10th Annual Opera Idol Winner Selected

“I am honored to have won Opera Idol this year! Winning this competition gives me the opportunity to take part in VOICExperience. This training program will expand upon my experience as a performer and give me a chance to learn from incredible artists and teachers such as Sherill Milnes, the founder of the program, and my fellow aspiring opera singers taking part with me,” said Angela DeVenuto, the superbly talented soprano who, before a standing room only crowd, was selected as the 10th Annual Opera Idol on Friday, April 15th. The event was hosted by The Merion, a luxury senior living rental apartment community in Evanston.


The Opera Idol finale was the culmination of a vocal competition which drew aspiring opera singers from around the country. The non-profit organization VOICExperience was founded by acclaimed baritone Sherill Milnes and is directed by his wife, renowned soprano Maria Zouves. Sponsored, coordinated and hosted by The Merion, Opera Idol was developed to encourage budding opera stars in a format made famous by popular talent search television programs. An original pool of dozens of college and graduate students competed in a series of rounds, leading up to the April 15th finals.


“The talent and skill experienced during the final competition of Opera Idol at The Merion was incredible. Every singer had something special to offer on stage,” said DeVenuto.


Milnes conducted the finale in a Master Class format. As the winner, DeVenuto was awarded a $3000 scholarship, along with airfare, to a workshop directed by Milnes in Savannah, Georgia. The program, held in August, is part of the Savannah VOICE Festival, a non-profit arts organization that brings classical vocal excellence to the Savannah area through a two-week celebration of concerts, events and educational presentations during the month of August and throughout the year. The programs range from opera and classical music to musical theater and popular song, and offer accessible events to the public while highlighting the intrinsic value the vocal arts bring to the quality of life.


The beautiful Crystal Ballroom accommodated the audience, which included residents of The Merion, as well as performing arts aficionados from throughout the community. “I am humbled to have won this competition and so grateful for the opportunity it has given me. Being a young, aspiring opera singer is difficult not only because of the discipline required but because of the financial toll it can take on one’s bank account. Without this competition, I would not be able to take part in this wonderful program. A program which I’m sure will prove invaluable and that will help me get myself and my career to the next level,” said DeVenuto


On the flip side, the community appreciates having such high caliber performances at The Merion. “Music is such an important part of life at The Merion, and this event presents a unique and wonderfully talented group of young performers,” said Margaret Gergen, director of resident services at The Merion. “The residents are already getting excited about next year’s competition.”

As Seen in The Chicago Tribune