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Opera auditions

A new year, for the Metropolitan Opera, means a new crop of fresh talent. The nation's premier opera company is holding auditions this week all across the country, open to singers between the ages of 20 and 30. The public is welcome to sit in.

Buffalo's District Auditions take place from 10 a.m. until approximately 6 p.m. Saturday in Nichols School's Flickinger Performing Arts Center. Singers from Buffalo, Rochester Syracuse, Toronto and Montreal will be displaying their skills before a panel of judges. Spectators are welcome.

The winner of Saturday's competition will go on to the Great Lakes Region Finals, which covers a wider area. It's Buffalo's turn this year to play host to the regional event, which is also open to the public. The Region Finals take place Sunday, also at the Flickinger Performing Arts Center. The competition begins at noon and is expected to last until between 3 and 4 p.m.

Admission is free. If you've never attended these auditions before, don't be shy. They're a lot of fun, with people penciling notes in their programs, conferring with neighbors during intermissions and ultimately seeing how their opinions compare with the judges'. Excitement is in the air. Opera is full of rags-to-riches stories, and there's always the chance you'll witness history in the making.

Winners of regional auditions advance to the National Auditions Semi-Finals and Grand Finals Concert, which take place at the Metropolitan Opera in March.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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