Sunday, February 16, 2014

Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions results

The snow and ice that besieged Atlanta vanished in time for the annual Southeast Region Metropolitan National Council Auditions in Spivey Hall this afternoon.  Twelve contestants from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida sang two arias for a distinguished panel of judges:  Paul Kilmer, Director of Artistic Administration, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; John Churchwell, Head of Music, San Francisco Opera; and Diane Zola, Director of Artistic Administration, Houston Grand Opera.  

Two Encouragement Awards were combined as one and given to bass Daren Jackson (age 21) from North Carolina, who sang "Vous, qui faites l'enormie" from Gounod's Faust and "Madamima, il catalogo è questo" from Mozart's Don Giovanni. 

The Third Place Award was given to soprano Abigail Rethwisch (age 24) from Florida, who sang "Martern aller Arten" from Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail and "Je veux vivre" from Gounod's Roméo et Juiliette. 

The Second Place Award was given to tenor Jonathan Johnson (age 25) from North Carolina, who sang "Here I stand" from The Rake's Progress by Stravinsky, and "Ah! lève-toi, soleil!" from Gounod's Roméo et Juliette.

The Ryan Smith First Place Award was given to soprano Jennifer Cherest (age 29) of South Carolina, who sang "Comme autrefois" from Les Pecheurs de perles by Bizet, and "Quel guardo il cavaliere...So anch'io la virtù magica" from Donizetti's Don Pasquale.  As the sole First Place Award winner from the Southeast Region Final Auditions, Ms. Cherest will advance to the National Semi-finals at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on March 23, 2014. 

The pianists performing with the contestants were Utah Opera staff accompanist Carol Anderson, and Angela Ward.  

While the judges were deliberating, the audience was treated to arias sung by a previous winner of the Southeast Region Finals and the National Finals, soprano Indra Thomas, accompanied by pianist Sandra Lutters.

Congratulations to all the contestants, all of whom demonstrated talent, accomplishment, and promise.  It was another wonderful afternoon of music-making at Spivey Hall, where vocalists love to sing, and audiences love to hear them.  You can hear for yourselves on Monday, March 31, 2014 at 9:00 PM Eastern, when WABE 90.1 FM airs its broadcast of today's performances, which will also be streamed live on its Internet website (scroll down and look for "Listen now" in the column on the right). 

The Met Auditions will return to Spivey Hall again next season, details of which will be announced first to Spivey Hall's donors at the end of March.


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