Rosalind Elias to Receive Opera Index's Achievement Award, 1/12

On Sunday, January 12, 2014, Opera Index will presents its 35th Distinguished Achievement Award to mezzo-soprano Rosalind Elias, described as one of the finest singing actresses of our time, at its Winter Gala in the Grand Salon of the JW Marriott Essex House, 160 Central Park South, beginning at 6 p.m. with a reception in the Petit Salon. The three-time Grammy and two-time Emmy Award-winning artist made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1954 and over her half-century-long career, has sung more than 50 roles. Ken Benson, renowned artists manager and longtime Opera Index supporter, will present the award to Ms. Elias.

The January 12 Gala will also be a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Opera Index Vocal Competition, which to date has provided awards valued at almost $1 million to 323 singers. This year awards totaling $55,500 are being presented to 15 young singers. Two top prizes of $10,000 will be awarded to mezzo-soprano Virginie Verrez and soprano Ying Fang. Tenor Michele Angelini receives $7,500, and tenor Mingjie Lei and bass-baritone Yohan Yi each receive $5,000. Soprano Sydney Mancasola receives $3,500 and baritones Musa Ngqungwana and Norman Garrett receive $2,500, respectively. Emerging Artist Awards of $2,000 will be given to soprano Tracy Cox and tenor Juan José de León, and Encouragement Awards of $1,000 go to five singers: mezzo-soprano Avery Amereau, tenor James Edgar Knight, soprano Felicia Moore, tenor Patrick O'Halloran, and mezzo-soprano Nian Wang.

The January 12 program will not only celebrate the remarkable career of Rosalind Elias, but will also feature performances by several of this year's Opera Index Competition award-winning singers.

Tickets for the Opera Index Winter Gala range from $350 to $1,000 and are available by calling 212-706-9550 or by e-mailing operaindex@rcn.com

Rosalind Elias, the youngest of 13 children from Lowell, Massachusetts, attended the New England Conservatory of Music. Upon returning to the U.S. following studies in Italy, she stepped in to fill the role of Grimgerde in Die Walkure at the Metropolitan Opera, a fortunate break that jump-started a career that has taken her to the world's leading opera companies ranging from Vienna, Buenos Aires, and Paris to San Francisco, Boston, and Minnesota, where she sang the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath and Florida Grand Opera, where she sang the world premiere of Anna Karenina, both operas of which were released on CD. Ms. Elias also enjoys a second career as an opera director, staging productions throughout the U.S. and in Canada. She recently scored a big success singing the role of Heidi Schiller in Stephen Sondheim's Follies at the Kennedy Center

Opera Index, composed of opera devotees, is an outgrowth of The New York Opera Club, founded in the late 1950's by William Wells, an opera lover and radio personality, well known for his interviews with opera singers of the day. Opera Index, its name taken from Mr. Wells's file of opera singers, became a formal non-profit organization in 1982 and two years later inaugurated its first annual opera competition for singers in the early stages of their careers. This season alone former Opera Index winners appearing at the Metropolitan Opera include Paul Appleby, Stephanie Blythe, Eric Cutler, Michael Fabiano, Owen Gradus, Susan Graham, Wendy Bryn Harmer, Kyle Ketelsen, Takesha Kizart, Kate Lindsay, Angela Meade, Lisette Oropessa, Eric Owens, and Deborah Voigt.

The first recipient of the Opera Index Distinguished Achievement Award was Zinka Milanov followed by Leonie Rysenik, Samuel Ramey, Roberta Peters, Licia Albanese, Marilyn Horne,; Jamila Nvotna, Alfredo Kraus, Lucine Amara, Jerome Hines, Birgit Nilsson, Renato Scotto, Rose Bampton, Theodor Uppman, Anna Moffo, Grace Bumbry, Martina Arroyo. George Jellinek, Deborah Voigt, Jon Vickers, Regina Resnik, Sherrill Milnes, James Morris, Catherine Malfitano, Jessye Norman, Aprile Millo, Julius Rudel, Patrice Munsel, Shirley Verrett, George Shirley, Eve Queler, and most recently, Eric Owens. More information about Opera Index, including a full roster of Opera Index Vocal Competition winners since 1984, is available at http://operaindexinc.org/.

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