This international contest was founded by Placido Domingo in 1993 and is one of the world’s most prestigious vocal competitions. René, an American hailing from Texas, is a third year ensemble member with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center.
Barbera, who is 27, won the men's first prize for opera, men's prize for zarzuela, and the “audience favorite” prize (a Rolex watch). He is the first artist to solely receive all three prizes in the history of the competition. He sang “Ah! mes amis” from Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment, in which he scored a great success with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis just before departing for the Moscow competition.
This season at The Lyric Opera Barbera will portray Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos. He is making his Vancouver Opera debut singing Count Almaviva in Barbiere, and will make his Canadian Opera Company debut this season as well, as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi
Barbera also won the 2008 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.