The 2020 George London Award Winners Are Announced; Five Singers Win Top Prize Of $10,000
"I have known for three generations how difficult the career of an opera singer remains," said George London Foundation President Nora London at the announcement of the 2020 George London Award winners. "This all started because George wanted to help - and now we have been giving these awards for almost 50 years."
The winners of the 49th annual George London Foundation Awards Competition for young American and Canadian opera singers were announced at the conclusion of the competition's final round this evening, which took place before an enthusiastic audience at Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.
A total of $60,000 was given in awards. Of the singers heard over three days of auditions, 15 were selected as finalists to perform at the Morgan. Of these, five were selected as winners of George London Awards of $10,000 each. The remaining 10 singers were awarded George London Encouragement Awards of $1,000 each.
George London Foundation President Nora London, third from left, with 2020 George London Award winners (left to right) Lindsay Kate Brown, Jessica Faselt, Anne Maguire, Katherine Beck, and Jana McIntyre. Photo by Jennifer Taylor (Click here to download hi-res version.)
The George London Foundation and George London Awards are named for the great American bass-baritone (1920-1985), who devoted much of his time and energy in his later years to the support and nurturing of young singers.
George London AWARDS ($10,000 each):
Katherine Beck, mezzo-soprano (29, Bennington, VT), who sang "Non più mesta" from Rossini's La Cenerentola - George London Award sponsored by Sarah Billinghurst Solomon, The Miriam and Arthur Diamond Charitable Trust and Barbara Brookes
Lindsay Kate Brown, mezzo-soprano (28, Waterloo, NY), who sang "O mon Fernand" from Donizetti's La Favorite - George London Award in memory of Leonie Rysanek sponsored by Thurmond Smithgall
Jessica Faselt, soprano, (27, Iowa City, IA), who sang "Or sai chi l'onore" from Mozart's Don Giovanni - George London Award in memory of Lloyd E. Rigler and Lawrence E. Deutsch, sponsored by The Lloyd E. Rigler - Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation, James D. Rigler, President
Anne Maguire, mezzo-soprano (29, Washougal, WA), who sang "Wo in Bergen du dich birgst" from Wagner's Die Walküre - George London Award in memory of Kirsten Flagstad, sponsored by the New York Community Trust
Jana McIntyre, soprano (28, Santa Barbara, CA), who sang "Care compagne" from Bellini's La Sonnambula - George London Award sponsored by Dr. Steve and Rochelle Prystowsky
George London ENCOURAGEMENT AWARDS ($1,000 each):
Justin Austin, baritone (29, Stuttgart, Germany) - Award in memory of Jaclyn Rendall Elyn, sponsored by Mark Elyn
Danielle Beckvermit, soprano (27, Kingston, NY) - Award in memory of Jaclyn Rendall Elyn, sponsored by Mark Elyn
Teresa Castillo, soprano (33 Aurora, CO) - Award in memory of Dr. Herbert N. Appel, sponsored by Susan Appel
Terrence Chin-Loy, tenor (28, Coral Springs, FL) - Award sponsored by Meche Kroop
Cheyanne Coss, soprano (27, Eaton Rapids, MI) - Award sponsored by the Thomas P. Sculco and Cynthia D. Sculco Foundation
Monica Dewey, soprano (29, Stone Mountain, GA) - Award in memory of Louis D'Angelo, sponsored by Robert Lombardo
Ryan Johnson, tenor (25, Muleshoe, TX) - Award in memory of Herbert J. Frank, sponsored by David Shustak
Alisa Jordheim, soprano (33, Appleton, WI) - Award in memory of Irwin Scherzer, sponsored by The Irwin S. Scherzer Foundation
Tesia Kwarteng, mezzo-soprano (30, San Antonio, TX) - Award in memory of Mary Palumbo, sponsored by Donald Palumbo
This year's panel of judges included soprano Harolyn Blackwell, mezzo-soprano Susan Quittmeyer, baritone Richard Stillwell (one of the first George London Award winners), George London Foundation Executive Director John Hauser, and George London Foundation President Nora London. The competition pianist was Lydia Brown.
Since 1971, the annual competition of The George London Foundation for Singers has given more than 300 awards, and a total of more than $2 million, to an outstanding roster of young American and Canadian opera singers who have gone on to international stardom - the list of past winners includes Christine Brewer, Joyce DiDonato, Renée Fleming, Christine Goerke, Catherine Malfitano, James Morris, Matthew Polenzani, Sondra Radvanovsky, Neil Shicoff, and Dawn Upshaw. As The New York Times recently noted, "this prestigious competition ... can rightfully claim to act as a springboard for major careers in opera."
One of the oldest vocal competitions in the United States and Canada, the George London Foundation Awards Competition offers among the most substantial awards. As is seldom the case in musical competitions, no fee is charged to the applicants or competitors, a pianist is provided for the competition rounds, and prizes are awarded immediately.
Continuing the foundation's 2019-20 season of events are a gala benefit reception marking George London's 100th birthday, and the final event in the season's George London Foundation Recital Series, which presents pairs of outstanding opera singers, many of whom were winners of a George London Award:
- "Celebrating George London's 100th Birthday," a gala benefit reception at New York's famed Metropolitan Club, will gather former colleagues of London's and past winners of the competition to celebrate the singer's centennial and honor the work that the foundation continues in his name. Thursday, March 19, 2020, at the Metropolitan Club
- Rihab Chaieb, mezzo-soprano, and Lawson Anderson, bass-baritone, perform a duo-recital with Ken Noda, piano. Both singers are 2018 George London Award winners; in its coverage of the competition, New York Classical Review described Anderson's voice in his award-winning performance as "like granite, perfectly firm, but with a richly veined tone," and Chaieb's performance as "captivating." Sunday, April 19, 2020, at 4:00 pm at The Morgan Library & Museum
The goal of the London Foundation, the support and nurturing of young singers, was an abiding interest of the great Canadian-American bass-baritone George London, who devoted a great part of the time and energy of his later years to this purpose. "Remembering his difficult road to success, George wanted to devise a way to make the road a little easier for future generations of singers," said George London Foundation President Nora London. Initially created under the auspices of the National Opera Institute, the George London Awards program has been administered since 1990 directly by the Foundation as a living legacy to George London's own exceptional talent and generosity. Visit www.georgelondon.org.
2020 George London Award Winners
Katherine Beck, mezzo-soprano (29, Bennington, VT), has been recognized for her unique sound and honest performances throughout the United States. Beck recently performed the role of Mary Johnson in Fellow Travelers at Arizona Opera and Karolka in Jenůfa at Santa Fe Opera. Last season, she performed Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Madeleine Audebert in Silent Night, and Flora in La Traviata, all of which were also at Arizona Opera. This upcoming season of 2020-21, Katie joins the Ryan Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Beck is the recent winner of First Place in the Phoenix District and the Rocky Mountain Regionals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and will therefore compete in the National Council competition's semi-finals in a few days. www.katherinebeckmezzosoprano.com
Lindsay Kate Brown, mezzo-soprano (28, Waterloo, NY), is currently an artist with the Houston Grand Opera Studio. During her time with HGO, Ms. Brown has sung the role of Giovanna in Verdi's Rigoletto and covered the roles of Léonor in Donizetti's La Favorite, Mary in Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer and Paula in Catán's Florencia en el Amazonas. Ms. Brown will finish her season at HGO performing the role of Zweite Dame in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte as well as covering Herodias in Strauss' Salome. Last summer, Ms. Brown joined Wolf Trap Opera as a Filene Artist, making her debut as Komponist in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. This summer Ms. Brown will join the Santa Fe Opera as an Apprentice Artist where she will cover the role of Ježibaba in Dvorák's Rusalka. Ms. Brown is a recipient of a number of awards and honors, most recently winning the Upper Midwest Region of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions. She will go on to compete in the MONC Semifinals on February 24th. www.lindsaykatebrown.com
Jessica Faselt, soprano (Iowa City, IA), is currently in the second year of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera and made her Metropolitan Opera debut as a Novice in Puccini's Suor Angelica. She also made her Met: Live in HD debut as Helmwige in Wagner's Die Walküre. Ms. Faselt was a winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and was presented with the Birgit Nilsson Award of the American Scandinavian Foundation. Most recently Ms. Faselt received a Sarah Tucker Study Grant with the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, a Maria Callas Tribute Prize NYC, the Ursula Springer prize from the Wagner Society of New York, the third prize in the Giulio Gari International Voice Competition, and the 2019 Tito Capobianco Award from Opera Index. Ms. Faselt is also the recipient of the 2019 Richard F. Gold Career Grant. Ms. Faselt was a Studio Artist with the Florida Grand Opera covering the roles of Salome in Strauss's Salome and Florencia in Daniel Catán's Florencia en el Amazonas. She was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis covering Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos. Ms. Faselt received her Master of Music degree from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and was selected for the prestigious Corbett Award. Ms. Faselt received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Iowa School of Music with honors. www.jessicafaselt.com
Anne Maguire, mezzo-soprano (29, Washougal, WA), is distinguishing herself on stages across the country. Her voice is easily recognizable for its "dark," "opulent," and "velvet" timbre, and she has been awarded several competition prizes from Opera Birmingham, Jensen Foundation, the Metropolitan National Council Auditions, and others. Ms. Maguire's roles performed include Baba the Turk in The Rake's Progress, Die Hexe in Hänsel und Gretel, Frau Mary in Der Fliegende Holländer, and Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible. She has performed as a soloist with several symphony orchestras, including her May 2019 debut with New Haven Symphony in Mahler's Third Symphony and her 2020 debut with Berkeley Community Orchestra as the alto in Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and Mozart's Coronation Mass. www.annemaguiremusic.com
Jana McIntyre, soprano (28, Santa Barbara, CA; 2018 George London Encouragement Award) - Garnering praise for her "dancer's grace, mercurial wit, and vibrant soprano tone" (Opera News), soprano Jana McIntyre is quickly making a name for herself in the opera world. This season she sings Ännchen in Heartbeat Opera's new production of Der Freischütz and the partygoer in Santa Fe Opera's workshop of M. Butterfly. She also joins Michael Christie and the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera. Ms. McIntyre's 2018-19 season included company debuts with Santa Fe Opera (Jenůfa), Arizona Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro), as well as Opera Grand Rapids and Toledo Opera as the Queen of the Night. She was also seen in Tulsa Opera's The Little Prince. She later returned to Tulsa, stepping into their groundbreaking Don Giovanni with Lucia Lucas in the title role. Other recent highlights include performances with San Francisco Symphony, the Albany Records release of David Briggs' organ transcription of Mahler 8, critically acclaimed Orfeo ed Eurydice with Anthony Roth Costanzo and Kiera Duffy at National Sawdust, and Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch in San Francisco Opera's Recital Series. Ms. McIntyre has received awards from the Jensen Foundation, Giulio Gari Foundation, George London Foundation, Art Song Preservation Society, and is a Richard F. Gold grant recipient. She holds degrees in Music and Psychology from UCLA (BA) as well as from the Manhattan School of Music (MM), and apprenticed with Tulsa Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and the Merola Opera Program. www.janamcintyre.com
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