Yaritza Véliz Wins Major Prize from San Francisco Opera

By David Salazar

San Francisco Opera has announced the winner of its Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Emerging Stars Competition for 2023.

The organization revealed that Chilean soprano Yaritza Véliz took home the honor for her portrayal of Cartina in “El Último Sueño de Frida y Diego,” the company’s first Spanish-language opera commission. She received the award via popular vote online between July 11-August 4, 2023, and will take home a $10,000 cash prize.

“I’m delighted and honored to have been named the winner of the Emerging Stars Competition: thank you so much to everyone who voted! Congratulations to my fellow nominees, all of whom are exceptional artists and colleagues,” Véliz said in an official press statement issued by the company. “I would like to thank the whole team at San Francisco Opera: ‘El último sueño de Frida y Diego’ is a truly remarkable work, and I shall treasure this experience—and my time in your wonderful city —forever!”

Of her performance in the production, OperaWire’s Lois Silverstein stated that “Chilean soprano, Yaritza Véliz, made her house debut as Catrina, the Keeper of the Dead. She sang with compelling feeling and dramatic fervor. Her skeletal-designed costume and dramatic makeup intensified her vocal presence. Death was never far from the audience as she made her way on stage. We dared not forget this sharp and telling focus.”

In addition to her San Francisco Opera debut in 2023, Véliz has appeared with such companies as the Glyndebourne Festival, the Royal Opera House, and Komische Oper Berlin. She is set for debuts with the Bavarian State Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Norwegian National Opera, Lorraine Opera, and Rouen Opera. 

Véliz was one of 14 nominees, with others including Amina Edris, Deanna Breiwick, Michelle Bradley, Jake Ingbar, Aigul Akhmetshina, Evan LeRoy Johnson, Ben Bliss, Taylor Raven, Meigui Zhang, David Butt Philip, Gordon Bintner, and Jakub Jéosef Orlinski.