Seventeen Young Opera Singers from Across the Country
Advance to Semi-Final Round of
America’s Most Prestigious Vocal Competition,
The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions
Regional winners from across the United States will sing
before a panel of judges in the closed
semi-final competition on Sunday, March 15
Finalists will compete at the public Grand Finals Concert on the
Met stage on Sunday, March 22, for $15,000 cash prizes and
potential career-launching exposure
New York, NY (March 9, 2015) – Seventeen young opera singers who have won regional competitions around the United States arrive in New York this week for the penultimate phase of the country’s leading vocal competition: the semi-final round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Each singer will perform on the Met stage before a panel of judges in the closed competition to be held on Sunday, March 15. The semi-finalists have progressed through a series of auditions held from October through February in 41 districts around the country and range in age from 22 to 30 years old.
Following the semi-final competition, winners will advance to the March 22 Grand Finals Concert, in which each singer will perform two arias with Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi and the Met Orchestra. The Grand Finals Concert, which is held in the Met auditorium and open to the public, will be hosted by star soprano Angela Meade, who herself first came to prominence in 2007 as a winner of the National Council Auditions. Meade will also sing an aria with the orchestra while the judges are deliberating. At the end of the concert, winners will be announced, each of whom will receive an individual cash prize of $15,000 in addition to the potentially career-making opportunity to be heard by a cross-section of classical music industry leaders in the nation’s most prominent operatic venue.
The Met Auditions, currently in their 62nd year, can be an important stepping stone to a career as an opera singer and were the public’s first introduction to many of today’s best-known stars, including Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Eric Owens, Sondra Radvanovsky, Frederica von Stade, and Deborah Voigt. Recent winners who have gone on to embark on major operatic careers include Paul Appleby, Jamie Barton, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Michael Fabiano, Lisette Oropesa, Susanna Phillips, Alek Shrader, and Amber Wagner. 126 singers who participated in the National Council process early in their careers are on the Met’s roster in the current season.
The 2015 semi-finalists and their hometowns are: Michael Adams, baritone (Gulf Coast Region: Fort Worth, Texas); Jenni Bank, mezzo-soprano (Great Lakes Region: Binghamton, New York); Nicholas Brownlee, bass-baritone (Western Region: Mobile, Alabama); Jared Bybee, baritone (Middle Atlantic Region: Modesto, California); Sarah Cambidge, soprano (Rocky Mountain Region: Denver, Colorado); Marina Costa-Jackson, soprano (Middle Atlantic Region: Salt Lake City, Utah); William Davenport, tenor (Southeast Region: Rockville, Maryland); Allegra De Vita, mezzo-soprano (New England Region: Turnbull, Connecticut); Joseph Dennis, tenor (Eastern Region: McKinney, Texas); Kathryn Henry, soprano (Upper Midwest Region: Sheboygan, Wisconsin); David Leigh, bass (Eastern Region: New York, New York); Anne Maguire, mezzo-soprano (Northwest Region: Washougal, Washington); Zachary Owen, bass-baritone (Midwest Region: Stillman Valley, Illinois); Reginald Smith, Jr., baritone (Southeast Region: Atlanta, Georgia); Matthew Turner, bass (Mid-South Region: Jackson, Kentucky); Deniz Uzun, mezzo-soprano (Central Region: Mannheim, Germany, currently living in Bloomington, Indiana); and Virginie Verrez, mezzo-soprano (Eastern Region: Brive La Gaillarde, France, currently living in New York, New York).
The semi-finalists arrive at the Met this week to rehearse with the company’s music staff in preparation for the closed semi-final competition on Sunday, March 15. The finalists will have a week of preparation with Met musical and dramatic coaches to prepare for the Grand Finals Concert on Sunday, March 22 at 3 p.m. Tickets for the Grand Finals Concert begin at $25 and may be purchased at the Met Box Office, by phone at 212-362-6000, or online at www.metopera.org.
The regional and district-level auditions, held across the U.S. and Canada, are 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 competition for singers seeking to launch an operatic career.
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