree in vocal performance at the University of Hartford’s The Hartt School.
Just like the popular TV show American Idol, the 10 finalists went through a competitive process of auditions and were selected from among 60 singers from across the United States. On the final night, five finalists were selected by a panel of three opera professionals, then after a second performance, audience members voted by text to choose the American Opera Idol 2016. Cash prizes were awarded.
Opera Connecticut created the opera competition eight years ago with the purpose of celebrating the beauty of opera and exposing more people to the art form, says Doris Lang Kosloff, artistic director of the Connecticut Concert Opera. She is also the director of the vocal division at The Hartt School.
During the competition, Aguilar learned a lot about herself and advanced her opera skills. Without any requisites or an orchestra to direct her, she had to focus solely on her voice and body language. “The more I performed on stage, the more confident I became,” says Aguilar.
Aguilar also attributes her success to Maureen O’Flynn, voice professor at The Hartt School, who supported and guided her through the competition and her studies at The Hartt School.
“She always believed in me. She is a very good mentor,” says Aguilar. As an undergraduate, Aguilar had the opportunity to sing lead roles in opera productions at The Hartt School.
When it comes to setting the stage for her future career, she is certain that this experience will give her more opportunities. “Winning this competition makes me believe that I can go far and reach my dream of becoming a professional opera singer,” she says.