(New Orleans)—Loyola University New Orleans is proud to announce that Loyola alumna Cleona Torres is the recent winner of The 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Gulf Coast Region Finals. The competition was held on Sunday, March 4, in Loyola’s Roussel Performance Hall.
Torres, 22, was the youngest of the 11 participants in the auditions, which hailed from Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Judges for the competition included Gayletha Nichols, Metropolitan Opera judge and executive director of Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions; Stephen A. Brown, company manager of Metropolitan Opera, and Armen Guzelimian, noted vocal coach from Los Angeles, California.
Torres is a native of Kenner, Louisiana, and received a bachelor of music in vocal performance from Loyola in December 2006. After winning the auditions, Torres stated, “Being the youngest was a bit daunting. I entered into the competition because I thought it would be a good experience, but it happened to turn out even better then I expected.” This was Torres’ first visit to the Metropolitan Opera auditions. Loyola instructor of voice Dreux Montegut stated, “Cleona has been a stellar student and has a natural gift for singing. This is an affirmation of the potential she has.” Torres will next travel to New York on March 22 to compete in the semi-finals on the Metropolitan Opera stage.
The Metropolitan Opera National Council was founded in 1952. The purpose of the National Council Auditions Program is to find exceptionally talented opera singers, to assist in their development, to discover new talent for the metropolitan and other opera companies here and abroad, and to search for possible participants in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera Association.