Since its debut in 1985, the McCammon Voice Competition has grown into one of the world's most important operatic events. Every two years the contest showcases the most compelling young singers of our time.
McCammon winners are immediately catapulted into the operatic "big time," and now enjoy stellar careers with major opera companies around the world, including New York’s Metropolitan Opera and Opera National de Paris. We even boast 2011 Grammy Award winner Richard Paul Fink and 2012 Grammy nominee Ava Pine as past McCammon winners. In addition to prize money, many McCammon competitors are also offered roles right here at home with the acclaimed Fort Worth Opera Festival.
In other words, the McCammon Voice Competition is the American Idol of opera! Don't miss this opportunity to encounter tomorrow's opera mega-stars.
“Opera is an extraordinary place where the singer takes oneself. In that place, from within, the singer has
to express oneself in sound, in emotion, in movement, in passion."
- Rose Marie Mercado, 2003 McCammon Chair
Whether you are new to opera or an opera lover, the McCammon Voice Competition and Recital Series offer a unique way to experience the passion, drama, intrigue, power, and intensity of this greatest of art forms performed by tomorrow’s stars in today’s world of exciting opera.
Come see, hear, and let yourself be moved by the rising stars of opera singing opera’s greatest hits at the McCammon Voice Competition.
History of the McCammon Voice Competition
In 1969, Mrs. George W. Armstrong of Natchez, Mississippi gave $5,000 to the Opera Guild of Fort Worth in honor of her favorite niece. That niece was Marguerite McCammon, a woman who had been president of the Opera Guild in 1963 and 1964, and who had served on the board of the Fort Worth Opera Association.
The Guild used that gift to found a permanent scholarship fund for talented voice students and to support the unpaid members of the Fort Worth Opera chorus.
In 1983, Mrs. McCammon recognized that young singers at the beginning of their careers needed financial support. She donated $30,000 to the Opera Guild with the understanding that the funds were to be used to launch a voice competition that would help young singers advance their operatic careers. Thus, the biennial Marguerite McCammon Voice Competition was established.
The first three competitions, 1985, 1987 and 1989, were open only to Texas residents or to students attending a Texas university or studio. But for the 1991 competition, the “Texas Connection” was eliminated and invitations to compete were distributed internationally to any young singer pursuing a career in opera.
In the early years, the first prize was a modest $1,000, but young singers worldwide realized that the McCammon offered a priceless opportunity to be recognized throughout the international opera community. Competition was vigorous and it remains so today, as evidenced by the universal success of McCammon singers.
Fort Worth, Texas, the host city for the McCammon, is a unique community. While it honors a western, frontier heritage, the city also gives strong support to the arts. Fort Worth is the home of world-class museums, of a noted symphony orchestra and is the host of the famed Van Cliburn Piano Competition. The McCammon continues that tradition. Competitors are treated to the warmth of western hospitality along with the enthusiastic appreciation of sophisticated audiences.
Every two years the community makes a major effort to assure the McCammon is a success and to welcome the competitors. The local print news media, led by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Indulge magazine, are generous sponsors. Texas Christian University provides rehearsal space. The Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau provides special gift packages. The city and its mayor issue letters and proclamations welcoming and honoring the singers. Volunteers devote hours to the comfort and support of the competitors, the judges and the accompanists. Unlike many musical competitions, the McCammon committee provides funds to participants for transportation, meals and housing.
In 2001, when Darren K. Woods became General Director of the Fort Worth Opera, he made the support and promotion of young singers a primary focus. As a result, the Fort Worth Opera supports the McCammon in many ways: office space, ticket sales, selecting and securing expert judges and general help from the Opera staff.
Proceeds from the 1983 founding donation by Marguerite McCammon are still supporting the competition, but much of the funding comes from generous donations by a community of local and international opera lovers. The McCammon Voice Competition receives tax-deductible contributions through the tax-exempt status of the Opera Guild of Fort Worth.
Today, the McCammon Voice Competition is recognized internationally as one of the most important operatic opportunities for young singers. It continues to thrive and to attract highly talented competitors from around the world.
Marguerite McCammon would be proud of the event that bears her name and of the effort put forth to fulfill the stated mission of the competition: “To foster the talents and careers of emerging young singers by providing an internationally acclaimed and recognized voice competition.”