Caribbean Lyric Festival: strengthening ties and bringing cultures closer together through music

The first edition will take place at 6.30 pm on Sunday 9 May – Europe Day – at the Eduardo Brito National Theatre in Santo Domingo and will be broadcast live on social networks.

festival lyrique 2021

This event is organized by the European Union Delegation and the Sinfonia Foundation with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic. Its aim is to stimulate young singers in the Caribbean region to have opera careers and to promote cultural exchanges in the region.

We are living in turbulent times for culture with the Covid-19 pandemic that devastates the entire world, preventing us from being able to celebrate cultural events in person. From the European Union, we want this Caribbean Lyrical Festival to be a celebration of culture in a virtual way, adapting to these times so that we can continue to strengthen ties and bring cultures closer together through music”, said Gianluca Grippa, the European Union’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

For her part, Carmen Heredia de Guerrero, the Caribbean island’s Minister of Culture, believes that “we are all aware that during this global Covid-19 pandemic, the arts sector has been hit particularly hard. I know that it has been difficult for many artists to stay motivated to continue pursuing their artistic dreams amid so much uncertainty. But I am sure that soon we will return to normalcy and that the arts will flourish again”.

In her message, Margarita Miranda-Mitrov, president of the Sinfonía Foundation, which was created in 1986, recalled that “historically, the Caribbean has produced outstanding internationally renowned voices, such as our national singer, the great baritone Eduardo Brito, tenors Francisco Casanova and Juan Cuevas and soprano Teresa Pérez-Frangie. From our neighbouring country, Puerto Rico, we honour the famous soprano Ana María Martínez and the legendary baritone Justino Díaz, who has performed in the world’s greatest theatres”.

Thus, Caribbean singers or foreign singers who have been living in the Caribbean for more than five years and who wanted to participate in this festival registered between January 29 and February 28, 2021 by sending their musical proposals (including a 10-15 minute video with, among others, an opera aria from the Italian, French or German repertoire) to the international jury composed of expert members in the field of lyrical singing.

116 male and female lyrical singers – born between May 10, 1981 and May 9, 2003 from the Bahamas, Cuba, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Haiti, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago – sent their application to the organizers. Given the success of this operation, the jury of experts decided to select 8 candidates instead of the 6 initially planned.

The announcement was made on March 15 and, from the following day until April 9, the candidates prepared the recital virtually.

This Sunday, May 9 – Europe Day – the first edition of the Caribbean Lyric Festival will take place and the lucky ones will perform before a jury made up of the famous Dominican soprano Teresa Pérez-Frangie, the artistic director and responsible for programming of La Coruña Opera Festival, the oldest in Spain (among other occupations), César Wonenburger, as well as Dominican lyrical singer Juan Cuevas.

List of singers selected to participate in the 1st Caribbean Lyric Festival

Joe Bertili (Bass-baritone, Guadeloupe) – Valérie Brutus (Soprano, Haiti) – Natalia Dopwell (Soprano, Trinidad and Tobago) – Marie-Laure Garnier (Soprano, French Guiana) – José Heredia (Tenor, Dominican Republic) – Hector Rodriguez (Tenor, Cuba), Frank Ledesma (Contratenor, Cuba) – Celia Sotomayor (Mezzo-soprano, Puerto Rico).