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The ‘American Idol’ of opera returns to Fort Worth this weekend

Over 500 singers applied to compete in this year’s McCammon Voice Competition. The jury selected 10 finalists to perform in front of an audience in Fort Worth on Saturday, March 18.
Fort Worth Opera
Over 500 singers applied to compete in this year’s McCammon Voice Competition. The jury selected 10 finalists to perform in front of an audience in Fort Worth on Saturday, March 18.

The McCammon Voice Competition, also referred to as the “American Idol” of opera, returns to Fort Worth on March 18.

Ten rising stars in the opera world will compete in front of an audience at the W.E. Scott Theatre for a first-place prize of $15,000 and a future role in a main stage production with the Fort Worth Opera.

“My husband says he will watch any sports thing on TV as long as it’s like the grand championship or the finals or whatever it is, because it’s so interesting to see that heightened level of competition. And to me, that’s the McCammon,” said Angela Turner Wilson, Fort Worth Opera’s new general and artistic director. “You don’t have to know everything about opera… But everyone recognizes heightened levels of competition, people at their best going for it. And that’s what will happen at the McCammon.”

Fort Worth Report

Tickets: Start at $20. Find seats here.

The biennial competition has been around since 1985, but has been on hiatus since 2018 as the planned competition in 2020 was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Normally, the competition sees about 150 applicants, but this year the pool was over 500, Turner Wilson said.

The jury listened to all of the submissions packages online in a blind audition process, and whittled the finalists down to 10 contestants to perform in front of an audience in Fort Worth.

Dallas native Hilary Grace Taylor is one of the singers who will compete.

The opportunity to compete in the community that helped build and support her career is really special, Taylor said.

“From a really early age in my teen years, I just always knew that opera was where I was going to be,” she said. “It was never really a question of if I would do it. It was a question of when.”

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at marcheta.fornoff@fortworthreport.org or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.