Rafael Moras, UTSA senior, recently tied for first in the 51st Annual Metropolitan Opera Southwest region auditions and is now training for the semifinals in New York which take place the first week of March.
This is a national competition where thousands of people, between the age 20-30, auditioned out only 20 are selected for the semifinals. Being selected is not his only accomplishment; he has a resume full of accomplishments that include being one of the few selected for the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts talent search for young artists, where he was flown to Miami for a week to be trained by prestigious professionals. He has performed in two musicals in high school, the Kennedy Center, with his hero Placido Domingo as well as three opera roles at UTSA and many more.
“If Placio Domingo doesn’t [have an egotistical attitude], then there’s no reason I should. I want to have as much vigor, passion and sincerity as people like Placio Domingo has, as people like my dad have,” Moras said.
He gives the credit for his talent and love for such an unusual style of music to his family.
With his father teaching him the accordion since he was a child and his mother finding her inspiration for painting from all genre’s of music, he was inclined to like any kind of music. But it was “Zarzuela,” a Spanish opera that introduced and intrigued him to opera.
“I have parents that aren’t like stage moms or dads. Their thing was always do what you love. Be smart about it, have integrity, discern. We’re not going to push you to do anything. We’re going to encourage you and all we ask you to do is do it with integrity and do it with enthusiasm,” he said.
It wasn’t long after this that he began taking voice lessons and eventually was introduced to Dr. Diana Allen, his current teacher/mentor who he says “has gotten me to where I am today.”
Allen pushed him to trying out for the Metropolitan Opera.
Moras said that at UTSA he feels he’s “not only a number but part of a family.” When he refers to his family as a support system, he not only is referring to his mom and dad, but Dr. Allen and all his coaches in the music department as well.
Moras has overcome many obstacles in his life. He was born with Hydrocephalic (water in the brain) and was expected to live a life of a quadrapaledric. He overcame these challeneges.
Spiderman, another one of Rafael’s heroes, said, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Moras firmly lives by this. He said he knows the audience can tell when an opera singer isn’t being completely sincere. If they aren’t truly feeling love or sadness inside and portraying it across in song, the audience won’t feel it either, he said.
“I pour out my whole heart, body and soul onto the stage,” he said. Look him up on Youtube and you will evidently see this. It is a fact that an opera singer exerts as much energy throughout a performance as a football player does through an entire game, and Moras is clearly not a bench warmer.
His finals with the Metropolitan Opera will be aired on NPR, National Public Radio, the 2nd week of March.