Student’s competition ends on a high note

Libby Nelson

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For Music senior Paul Corona, everything would depend on the next 12 minutes.

It was 3 p.m. Sunday, and Corona was about to go onstage at the New York Metropolitan Opera to perform two songs showcasing the results of a week of intensive coaching, four months of competition and four years of preparation.

Be sincere, he told himself. Be honest. Get across the meaning, the emotion in the songs.

Twelve minutes later, it was over. That evening, he won it all. The New York Metropolitan Opera named Corona one of five winners in its 2006 National Council Auditions, a competition to recognize the country’s best young opera singers. He was the only bass selected from nine finalists and an original pool of 19,000 to win $15,000 and national recognition.

“Getting up there and actually performing was the most difficult part,” Corona said. “I was thinking about just really saying the words and getting across the meaning and emotion – I wasn’t thinking about showing off or anything like that.”

Although the competition had stretched from the initial district auditions in November through regionals in Evanston and semi-finals in New York, Corona’s preparation started much earlier. He had been refining his technique since high school, preparing at Northwestern through lessons with voice Prof. Bruce Hall and practicing three to four hours a day.

“Paul’s dedication, talent and hard work throughout his four years at Northwestern exemplify the high standards of School of Music students,” Music Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery said in a press release.

The first aria, or operatic solo, that Corona sang, “La calunnia