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Mario Rojas '17 Joins Ryan Opera Center

Tenor Mario Rojas (‘17) has been selected to join the highly prestigious and competitive Ryan Opera Center professional artist-development program at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, first established in 1974. During his 12-month residency, Rojas will perform and understudy numerous roles, collaborate with leading musicians, give concerts and recitals in the Chicago area, and receive advanced instruction in operatic performance.

With world-renowned faculty, including guest master artists Renée Fleming and Gerald Martin Moore, it’s no surprise that over 400 singers audition annually for the esteemed program, producing acclaimed artists such as Susanna Phillips.

“From the first time I heard Mario in Mexico City when he was seventeen years old, it was clear he possessed an extraordinary gift for singing,” comments César Ulloa, Rojas’s mentor at SFCM. “Having been recommended by Renée Fleming to audition for the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Mario went on to pass all the rounds of the competition and won a spot in the prestigious young artist program. This is a huge opportunity for Mario that no one can deny.”

“Today, I ask myself, ‘Where would I be if I had not come to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music?’” reflects Rojas. “It has been a path of hard work, dedication, and a lot of patience on my part. I know I could not have been better prepared to compete for a spot at the Ryan Opera Center without the preparation I have received at SFCM these past years with my teacher César Ulloa and the entire faculty. It has helped me tremendously to develop my skills as a musician, actor, and singer. These years at SFCM have surely helped me to believe in myself and to never stop growing as a musician, singer, and performer.”

A core part of the Lyric Opera’s mission is to “develop exceptional emerging operatic talent.” With the addition of Rojas and the other Ryan Opera Center Fellows, their commitment to advancing opera for the next generation of young artists stands as a testament to the longevity of the art form and a forward-thinking example for alike organizations.


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