Nine Young Opera Singers Advance to the Final Round of
America’s Most Prestigious Vocal Competition,
the Met’s National Council Auditions
The final phase of competition is a live public concert held this
Sunday, April 29, on the Met stage;
winners will receive individual cash prizes of $15,000 and
New York, NY (April 22, 2018) – Following today’s highly competitive semi-final competition, nine young singers will advance to the final phase of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2018 National Council Auditions, America’s most prestigious vocal competition. The selected finalists, chosen by a panel of experts from the classical music industry, will compete on the Met stage on Sunday, April 29 at 3 p.m. The winners will receive individual cash prizes of $15,000 and the prestigious—and potentially career-launching—title of National Council Auditions Winner. The Grand Finals Concert will be hosted by Joyce DiDonato, who will perform during the judges’ deliberations. The finalists will sing two arias, with Bertrand de Billy conducting the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
The 2018 finalists, the regions they represent in the competition, and their hometowns are: Danielle Beckvermit, 25, soprano (Eastern Region: Kingston, NY); Jessica Faselt, 25, soprano (Upper Midwest Region: Iowa City, IA); Madison Leonard, 26, soprano (Middle Atlantic Region: Coeur d’Alene, ID); Emily Misch, 28, soprano (Eastern Region: Santa Monica, CA); Ashley Dixon,26, mezzo-soprano (Northwest Region: Peachtree, GA); Megan Grey, 24, mezzo-soprano (Upper Midwest Region: Cedar Falls, IA); Gretchen Krupp, 25, mezzo-soprano (Central Region: Manassas, VA); Hongni Wu, 23, mezzo-soprano (Eastern Region: Jingdezhen, China); and Carlos Santelli, 26, tenor (Western Region: Orlando, FL) round out the list of contestants competing on Sunday.
Full bios of each singer are below.
Tickets for the Grand Finals Concert may be purchased at the Met Box Office, by phone at 212-362-6000, or online at metopera.org.
The Met Auditions, currently in their 64th year, are a major stepping stone to a career as an opera opera. Over 100 singers on the Met roster this season have participated in the Auditions, which were crucial in introducing many of today’s best-known stars, such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt, Lawrence Brownlee, Thomas Hampson, Eric Owens, Angela Meade, Nadine Sierra, Jamie Barton, and Ryan Speedo Green.
The finalists were chosen from nearly 1,000 singers who participated in auditions held in 40 districts and 12 regions throughout the United States and Canada, sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council and administered by National Council members and hundreds of volunteers from across the country. Given the reach of the auditions, the number of applicants, and the program’s long tradition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are considered the most prestigious in North America for singers seeking to launch an operatic career.
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Full Bios – 2018 National Council Finalists
SOPRANO (Kingston, NY)
Soprano Danielle Beckvermit is a Professional Studies student at Mannes The New School for Music in Manhattan where she developed a strong affinity for new music. She previously received her Master’s Degree from Mannes in 2017 and a Bachelor’s Degree in Voice from SUNY Fredonia in 2015. She has sung with several festivals including Charlottesville Opera, Chautauqua Festival, SongFest and Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. Danielle has been recognized in several competitions including The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as an encouragement award winner and regional finalist, a finalist and award winner in The George London Foundation Competition, first place winner in The Classical Singer Online Competition and was also the first prize winner in the Civic Morning Musicals Competition in 2017. Danielle will be joining Minnesota Opera as a Resident Artist for the 2018-19 year. Eastern Region
MEZZO-SOPRANO (Peachtree, GA)
Ashley Dixon, mezzo-soprano, is in her first year of the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship program. In the upcoming season, she will be covering the role of Sara, Duchess of Nottingham in Roberto Devereux and will be making her main stage debut in Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life as the alto soloist in the angel quartet. In the summer of 2017 Ms. Dixon sang the role of Popova in William Walton’s The Bear with the Merola Opera Program. The Gerda Lissner Foundation awarded her the Encouragement Award for their Song / Lieder Competition in New York. In past seasons, Ms. Dixon was engaged as a young artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera where she made her professional debut as Flora in Verdi’s La traviata. Ms. Dixon holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Music from Louisiana State University. Northwest Region.
SOPRANO (Iowa City, IA)
Jessica Faselt was most recently a Studio Artist with the Florida Grand Opera in Miami for their 2017/2018 season and covered the roles of Salome in Richard Strauss’s Salome and Florencia in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas. Jessica was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in the summer of 2015 and was again engaged with the company for the summer of 2016 covering the title role of Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos. She was also an Apprentice Artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera in 2014. Other roles performed include Hanna in The Merry Widow, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito, and Mrs. Grose in The turn of the Screw. Jessica was a Semi-Finalist in the Elizabeth Connell Prize International Vocal Competition and in the Eleanor McCollum Voice Competition with the Houston Grand Opera in February of 2016. Upper Midwest Region.
MEZZO-SOPRANO (Cedar Falls, IA)
Megan Grey is currently completing her Master of Music in vocal performance at the University of Northern Iowa. Most recently, Megan performed the role of Hansel in the University of Northern Iowa Opera’s January 2018 production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. In summer 2017, Megan was described as “luminous” by Opera Wire for her portrayal of Proserpina in the U.S. Stage Premier of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo orchestrated by Respighi with the Chautauqua Opera Company, where Megan spent two consecutive summers as a Studio Artist. Megan’s other roles have included L’enfant in L’enfant et les sortilèges, Mrs. McLean in Susannah, and Mrs. Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Summer of 2018 Megan will be a Young Artist with the Merola Opera Program participating in the Schwabacher Summer Concerts. Upper Midwest Region.
MEZZO-SOPRANO (Manassas, VA)
Gretchen Krupp is currently a Performer Diploma candidate at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In March, she will sing Alisa in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor with Indiana University Opera Theater. She will close the 2017-2018 season by joining the Glimmerglass Festival Young Artist Program and sing Chocholka, Woodpecker, and Innkeeper Wife in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and cover Madeleine in Put’s Silent Night. She made her company debut with Wolf Trap Opera as Wallis in Hanlon and Kelly’s Listen, Wilhelmina! as well as covered Clarice in Rossini’s La pietra del paragone. During the summer of 2016, she was an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera. Gretchen holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Central Region.
SOPRANO (Coeur d’Alene, ID)
Rising young soprano Madison Leonard joins Washington National Opera this season as a member of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program where she sings High Priestess in Aida, The Rose in Portman’s The Little Prince, Morgana for the young artist performance of Alcina, and Zegner Sister 1 in Missy Mazzoli’s new opera, Proving Up. She joins Dallas Opera for its production of Der Ring des Polykrates. The summer brings her return to Wolf Trap Opera for her role debut as Ilia in Idomeneo. In future seasons, she makes her debut and a return to Seattle Opera. With the prestigious Merola Opera Program in association with San Francisco Opera, she sang Monica in Menotti’s The Medium as well as Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel for the program’s annual Grand Finale Concert while also covering Norina in Don Pasquale. She is a previous first place winner of the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition. The soprano earned her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and her Bachelor of Arts from Pepperdine University. Middle Atlantic Region.
SOPRANO (Santa Monica, CA)
Emily Misch is a recent graduate of Mannes College of Music, where she was heard as the Controller in the New York premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Flight and Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia. Her 2017-2018 season includes Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Opera North, Valeria in the workshop of Tom Cipullo’s Mayo at the National Opera Center, the soprano solos in Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Paukenmesse with Huntington Choral Society, and the soprano solo in Carmina Burana with Altoona Symphony Orchestra. Her 2015-2016 season included Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Opera in Williamsburg and Le feu, La princesse, and Le rossignol in L’enfant et les sortilèges with Opera on the Avalon. She has participated in young artist training programs at Wolf Trap Opera Company, Opera North (NH), and Opera on the Avalon. She received a BA in Music from Yale University, where she graduated magna cum laude. Eastern Region.
TENOR (Orlando, FL)
Carlos Enrique Santelli is in his second season as a member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. This season he study covered Nadir in The Pearl Fishers. Guest work included Mr. Santelli’s Dayton Opera debut as Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville. Past projects with LA Opera include performances in Salome, conducted by James Conlon, and Wonderful Town, conducted by Grant Gershon. For the past two summers, Mr. Santelli was a member of Santa Fe Opera’s distinguished Apprentice Artist Program. The summer of 2017 was a particularly notable season for Mr. Santelli as he made his principal role debut with the company as Arturo in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Mr. Santelli received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and his Master of Music from the University of Michigan. Western Region.
MEZZO-SOPRANO (Jingdezhen, China)
Mezzo-soprano Hongni Wu is a Professional Studies degree candidate at Manhattan School of Music. Previous credits include La clemenza di Tito (Sesto) and L’enfant et les sortilèges (La Libellule) with Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater, Die Fledermaus (Orlofsky) with Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to performance program, Carmen (Carmen) with Xinghai Conservatory of Music, Chinese opera Qingling song (Mrs Umeya) with Guangzhou Opera House. Scene work include Die Fledermaus (Orlofsky) and Der Rosenkavalier (Octavian)with Manhattan School of Music. Plans include appearances with La Cenerentola (Cenerentola) for Manhattan School of Music, the Gerdine Young Artist Program at Opera Theatre of St Louis and Le nozze di Figaro (Cherubino) for Opera Maine. She will join the Jette Parker Young Artists Program of the Royal Opera House in September 2018. Eastern Region.