Brownlee's selection was reported last month when he won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, but it was not officially announced until today.
The $15,000 Anderson Award, named for the pioneering African-American contralto, honors "an American singer of great promise who has already achieved some success in opera, in recital, and in the orchestra/oratorio repertory." First presented in 1989, it is currently presented jointly by the Fairfield County (Connecticut) Community Foundation and the Kennedy Center.
In addition to the cash prize, Brownlee wins the opportunity to perform in recital at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater. The recital will take place on September 10 as part of the center's 2006 Prelude Festival.
Brownlee's 2005-06 season included performances at Teatro Comunale Giuseppe Verdi in Trieste, the Hamburg State Opera, and the Baltimore Symphony. Next season, he will debut at Houston Grand Opera, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, and the Metropolitan Opera, where he will sing Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia. His roles also include Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola, Tonio in La fille du r_giment, and Il Conte de Liebenskof in Il viaggio a Reims.
The winner of the Marian Anderson Award is chosen by a committee of experts from among singers nominated by opera executives, critics, and other music-industry figures. The selection committee this year included director Francesca Zambello, David DiChiera of Michigan Opera Theatre, Karen Keltner of San Diego Opera, Barbara Hocher of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, and conductor David Charles Abell. Francis Rizzo, an opera veteran who has worked at Washington Opera and the Wolf Trap Festival, is the chairman.
Previous winners of the Marian Anderson Award include Sylvia McNair, Denyce Graves, Patricia Racette, and Nathan Gunn.