Chilean opera singer wows in Europe

Mezzo-soprano Maria Isabel Vera impressed audiences in Greece with her interpretation of composer Mikis Theodorakis’ seminal work.

Chile’s Maria Isabel Vera on stage in Athens earlier this year. Photo via Athens Concert Hall / Facebook
Chile’s Maria Isabel Vera on stage in Athens earlier this year. Photo via Athens Concert Hall / Facebook

A rising star on the international opera stage, Chilean mezzo-soprano Maria Isabel Vera has taken the world by storm.

A Santiago native, Vera’s latest performance was held in March at the beautiful Athens Concert Hall in Greece. Fittingly, one of the pieces she was interpreting from famed Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis was inspired by a fellow Chilean — Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda.

The piece, “Canto General,” was first completed 40 years ago and was being highlighted as a celebration of the 110th anniversary of the birth of the acclaimed poet. The performance also featured maestro Loukas Karytinos leading a 15-member orchestra, baritone Haris Andrianos and pianist Tatiana Papageorgiou.

Vera’s second performance was an interpretation of the composer’s work “Romancero Gitano,” a piece that incorporates poetry from Spain’s Federico Garcia Lorca.

This concert was just the latest in a string of massive performances at renowned concert halls such as the New York Met, the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. The Chilean native, of course, first debuted at the Teatro Municipal in her home, Santiago, with striking performances of Fenena and Eboli in Verdi’s “Nabucco” and “Don Carlos,” respectively, among others.

Vera broke onto the international stage in 2007 when she represented Chile at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, reaching the finals. From there she took a place at the renowned Juilliard Opera Center program in New York City.

In addition to world-class performers, one of Chile’s best directors is set to take on opera this year. Filmmaker Pablo Larraín is conducting a rendition of the Russian opera Káta Kabanová at the Teatro Municipal in Santiago. Other productions on the hallowed stage this year include Othello and Lakmé. For full details visit the theater’s website.