On December 4th, the Palm Springs Opera Guild held its annual vocal competition.  First prize was won by senior Anush Avetisyan, with the following program:

1) Quando m'en vo  - La Boheme - Puccini

2) Se come voi         - Le Villi       - Puccini

More information will soon be posted on the competition website at:



There were 120 singers who auditioned, 10 were selected as finalist and who competed with 2 arias each on December 4th in Palm Springs. The top prize was $5,000 and a chance to sing in "Opera in the Park" and in Outreach events for youth.

Avetisyan competed against singers who have been finalists and winners of the Western Regional Metropolitan Opera competition,  and who have attended universities such as Julliard, Rice, and San Francisco Conservatory and she says that she felt very lucky to be among them in the top ten. She reports that she had no expectations of placing but had one goal of making music and doing justice to the art of Puccini and Opera. She says that it was one of the best nights of her life and one that she will never forget; also that she could not have done it without the continuous support of so many UCLA professors such as, Mona Lands ( the competition accompanist), Rakefet Hak, Vladimir Chernov, Peter Kazaras, and Donald Neuen, all of whom have always supported and educated her.

In addition, as icing on the cake, it should be noted that other UCLA students and graduates placed in the top five--these included Joshua Guerrero, Nicholas Zammit (UCLA Alumnus). Nick LaGesse, a masters student, was also in the finals, and Brian Vu, though not in the finals,  was awarded a special honorable mention and sang at the final event.

 The photos of the competition are posted on this website below.

 While Singing



 Top 5


Top 5 with Board Members/ Judges