Nine Young Opera Singers Advance to Final Round of the Met's National Council Auditions, Finals on 3/30

Nine Young Opera Singers Advance to Final Round of the Met's National Council Auditions, Finals on 3/30

Following this afternoon's highly competitive semi-final competition, nine young singers will advance to the final phase of the Metropolitan Opera's 2014 National Council Auditions, America's most prestigious vocal competition. The selected finalists, chosen by a panel of experts from the classical music industry, will compete on the Met stage on Sunday, March 30at the Grand Finals Concert, with winners receiving individual cash prizes of $15,000 and the prestigious-and potentially career-launching-title of National Council Auditions Winner. The Grand Finals Concert begins at 3 p.m. and will feature Marco Armiliatoconducting the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as each finalist performs two arias in contrasting styles. The concert will be hosted by tenorLawrence Brownlee, a former National Council winner currently at the Met rehearsing for Bellini's I Puritani. While the judges deliberate, another former winner, Susanna Phillips, who stars in three operas at the Met this season, will perform an aria from Mozart'sLe Nozze di Figaro. Tickets for the Grand Finals Concert may be purchased at the Met Box Office, by phone at 212-362-6000, or online at www.metopera.org.

The Met Auditions, currently in their 61st year, are a major stepping stone to a career as an opera singer. 130 singers on the Met roster this season have participated in the Auditions, which were crucial in introducing many of today's best-known stars, such as Stephanie Blythe, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, and Deborah Voigt. In 2007, the National Council Audition process was captured in an acclaimed documentary, The Audition, which was released on DVD and aired on PBS, including a rebroadcast on WNET in December 2013.

The 2014 finalists, the regions they represent in the competition, and their hometowns are: Julie Adams, 26, soprano (Western Region: Burbank, CA); Patrick Guetti, 27, bass (Middle Atlantic Region: Highland Park, NJ); Nicole Haslett, 26, soprano (Northwest Region: Mt. Laurel, NJ); Ao Li, 26, bass-baritone (Rocky Mountain Region: Dezhou, China, currently living in San Francisco, CA); Yi Li, 30, tenor (Middle Atlantic Region: Jinan, China, currently living in Silver Spring, MD); Christopher Lowrey, 30, countertenor (New England Region: Johnston, RI); Rafael Moras, 27, tenor (Gulf Coast Region: San Antonio, TX); Rexford Tester, 24, tenor (Middle Atlantic Region: Tazewell, VA); Amanda Woodbury, 26, soprano (Western Region: Crestwood, KY).

Each finalist will be competing for an individual cash prize of $15,000 each at the Grand Finals Concert. Even more important than the prize money is the contestants' opportunity to perform with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra on the historic opera house stage before an audience that will include opera company executives, artist managers, music critics, and other opinion-makers of the music world.

On Tuesday, April 1 at 7 p.m., this year's newly selected winners will perform a concert of varied operatic repertory at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR 105.9, New York City's all-classical station. They will be joined by Met star and former National Council winner, soprano Deborah Voigt. The event will be broadcast live on WQXR and there will be a live video webcast on both www.wqxr.org and www.thegreenespace.org; for more information, please visit www.thegreenespace.org.

The regional winners were chosen from nearly 1,500 singers who participated in auditions held in 40 districts and 13 regions throughout the United States and Canada, 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 in North America for singers seeking to launch an operatic career. This year's Grand Finals concert will be dedicated to the memory of Howard Hook, the co-founder of the National Council, who died in December 2013.

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