UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — Trying to make it as an opera singer is a hugely expensive gamble. It takes talent, grit and lots of money. Some rising stars in the opera world just got some much-needed financial help.

It’s the America’s Got Talent competition for the opera world. For the first time, the Giulio Gari Foundation winners concert was held at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church on the Upper West Side.

The first-place winner, who received a $10,000 award, was Key’mon Murrah.

“It will allow me to focus on the music and not worry about anything else that comes with the career of opera,” Murray, a countertenor, told PIX11 News. “Opera is a very expensive business.”

The Giulio Gari Foundation was named after the internationally known tenor who performed at the Metropolitan and New York City Operas.

Since 2003, his widow, Gloria, has been holding competitions for young classical singers.

“I see many young singers who need help,” Gloria Gari, the widow, told PIX11 News. “We need to be encouraging them, and they need money to study with.”

In all, 178 singers worldwide competed, and the winners performed at Blessed Sacrament.

Younggwang Park, a bass, won the encouragement award, and Chanae Curtis won a $1500 grant.

“It is such a game changer for me,” Curtis told PIX11 News. “It’s really helpful for prepping for roles and travel. Makes it so much smoother.”

For more information about the competition, visit GiulioGari.org.