Sunday, February 06, 2011

Met Opera National Council Southeast Region Auditions results

It's been another great day for singing at Spivey Hall. Fifteen wonderful young singers (sopranos, tenors, baritones, a bass-baritone, a counter-tenor, but not a single mezzo-soprano!) participating in the annual Metropolitan Opera Opera National Council Auditions Southeast Region Final Auditions each sang two arias for a distinguished panel of judges: Gayletha Nichols, Executive Director of the National Council Auditions; Danielle Orlando, master vocal coach at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, and Principal Opera Coach at the Curtis Institute of Music; and Carroll Freeman, a tenor with a long list of major operatic and symphonic credits who became the first Valerie Adams Distinguished Professor in Opera at Georgia State University in Atlanta this fall.

This year's singers, representing Georgia, South Carolina, North Carollina, and Florida, were an especially accomplished group.  Thankfully the Southeast Regional Auditions, chaired by Mrs. John (Margaret) Talmadge,  was able to accommodate some adjustments to the awards to reflect the outstanding achievements of the  day. John LaForge, Regional Auditions Director (and a member of the Spivey Hall Education Committee), announced the results.

Not one, but two Encourgement Awards, each of in the full amount of $1000, were given to soprano Heather Engebretsen, age 20, of Georgia; and soprano Jeanine DeBique, age 29, of North Carolina.

There was no Third Place Award (keep reading!).

The Second Place Award of $1500 was given to bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba, age 23, of North Carolina.

The best news was that not one, but TWO singers from today's auditions were advanced to the semi-finals to be held at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.  Each receives the full Ryan Smith First Place Award of $4500.  They are tenor Jayson Slayden, age 29, of South Carolina, and soprano Maria Atunez, age 26, of South Carolina.

Two pianists did the honors today:  Met Audtions Southeast Region staff accompanist Russell Young collaborated with thirteen of the singers, and Daniel Solberg performed with the other two.

Congratulations to ALL the singers!  It's both exciting and reassuring to know there is such amazing talent out there.  I've put several of the singers on my radar and will watch their career progress with interest.  You can hear them via the wonders of radio or web streaming on WABE Atlanta 90.1 FM on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:00 PM, when all the performances will be broadcast on The Atlanta Music Scene, produced by Tommy Joe Anderson, and hosted by the mellifluously-voiced Robert Hubert.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are we sure this is at '9' ?

I am listening online (from NC) and they already seem to have a tenor singing... and it's a bit past 9.

6:04 PM  

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