Young opera singers set for competition

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Opera lovers are invited to enjoy the finals of Denver Lyric Opera Guild's Competition for Young Singers from 1 to 5 p.m. March 16 at Bethany Lutheran Church, 4500 E. Hampden Ave. in Cherry Hills Village.

Admission is free and finalists from the March 2 preliminaries will compete for recognition and cash awards totaling $34,240. Prizes range from $250 to $6,000, given to 10 finalists and five honorable mention finalists.

The competitors range in age from 23 to 32 and come from training programs at Colorado State University, Metropolitan State University, University of Colorado, University of Denver, University of Northern Colorado, as well as the Central City Opera House artist training program, Opera Colorado Young Artists, Opera Fort Collins and Opera Theatre of the Rockies young artists' ensemble. In 2012, grants totaling $30,000 were awarded by the Guild to these schools and organizations.

Among the semi-finalists were Highlands Ranch soprano Phoenix Gayles and Tom Kittle of Centennial, a student at Lamont School of Music. Jane Gibson, the DLOG publicist, estimated that a young opera singer's education costs about $300,000, so these awards are truly helpful.

Guild literature calculates that the organization has contributed over $1 million to the next generations of young, aspiring opera singers. “Giving Voice to Opera” is the Guild's appropriate motto.

The Guild also hosts “Opera on Tuesdays” luncheons for its approximately 250 members during the year. (About 64 live in Arapahoe County and 14 in Douglas County.)

Luncheons are held at various country clubs and offer a musical program and lunch. A Black Tie Gala in early spring helps raise money for the competition awards and local and regional opera tours are planned.

Luncheon tickets cost $30 or $35, which helps to pay for the singers' lunch.

On April 2, for example, the Competition award winners will perform at Pinehurst Country Club ($35). Reservation checks to DLOG, P.O. Box 339, Englewood, CO 80151, must be received by March 28. The May 7 meeting will be at Columbine Country Club in Littleton, with a $30 reservation due by May 2. Opera Ft. Collins apprentice artists will perform.

New members are welcome ($40). For information, call 720-239-3120 or visit denverlyricoperaguild.org.

If you go

The Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition for Young Singers finals will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. March 16 at Bethany Lutheran Church, 4500 E. Hampden Ave., Cherry Hills Village. Admission is free.