On Sunday, September 18th, 2011, eleven of the fiercest opera hopefuls from around the world will be competing in a live concert at Merkin Hall in New York for one of the most prestigious titles of the year: Winner of Opera Idol! First Place, determined by the judge panel, will be crowned “Opera Idol” and receive a Grand Prize of $1000 while second place will be chosen by the audience and will receive a cash prize of $500. The judges will have their hands full with this cutting-edge competition, especially since every single one of the vocalists competing for first place is a phenomenally gifted singer. Many of the competing vocalists have well-developed Opera careers and have performed around the world for numerous years. Each participant will sing one aria, selected from legendary Operas such as Carmen, La Boheme, Eugene Onegin, The Magic Flute, and more.
Opera Idol will be hosted by co-founder of Arkadi Foundation, Ronit Ashirov. Ashirov and Peer are the grandchildren of Arkadi Namatiev who was himself a Baritone Opera singer.
Arkadi was born in Soviet Union in 1914 and died in 1989 in Israel. He was the father of five children. He performed in the opera house of Tajikistan in a variety of operas including Aida, Figaro, La Boheme, and many more. In 1973 Arkadi immigrated to Tel Aviv, Israel and became one of the most well-known cantors in the country. The inheritance of his talent was evident when several of his children became concert pianists and especially when young Michael Peer turned to Opera himself winning many prestigious awards and ultimately founding the Arkadi foundation that assists in developing young Operatic talent. The proceeds from Opera Idol will be contributed to Schneider Hospital in Israel known today as Cohen’s Children Hospital and will benefit the oncology department that assists with the fight against cancer.
On the judges panel will be Mark Oswald, world-renowned Metropolitan Opera House singer, Philharmonic Hall & Broadway Conductor, as well as special honorary judge Ziva Namatiev, daughter of Arkadi Namatiev, who will be arriving especially from Israel to serve as judge at the event.
Accompanying the competing vocalists on stage will be the extraordinary pianist and Metropolitan Opera House coach, Yelena Kurdina. During the second part of the concert, Michael Peer, Bass-Baritone, concert soloist and opera singer will sing in a cross-over musical style. In addition, Peer will premiere a special song that was recently written for him by Tomer Hadadi and will be released shortly on his first album. Peer will also present an array of additional musical numbers such as “Hallelujah” written by Leonard Cohen and many other favorites.