Winners Announced for 41st Annual George London Foundation Awards
The winners of the 41st 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 in a front of a capacity audience at Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.
A total of $75,500 was given in awards. After three days of preliminary auditions during which 90 singers were heard (selected from more than 200 applicants), 24 were selected as finalists. Of these, six were selected as winners of George London Awards of $10,000 each and 13 were given George London Foundation Encouragement Awards of $1,000 each. The remaining five finalists received $500 Honorable Mention awards.
George London Award winners (left to right) Zachary Nelson, Suzanne Hendrix, Corinne Winters,
George London Foundation President Nora London, Margaret Mezzacappa, Chloé Moore, Brandon Cedel (Photo by Shawn Ehlers)
George London AWARDS ($10,000 each):
Brandon Cedel, Bass-baritone, 23 – George London Award (Sponsored by the Gerda Lissner Foundation)
Suzanne Hendrix, Contralto, 32 – George London-Kirsten Flagstad Award (For a singer preparing for a Wagnerian career)
Margaret Mezzacappa, Mezzo-soprano, 24 – George London Award
Chloé Moore, Soprano, 28 – George London Award (For a Canadian singer)
Zachary Nelson, Baritone, 25 – George London Award (In memory of Lloyd Rigler)
Corinne Winters, Soprano, 28 – George London-Leonie Rysanek Award
George London FOUNDATION ENCOURAGEMENT AWARDS ($1,000 each):
Michele Angelini, Tenor, 29 (In memory of Charles Anthony)
Noah Baetge, Tenor, 31 (In memory of Merle Hubbard)
Deanna Breiwick, Soprano, 24 (In memory of Lloyd Rigler)
J'nai Bridges, Mezzo-soprano, 24 (In memory of Merle Hubbard)
Eugene Chan, Baritone, 28 (In memory of Lloyd Rigler)
John Holiday, Jr., Countertenor, 26 (In memory of George Lowin)
Courtney Johnson, Soprano, 20 (In memory of Norma Newton)
Will Liverman, Baritone, 23 (In memory of Theodore Uppman)
Sydney Mancasola, Soprano, 24 (In memory of Merle Hubbard)
Johnathan McCullough, Baritone, 20 (Robert Jacobson Memorial Award)
Nicholas Pallesen, Baritone, 32 (In memory of Merle Hubbard)
Suzanne Rigden, Soprano, 26 (For a Canadian singer)
John Viscardi, Tenor, 28 (In memory of Merle Hubbard)
(The Encouragement Awards in memory of Merle Hubbard are sponsored by the M.S. Worthington Foundation.)
This year's panel of judges included artist manager Ken Benson; opera stage director Bruce Donnell; former Metropolitan Opera administrator Alfred F. Hubay; George London Foundation President Nora London; mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer; former Metropolitan Opera leading tenor and current voice professor George Shirley; and performing arts consultant Thurmond Smithgall. The competition pianist was Linda Hall.
Since 1971, the annual competition of The George London Foundation for Singers has been giving its George London 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, Catherine Malfitano, James Morris, Matthew Polenzani, Sondra Radvanovsky, Neil Shicoff, and Dawn Upshaw. 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.
The goal of the London Foundation, the support and nurturing of young singers, was an abiding interest of the great 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.
2012 George London Award Winners
Brandon Cedel, Bass-baritone, 23
Bass-baritone Brandon Cedel is currently pursuing a master's degree at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he is a student of Marlena Malas. While at Curtis he has sung many roles with the Curtis Opera Theater, including: The Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen, Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, Escamillo in Le tragedie de Carmen, Gaudenzio in Il Signor Bruschino, Dr. Bartolo in IL Barbiere di Siviglia, and Belcore in L'elisir d'amore. Outside of the Curtis Opera Theater he has been seen as Colline in La bohème with the Harrisburg Symphony, and Sciarrone in Tosca with the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
He has attended the Music Academy of the West, where he covered the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni in 2010 and sang the role of Don Basilio in IL Barbiere di Siviglia in the summer of 2011.
He has taken top prize in: the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, the Guilio Gari Vocal Competition, the Sue Goetz Ross Memorial Competition-Washington DC, the Livingston Mather Competition-Cleveland, OH, and PA NATS Competition-Harrisburg, PA. He took second prize in the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Vocal competition, Liederkranz Vocal Competition General Opera division, and the Judge's Award from the Opera Index Vocal Competition. He has also received awards from: the Loren L. Zarchary Vocal Competiton, Mario Lanza Vocal Competition, Letters and Arts Foundation, and the Anna Sosenko Fund.
This season, Brandon will be heard as Méphistophélès in Gounod's Faust and Capellio in I Capuleti e i Montecchi with the Curtis Opera Theater. He will be singing Raimondo in Rienzi, under the baton of Eve Queler and the Opera Orchestra of New York. He will also be making his Opera Santa Barbara debut in the title role of Le nozze di Figaro.
Suzanne Hendrix, Contralto, 32
Contralto Suzanne Hendrix began 2012 by making her role debut as Azucena in Il trovatore at Wichita Grand Opera. Later in the year, she will return to the Santa Fe Opera as an apprentice artist and sing the
role of the Fortune Teller in Arabella.
Ms. Hendrix made her San Francisco Opera debut in Die Walküre in the role of Schwertleite. She performs frequently with Wichita Grand Opera, and in 2011, sang Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. Additional roles also include Mercédès (Carmen), Ma (The Tender Land), Zita (Gianni Schicchi), the Princess (Suor Angelica), and Florence Pike (Albert Herring). On the concert stage, Ms. Hendrix has appeared as a soloist in Durufé's Requiem, Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb, and Handel's Messiah, among other pieces. She is a former apprentice artist with Des Moines Metro Opera, Merola Opera Program, and the Santa Fe Opera.
Ms. Hendrix teaches voice at Avila University in Kansas City, and has also been on faculty at the University of Northern Iowa and Wartburg College. She attended the University of Missouri, Kansas City Conservatory as well as the University of Northern Iowa.
Margaret Mezzacappa, Mezzo-soprano, 24 (2011 George London Encouragement Award Winner)
Margaret Mezzacappa, from Euclid, Ohio, is a third-year Academy of Vocal Arts resident artist. Ms. Mezzacappa won the top prize in the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Vocal Competition, first prize in the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, second prize in the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, third prize at the Loren L. Zachary Foundation Competition, fourth prize in the Giulio Gari Foundation International Vocal Competition, and an encouragement award from the George London Foundation, all in 2011. Ms. Mezzacappa was the winner of the 2009 Giargiari Bel Canto Competition and 2008 Baldwin-Wallace College Concerto Competition. Recently she performed the role of Emilia in Otello with the Opera Company of Philadelphia. At AVA she has sung the roles of La Principessa in Suor Angelica, Frugola in Il tabarro, Adelaide in Arabella, Mistress Quickly in Falstaff, Azucena in excerpts from Il trovatore, and the First Wife in The Scarlet Letter. Ms. Mezzacappa holds a B.M. in Music Performance from Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music, where she sang Public Opinion in Orpheus in the Underworld, Baba in The Medium, Juno in Semele, and Mum in Albert Herring.
Chloé Moore, Soprano, 28
Dual Canadian and French citizen, lyric soprano Chloé Moore is described as "touching and radiant in personality and voice." Her voice lends itself particularly to the bel canto and French grand opera repertory. Currently a resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts studying with Bill Schuman, Chloé performed Antonia and Stella in Les contes d'Hoffman, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Zdenka in Arabella, Mistress Brown in the world premiere of Garwood's The Scarlet Letter, and Sorella Infermiera in Suor Angelica last season. Upcoming roles include Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande, and Adina in L'elisir d'amore this season, also with the Academy of Vocal Arts. She also looks forward to performing in the Mozart Requiem and Beethoven Ninth Symphony in the spring with the New Jersey Master Chorale. During the summer of 2011, she recently performed Giulietta in I Capuleti ed I Montecchi, Antonia in Les contes d'Hoffmann, and Frasquita in Carmen at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado. Chloe has performed roles with Central City Opera, Arizona Opera, Chesapeake Concert Opera, Center City Opera Theater, New York Lyric Opera and with the Dr. Alfonso Ortiz Tirado International Music Festival in Cajeme, Mexico.
Chloé has recently received many awards. They include receiving third place in the Liederkranz Foundation Vocal Competition's Opera Division, the Leoš Janá?ek Prize for the second place and the Donald James Goldberg Prize for the best French aria in the Czech & Slovak International Voice Competition, the Rosalind Jackson Memorial Award with the Crested Butte Music Festival, encouragement awards with both the Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Vocal Competition. She was also a finalist in the George London Foundation Awards Competition and the Opera Index Vocal Competition.
Zachary Nelson, Baritone, 25
Born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, Zachary is a third year resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts. At AVA he has performed the title role in Verdi's Falstaff, Michele in Puccini's Il tabarro, Mandryka in Strauss' Arabella, Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni, the Haushoffmeister in Strauss' Capriccio, and Beniot/Alcindoro in Puccini's La bohème. This past September he performed the role of Giorgio Germont in Verdi's La traviata in Lyric Opera of Virginia's inaugural season. This November Mr. Nelson made his Carnegie Hall and Opera Orchestra of New York debut as Quinault in Cilea's Adrianna Lecouvreur. In February he performs the role of Golaud in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande with AVA. This summer he will be performing the role of Angelotti in Puccini's Tosca and covering the role of Mandryka in Arabella with the Santa Fe Opera. Mr. Nelson was a Young Artist with Glimmerglass Opera where he sang the role of Sciarrone in Tosca and covered the title role in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro; he was a soloist in the New York Festival of Song's Killer B's with Steven Blier.
Mr. Nelson is a graduate of The Catholic University of America with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. Roles to his credit at Catholic University include the Painter in Gregg Martin's world premiere opera Life in Death. Mr. Nelson made his professional debut with Opera Bel Cantanti in Washington, DC, as Antonio in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, then as Marcello in Puccini's La bohème. He was engaged by Summer Opera Theater Company in Washington and performed the roles of Mr. Dashwood in Adamo's Little Women, Sciarrone in Puccini's Tosca and Morales/Escamillo (cover) in Bizet's Carmen.
Mr. Nelson is a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, New England Region- Encouragement Award recipient. He received first place in the 2012 Liederkranz Vocal Competition-General Opera Division; first place in the 2011 Opera Index Vocal Competition; second place in the 2011 Loren Zachary Society Vocal Competition, the 2011 Giulio Gari Foundation Vocal Competition, and the 2011 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition. Mr. Nelson studies with Bill Schuman.
Corinne Winters, Soprano, 28
Corinne Winters, soprano, has been acclaimed for her "passionate intensity and rich vocal coloration" and "darkish, creamy soprano." As a recent graduate of the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, PA, Corinne joined the 2010-11 roster of the Metropolitan Opera for their new production of Das Rheingold, conducted by James Levine and directed by Robert Lepage, and made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto, conducted by Fabio Luisi. With the Academy of Vocal Arts, Corinne created the role of Hester Prynne in the world premiere of The Scarlet Letter by Margaret Garwood. She debuted in recital with the New York Festival of Song.
This season, Corinne sings the title role in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta with Dicapo Opera Theatre, Lisette in La rondine with Florida Grand Opera, Anne Trulove in The Rake's Progress with Wolf Trap Opera Company, and return to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Micaëla. In concert this season, Corinne premieres Rufus Wainwright's song cycle All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu under the auspices of New York City Opera, and debuts with the National Symphony Orchestra as the soprano solo in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. The 2012-13 season includes debuts with the English National Opera as Violetta in La traviata, Arizona Opera as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, and a return to the Metropolitan Opera roster to cover Blanche de la Force in Les Dialogues des Carmélites.
Corinne has won prizes from the Sullivan Foundation (career grant), Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation (first prize), Connecticut Opera Guild (second place), Palm Beach Opera Competition (first prize), Gerda Lissner Foundation (second prize), Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (national semifinalist, first place New England Region), George London Foundation (honorable mention/finalist), Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, Mario Lanza Competition, Annapolis Opera Competition, and Florida Grand Opera Young Patronesses Competition, and was a U.S. representative in the Pavarotti International Voice Competition in Modena, Italy. Originally from Frederick, Maryland, Corinne has completed a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory and Bachelor of Science degree magna cum laude from Towson University. Currently, she studies with world-renowned soprano Diana Soviero.