NEW ORLEANS – It’s a shot at the big time – an opera singer’s dream. The chance to perform on stage at one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
More than two dozen opera singers, whose careers are just beginning, got that chance at the Met’s “National Council Auditions” in New Orleans.
In two rounds of competition, first for singers in the New Orleans area and then for the Gulf Coast region, the singers performed at Loyola University’s Roussel Hall in front of judges who have years of experience.
For the rest of us, that would be nerve-wracking.
But Kameron Lopreore, a Loyola graduate, seemed perfectly at ease. In fact, he was eating at a sushi restaurant just an hour before his first audition. Lopreore laughs when he says that performing is just a “job” — one to try to get better at, without obsessing over it.
“The voice is an unpredictable and delicate instrument,” says Lopreore, who’s a tenor, “whether you wake up in ‘good’ voice or in ‘crummy’ voice, you to have to get up and do your job.”
For the first round of auditions, Lopreore sang “Povre Ernesto” from Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale.” His voice was strong and clear, impressing the judges.
“What we’re looking for is really good technical singing,” says Metropolitan Opera judge Melissa Wegner, “and really also who can change the room, who can change the temperature of what’s happening in the audience.. and is memorable by the end of the day.”
A local group called “Amici” (“New Orleans Friends of the Metropolitan Opera National Council”) supports and encourages the singers while they’re in New Orleans for the auditions. The local region includes singers from Puerto Rico and Mexico. At least one of the singers this year did not speak English, but could sing in the various languages of well-known operas.
In the end, Lopreore made it to the second round of auditions, but did not win a chance to sing at the Met. Still, there’s always next year.
“I’m super happy,” he said, “win, lose, or draw.”
You can here Lopreore sing on Sundays in the chorale at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, and in our story above.