Metropolitan Opera Names Six Winners of 2007 National Council Auditions

Classic Arts News   Metropolitan Opera Names Six Winners of 2007 National Council Auditions
The Metropolitan Opera has announced the winners of the 2007 National Council Auditions. Selected from 11 finalists who performed arias with the Met Orchestra, conducted by Marco Armiliato, at the Grand Finals Concert last night, each winner takes away a cash prize of $15,000.

The winners are:

  • Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano from Bloomington, Indiana
    (originally from Rome Georgia);
  • Michael Fabiano, tenor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    (originally from Hoboken, New Jersey);
  • Angela Meade, soprano from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    (originally from Centralia, Washington);
  • Alek Shrader, tenor from Oberlin, Ohio
    (originally from Cleveland, Ohio);
  • Ryan Smith, tenor from Decatur, Georgia
    (originally from Los Angeles, California); and
  • Amber L. Wagner, soprano from Phoenix, Arizona
    (originally from Santa Barbara, California).

The remaining five finalists were each awarded $5,000. They are:

  • Kiera Duffy, soprano from New York, New York
    (originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania);
  • D‹sella L_rusd‹ttir, soprano from Levittown, Pennsylvania
    (originally from Mosfellssveit, Iceland);
  • Ryan McKinny, baritone from Houston, Texas
    (originally from Los Angeles, California);
  • Nicholas Pallesen, baritone from Tallahassee, Florida
    (originally from Riverside, California); and
  • Matthew Plenk, tenor from Hartford, Connecticut
    (originally from Lindenhurst, New York).

The Grand Finals Concert was hosted by Stephanie Blythe, a leading mezzo-soprano with the Met and a former Auditions winner. The competition took place on the Met stage, framed by the Act I set of the company's La traviata production by Franco Zeffirelli. During the judges' deliberations once the auditions portion of the program was completed, soprano Alexandra Deshorties and baritone Mark Delavan, former Auditions finalists and currently principal artists with the Met, performed arias: Deshorties sang "D'Oreste, d'Ajace" from Mozart's Idomene, and Delavan performed "L'onore! Ladri!" from Verdi's Falstaff.

The Grand Finals Concert was recorded for broadcast at a later date on public radio stations across the United States; check local listings for air times.

Nearly 1,500 singers participated in this year's auditions, which are held annually in 45 districts and 15 regions throughout the United States and Canada, sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council. Given the reach of the auditions, the number of applicants, and the long tradition associated with them, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are considered the most prestigious in North America for singers seeking to launch an operatic career. Some winners are invited to join the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, which assists talented young singers through training and performance opportunities at the Met.

Past winners of the Met Auditions include many of today's leading operatic artists, such as Ren_e Fleming, Hei-Kyung Hong, Deborah Voigt, Grace Bumbry, Susan Graham, Dolora Zajick, Nathan Gunn, Ben Heppner, Thomas Hampson, and Samuel Ramey. During a typical opera season, over one hundred alumni of the Auditions sing in Met performances.

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