TENOR RENÉ BARBERA SWEEPS OPERALIA COMPETITION
For Immediate Release:
Monday, July 25, 2011
TENOR RENÉ BARBERA SWEEPS OPERALIA COMPETITION --
3RD-YEAR ENSEMBLE MEMBER WITH
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO’S RYAN OPERA CENTER
TRIUMPHS IN MOSCOW
American tenor René Barbera, a 3rd-year ensemble member of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, swept top honors at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia 2011 competition in Moscow on Sunday, July 24. The international competition is one of the most prestigious in the world.
Barbera, 27, won men’s first prize for opera ($30,000), men’s prize for Zarzuela ($10,000), and men’s audience-favorite prize (a Rolex watch). He is the first artist to solely receive all three prizes since the competition was founded in 1993. (South African soprano Pretty Yende also won the three top awards this year, but shared the zarzuela prize with another singer.)
Barbera, a Texas native, sang “Ah! mes amis” from Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment, in which he triumphed with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis just before departing for the Moscow competition. (The Chicago Tribune called Barbera “endearing as the ardent Tonio in Donizetti’s bel canto comedy; his plangent tenor nailed the nine high Cs of his aria effortlessly.”) At the Operalia competition Barbera also performed a zarzuela aria made popular by Domingo in the “Three Tenors” concerts, “No puede ser.”
This season at Lyric Barbera will portray Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos. He will also make company debuts with Vancouver Opera as Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville and with Canadian Opera Company as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi. Last season he appeared in Lyric Opera productions of Carmen, A Masked Ball, Girl of the Golden West, and Lohengrin.
For the third time, Barbera will be a featured artist in the annual “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park” free concert on Sept. 10. He is scheduled to return to Chicago this week to rehearse for the Ryan Opera Center concerts with the Grant Park Orchestra at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (Aug. 5-6).
Barbera won the 2008 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.