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Fostering Mexican Talent

San Miguel

MetOpera Trust.


Joan Mitchell


We’re changing lives.  We’re putting  young Mexican singers on the world stage where they belong .... and we are just beginning.  Please join us!

Our Talents



Efrain Corralejo

Efrain Corralejo, 26 years old, tenor, from Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, is currently studying for his degree in voice/opera in the Escuela superior de musica of the Instituto nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.  He has also studied piano and choral direction, served as chorus master in several Mexican venues, has performed in various cities in Mexico, and in 2018 completed the highly selective two-year opera workshop of Francisco Araiza.   He is currently a scholarship awardee in the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (FONCA). 


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Efrain was a winner in the first annual Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions held in Mexico, in November, 2018, which won him a slot in the Met’s Gulf Coast Region auditions.  There, in January of this year, he was recognized with an Encouragement Award

Gamaliel Reynoso

Gamaliel Reynoso, 29 years old, countertenor, from Toluca, Mexico, is a graduate of the Conservatorio nacional de musica in Mexico City, has studied and performed in many cities in Mexico, as well as in Spain, Italy, Brazil and the United States. He placed second in a world-wide countertenor competition in Havana, Cuba in 2016, placed fourth in the Opera San Miguel Concurso of 2017, placed second in the Gilda Morelli Competition in Mexico City in 2017 and in that year was also a finalist in the ninth International Lyrical Song competition in Ravello, Italy. 



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In January he was welcomed into the Opera Studio, a highly competitive young artist program of the Instituto nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.  In November, 2018 he was a prize winner in the first Mexico District auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council, which secured him a place in the Gulf Coast Region auditions of the MetOpera.  There he received an Encouragement Award and was invited to join the inaugural class of the International Baroque Academy in Bavaria, where he will study for the first two of August this year.


Yunuet Laguna

Soprano 25 years old from Zacatecas, Mexico. She began her musical education at the young age of 15 years old with Mtra. Georgina Carillo. After her 17 years, Yunuet moved to Mexico City to continue her studies at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música of Mexico,where she recently graduated under the tutelage of Tenor Alfredo Portilla.In 2015, she was semifinalist in the Carlo Morelli vocal competition and in 2018 she was named finalist in the Sinaloa International Singing Contest, where she won the Joshep McClaine San Miguel Institute of Bel Canto Award.


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She is the winner of the inaugural awards of the the Metropolitan Opera National Council of San Miguel, district of Mexico, and obtained the second place of the Awards of the National Council of MetropolitanOpera of the Gulf Region. In February 2019, she was a finalist and winner of the ;Ana María Martínez; scholarship in the Houston Grand Opera competition. Yunuet has been selected by the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program (TheMetropolitan) where she will continue her professional preparation in New York City,becoming the first Mexican Woman to enter this program.

Denis Velez


26 years old, soprano, from Puebla, Mexico, will receive her degree in voice/opera this year from the Escuela superior de musica of the Instituto nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.  She placed second in the Maritza Aleman Opera Competition, and in 2016 was presented the Antonio Hass Award at the Concurso internacional de canto in Sinaloa.  She is a member of the opera chorus of the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City and was a semi-finalist in the Gilda Morelli Competition in 2017.  In November, 2018, she was a prize winner in the first Mexico District auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council, which secured for her a place in the Gulf Coast Region auditions of the MetOpera. There she received an Encouragement Award.  She is currently a candidate for the Ryan Center young artist program of the Chicago Lyric Opera.


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Octavio Rivas

Octavio Rivas, tenor, music director

Originally from Torreon, Coahuila, Octavio Rivas debuted as Alfredo in Traviata in Princeton, NJ in 2016, appeared as Canio in Pagliacci at the Pitic Festival in Hermosillo, Sonora in 2018, and sang the role of Ismaele in Nabucco in the fall of 2018 in Regensburg, Germany.  He has sung successfully in many other venues, among them the Teatro Principal de Pueblo, Teatro Angela Peralta in San Miguel de Allende and Teatro Juarez in Guanajuato City.

He began his voice studies in Guadalajara under the tutelage of Maria Eugena Magana.  He continued his preparation in Mexico City at the Escuela Superior de Musica, studied with Sharon Sweet at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, and is currently studying with Maestro Rogelio Riojas-Nolasco in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.


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He has been a finalist and award winner in the most prestigious opera competitions nationally, including the Concurso Nacional de Canto Carlo Morell and the Opera San Miguel Concurso, and internationally, including the Concurso Zandonai in Riva del Garda, Italy.   He has taken master classes with distinguished national and international opera singers, including Javier Camarena, Maureen O’Flynn, Paul Plishka, among others.


Vanesa Jara

Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, MX, Vanessa began her musical studies at the age of 16 and at the age of 23 performed the main role in the opera L’enfant et les Sortileges in the Teatro Degollado.  She was Cherubino in Le Nozze de Figaro in Oaxaca’s Macedonio Alcala theatre in 2015.  In 2017 she was a finalist in the prestigious Concurso Carlo Morelli as well as in the San Luis Potosi opera festival contest.  In addition, she has been a prize winner in the Concurso de Opera de San Miguel de Allende and in the Sinaloa International Singing Competition.  In November, 2018 she received an Encouragement Award in the first Mexico District auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council.   


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AUG 22


opening event





About Us

8 de noviembre de 2018

The Metropolitan Opera in NYC been aware for many, many years of the depth of opera talent that exists in Mexico and has wanted an audition site in this country.  As long as 15 years ago, approaches were made to contacts in Mexico City and then also in Monterrey.  In both cases there was considerable enthusiasm but no follow-up occurred.


In 2014 a retired MetOpera tenor, Michael Sylvester, was invited to San Miguel to join the panel of judges for the Opera San Miguel (OSM) Concurso. Before that date he knew nothing of opera in Mexico.  His experience in 2014 was his awakening, then inspiring him to create the San Miguel Instituto de Bel Canto, a month-long opera training experience for young Mexican opera singers, which just celebrated its fifth anniversary in July, 2019.  In 2017 Maestro Sylvester saw the potential for San Miguel de Allende to become the location the Metropolitan Opera had long been seeking for Mexico auditions, for two reasons:

  • 1) because of the OSM Concurso, the Bel Canto Institute and a 7-year history of annual opera performances produced by Pro Musica SMA, San Miguel was becoming a nexus of energy for opera in Mexico, and

  • 2) because of the ex-pat community in SMA, the organizational expertise and potential for financial support could make the auditions a successful enterprise.  Maestro Sylvester also had the necessary connections to the MetOpera leadership in NYC, and so in October, 2017, the Comité de organizacion, chaired by Sra. Joan Mitchell, was formed in San Miguel de Allende, and the first auditions took place on November 8, 2018.


Joan M. Mitchell


  • Co-Director, Metropolitan Opera National Council (MONC)Mexico District and President, San Miguel MetOpera Trust

Retired to San Miguel de Allende, GTO, seven years ago after a distinguished professional career as a language professor, higher education administrator and fundraising executive.  She holds a B.A. degree in French from Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA and graduate degrees in French, education, and information science from Harvard University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Daniel Edwin Wiley

People Who Make This Happen

Luisa Suárez

Rafael Sámano

Michael Sylvester

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