Photo Flash: Pittsburgh Festival Opera Honors Meghan Kasanders at 7th Mildred Miller Competition
First Place Winner Meghan Kasanders, 26, led the field of nine finalists at Pittsburgh Festival Opera's 7th Annual Mildred Miller International Voice Competition with her performances of Dich, teure Halle from Wagner's Tannhäuser and "Come scoglio" from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte on Sunday, Oct. 22 at The Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburgh. The New York-based soprano received a $6,000 prize supported by Pittsburgh Festival Opera Board Member Phyllis Sidwell. Scroll down for photos!
The slate of winners also included:
- Shannon Jennings, 29, soprano, Pittsburgh, PA - Second Prize of $5,000, made possible by anonymous donor.
- Melinda Whittington, 33, soprano, Charlotte, NC - Rob Chafin Third Prize of $4,000, made possible by Jamini Davies.
- Errin Duane Brooks, 32, tenor, New York, NY - Audience Favorite Prize, a $1,000 award made possible by Pittsburgh Festival Opera Board President Dr. Eugene and Barbara Myers, and selected via a vote by audience members.
- Jeff Byrnes, 28, baritone, Detroit, MI - Judges' Commendation and contract offer, with all finalists receiving a special commendation made possible by an anonymous donor for their participation.
The finalists were joined on stage by Company founder, competition judge, and competition namesake Mildred Miller Posvar, Pittsburgh Festival Opera Artistic Director Jonathan Eaton, and host Jim Cunningham of WQED-FM who introduced the singers during the three-hour event in the Frick's intimate theater.
In 2017, the panel of five judges included: Mildred Miller Posvar, founder of Pittsburgh Festival Opera and acclaimed Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano; Jonathan Eaton, Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Festival Opera and Professor of Music/Margot and Bill Winspear Chair in Opera Studies, University of North Texas College of Music; Robert Chafin, tenor, Assistant Professor of Voice, West Virginia University School of Music; Timothy LeFebvre, baritone and Associate Professor of Singing, Oberlin College Conservatory; and Jane Eaglen, dramatic soprano, whose storied career includes leading roles in the operas of Wagner, Verdi, and Puccini among many others. Her international performance and teaching career has taken her to the leading opera houses and academic centers of the world.
Pianists for the competition were James Lesniak and Stephen Variames. For more about Pittsburgh Festival Opera, go to PittsburghFestivalOpera.org.
American soprano Meghan Kasanders is quickly gaining recognition as a promising young dramatic voice. Ms. Kasanders is currently working towards an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies (ADOS) at the Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at The Juilliard School, New York City. After a recent tour of singing Berta in The Barber of Seville with Des Moines Metro Opera's 'Opera Iowa', Ms. Kasanders sings her company debut with Opera Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, New York in June. As an Apprentice Artist there, she will cover Alice Ford in Verdi's Falstaff, and sing the role of Sadie Pollock in Cradle Will Rock, directed by John Mauceri. Ms. Kasanders will make another company debut with Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis, Missouri, returning to a favorite role, Gertrude (Mutter) in Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel. Read more at www.meghankasanders.com.
Photos by Mark Abramowitz/Pittsburgh Festival Opera
First Place Winner Meghan Kasanders pictured with Mildred Miller Posvar at the Miller Competition.
Winner of the Rob Chafin Third Prize Melinda Whittington pictured with Mildred Miller Posvar at the Miller Competition.