Singers show off their pipes during ‘American Opera Idol 2016’

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WEST HARTFORD -- Remember 'American Idol?' With Fradiani Fever, how could you forget! Ten singers competed in West Hartford Thursday night, and the winner was determined the same way - first by judges, then by audience vote. But, this competition was a little different.

"We kind of lifted a model from the TV show American Idol, and made it American Opera Idol," said John Wadhams, President of Opera Connecticut. "Why is it important to celebrate opera? Well it's certainly a part of our historical culture."

The event celebrates the beauty of opera, the hard work of the artists, and introduces the art form to a wider audience. John Riessen is a tenor who sang in the competition. He says it's important to make opera accessible, and show people what it actually is, and what it is not.

"What it's become today is something old people do, or something rich people do, or something that you have to be in a tux for," said Riessen. "You can enjoy opera at home, I think you could enjoy opera in your pajamas. I think you can enjoy opera if you had no money. And I think you'd enjoy opera if you had lots of money."

Nadia Aguilar Regaldo, a soprano who lives in Hartford, but is from Torreon, Mexico, won the competition. Incidentally, she will be performing in Opera Connecticut's production of Hansel and Gretel, on November 4 and November 6. The performances will be at the Hoffman Auditorium, in the Carol Autorino Center for the Arts, at the University of Saint Joseph, in West Hartford. Click here for information on tickets.