Lisa Chavez Wins Opera Columbus Vocal Competition

Lisa Chavez(Photo:
Lisa Chavez(Photo:

Lisa Chavez is a big voiced mezzo-soprano who chose barn chewing arias and chew then she did. Chavez won two awards at this weekend’s annual Irma M. Cooper Opera Columbus Vocal Competition. She earned first place and the audience favorite awards.

The California native came across as sincere, dedicated and unafraid to let go. Judges and competitions often distrust big voices. Don’t ask me why, because the world hungers for them. I knew in three notes this girl was something special.

It was a nice day in the Southern Theater yesterday. CAPA was the host. Bill Conner, the president of CAPA, was there in his jeans minus his Red Sox ball cap, which I stole from him.  The reconstituted Opera Columbus was well represented by Mr. Conner, hat or no hat and by Opera Columbus Manager, the wonderful Peggy Kriha Dye.

Irma Cooper’s spirit hovered helpfully. My recent blog post about Irma and the competition yielded lots of commentary and the memory of Irma arriving at her-alleged-80th birthday wearing leather pants.

I didn’t talk too much or too long. I let the singers sing. A tenor from Russia, two young baritones, a luscious soprano and Ms. Chavez. Again, I’m convinced it was not only her talent but her guts that put her first. Opera isn’t for the meek. Ask Irma, when you get to heaven.

Find out more about this year’s winner through her website