Young professional singers will be accompanied by the organization’s master instructors, soprano Verónica Villarroel and tenor Francisco Casanova, both world-renowned performers at the Metropolitan Opera.
Also taking the stage will be master instructor Pablo Zinger, a pianist and conductor. The program will include works from Mozart, Puccini, Gaetano Donizetti, Federico Moreno Torroba, and Rodgers & Hammerstein.
Villarroel, a native of Chile, is the winner of the Pavarotti Competition and the Plácido Domingo Award. Casanova of the Dominican Republic is the first non-Italian singer to receive the Beniamino Gigli d’Oro.
Uruguayan-born pianist, composer, and arranger Zinger accompanied Plácido Domingo at Washington’s Constitution Hall, conducted the Bronx Arts Ensemble with jazz greats Tito Puente and Dave Valentin, and has been called “The King of Zarzuela” by Opera News magazine.
Canto de las Américas was launched in August 2015 under the sponsorship of Belle Arti Center for the Arts at 108-10 72nd Avenue, which itself opened in Forest Hills in 2007.
“Students come to study from around the world, including Australia, France, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, and across the United States,” said executive director Claudette Munné, who is also a co-founder of Belle Arti Center for the Arts and board member of the Queens Symphony Orchestra. “This is the only organization of its kind in Queens.”
Students are given a unique opportunity to work one-on-one with internationally acclaimed musicians. The program builds a bond with each student to offer a personalized experience and discover their needs.
“Our group of professionals has the expertise and the human touch to bring out the best of our students,” Munné said. “We aim to provide tools and empower and support them in their quest to discover their optimal vocal selves, and to conquer the tricky summits of technique, style, and vocal wisdom.
“A nurturing environment will allow them to feel relaxed enough in order to make mistakes,” she added. “In the complex trial-and-error way of vocal enlightenment, those mistakes are essential stepping stones towards taking control of their voices.”
Munné and her colleagues aim to enrich lives in various communities across the tristate area, with a particular emphasis on Queens. Next spring, the group will partner with the Queens Symphony Orchestra for a performance.
“My vision is the collaboration between Canto de las Américas and the Queens Symphony Orchestra, which is in dire need of a permanent home,” she said. “In the long term, we aim to build Canto de las Américas into a major international music festival.”