The Dallas Opera Presents the DALLAS OPERA GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION, 4/18-19

Nineteen of the best young opera singers in the country will be competing in The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition presented by The Dallas Opera and The Dallas Opera Guild. The talented performers are competing for thousands of dollars in prize money and prestigious honors including the "People's Choice" award selected by audience ballot.

In the newly expanded competition, nineteen semi-finalists were selected from 362 applicants from 49 states and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. The FREE spring music event will take place over two days starting with the Semi-Finals Saturday, April 18, 2015 starting at 11:00 a.m.in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Six finalists chosen from the first round will then compete in the Finals on Sunday, April 19, 2015, at 7:30 p.m.

In another new development, the finalists will be accompanied by the full Dallas Opera Orchestra conducted by internationally acclaimed Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume. It's a wonderful opportunity to experience some fabulous young artists, incredible music and thrill-packed competition in the beautiful setting of the Winspear Opera House!

"I am extremely proud to collaborate with our Guild to introduce the best of the new generation of opera artists to music lovers from throughout North Texas," says Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny. "This is an outstanding opportunity for our community to experience the next great singing stars and help further the careers of these deserving artists."

THE 2015 SEMI-FINALISTS

FOR THE DALLAS OPERA GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION

John Brancy, baritone, graduate of The Juilliard School

J'nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano, Ryan Opera Center (Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Jungwon Choi, soprano, Chambre Professionnelle des Directeurs d'Opera Special Prize

Tracy Cox, soprano, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Finalist

Anthony Clark Evans, baritone, winner, Metropolitan Opera Nat. Council Auditions Ben Gulley, tenor, member of "The American Tenors," Sony/BMG Masterworks

Michelle Johnson, soprano, Grand Prize, 2011 Met Opera National Council Auditions

Nicole Joseph, soprano, Masters and Specialist Degree in Voice, Univ. of Michigan

James Edgar Knight, tenor, The Juilliard School

Theo Lebow, tenor, Seattle, St. Louis, Santa Fe, Merola Young Artist Program

D'Ana Lombard, soprano, Houston Grand Opera Studio

Sarah Mesko, mezzo-soprano, graduate, Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program

Thomas Richards, bass-baritone, Houston Grand Opera Studio

Ethan Simpson, baritone, Northwestern University

Adrian Smith, bass-baritone, Virginia Opera Young Artist Program

Elizabeth Sutphen, soprano, The Juilliard School

Zanda Šv?de, mezzo-soprano, Adler Fellow, San Francisco Opera

Maria Valdes, soprano, Adler Fellow, San Francisco Opera

Elizabeth Zharoff, soprano, graduate, Semperoper Dresden Young Artist Program

There is no charge for admission for attending any part of the 27th annual competition (although donations are definitely welcome), and Lexus Red Garage parking is available for just $5 for either the Semi-Final Round, from 11:00 AM until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 18th and the Finals Round the following evening at 7:30 p.m.

This year's competition honors former Dallas Opera Guild Presidents Enika and Richard H. Schulze for their significant leadership contributions to the Guild, The Dallas Opera Board, and those served by The Dallas Opera - both onstage and off.

Besides significant cash prizes, the event provides an extraordinary opportunity for young artists to perform before an influential world-class panel of judges, chaired by Dr. Brian Zeger, of the Juilliard School.

The judges for the upcoming 2015 competition reads like an American Opera "Who's Who."

Judges for the 2015 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition:

Brian Zeger, Chair

Artistic Director of Juilliard's Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts and Executive Director for the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera

Keith Cerny

General Director and CEO of The Dallas Opera

Emmanuel Villaume

Music Director, The Dallas Opera

Ian Derrer

Artistic Administrator, The Dallas Opera

Jonathan Friend

Artistic Administrator, The Metropolitan Opera

Gregory Henkel
Director of Artistic and Music Planning, San Francisco Opera

Andreas Melinat

Director of Artistic Administration, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Joshua Winograde

Senior Director of Artistic Planning, Los Angeles Opera

However, the judging isn't left entirely to the professionals; "amateur" music lovers will have the opportunity to express their views, too. Audience participation is part of the fun at each year's Dallas Opera Vocal Competition. For the sixteenth consecutive year, attendees will be given the chance to sit down with a ballot and vote on their personal favorites for the "People's Choice" award.

"The Guild is very proud to sponsor this prestigious competition and present these fine young performers to the community. Not only it is a wonderful opportunity to hear these young singers who are already versatile and experienced performers but also to enjoy some of the most incredible music ever written. These events make for a delightful afternoon and evening of entertainment!" said Dallas Opera Guild President Susan Fleming.

Dallas Opera Guild 2015 Vocal Competition Chair Ketty Fitzgerald added, "Building on the foundation of all those who came before us, we are really pleased to have expanded the competition from Texas to across the country, and provide the added professional element of accompaniment by The Dallas Opera Orchestra. Both of these improvements will help advance the careers of some of the best young singers in opera, which is our ultimate goal in taking this event to the next level."

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"The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition offered much-needed career and financial support at a crucial time in my life," says Jennifer Black (First Prize, People's Choice award, 2001). "I had just completed my studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio, as well as my first summer with San Francisco's Merola Opera Program, and was on my way to The Yale School of Music.

"The chance to participate in this competition was a real 'vote of confidence' that encouraged me to continue on this path I had chosen. I feel blessed to have been a recipient of the Guild's generous support."

For additional information about the 27th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, please contact The Dallas Opera Guild at 214-443-1040 or visit us online at http://dallasopera.org/vocal.

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SPECIAL THANKS

TO THE AT&T PERFORMING ARTS CENTER AND STAFF

FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF THE

2015 DALLAS OPERA GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION

EVENTS, GUESTS AND ARTISTS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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For high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print

Or to arrange an interview

Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Director of Media and Public Relations

214.443.1014 or suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

TEXAS INSTRUMENTS, 2014-2015 SEASON SPONSOR

FOR THE DALLAS OPERA'S "HEIGHTS OF PASSION" SEASON

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