Twenty Semi-Finalists Have Been Selected To Compete at 31st Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition

Twenty Semi-Finalists Have Been Selected To Compete at 31st Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition

Twenty of the finest young opera singers in the United States will be competing in the 31ST Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition presented, jointly, by The Dallas Opera and The Dallas Opera Guild.

The artists will compete onstage in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas on Thursday, May 2 & Friday, May 3, 2019. At stake are thousands of dollars in generous cash awards and prestigious honors including the "People's Choice Award" selected during the Finals Round by audience ballot.

The 2019 Guild Vocal Competition is being co-chaired by Susan Fleming, Ph.D., and Linda McKown and the Finals Round will be emceed by Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin, a classically trained opera singer, composer, and advocate for the arts.

The quest for these gifted young singers will begin with the Semi-Finals Round of the Vocal Competition taking place on Thursday, May 2, 2019, from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Tickets are free and can be obtained at www.dallasopera.org/vocal.

Six finalists will be selected that day to return the following evening for the Finals Round Concert on Friday, May 3, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. At that time, the remaining competitors will perform with The Dallas Opera Orchestra, conducted by the internationally renowned Italian Maestro Riccardo Frizza, Music Director of the Donizetti Opera Festival in Bergamo, Italy.

Concert tickets are just $5 and available at the door, by calling The Dallas Opera Ticket Office at 214.443.1000, or online at www.dallasopera.org/vocal.

This year, the twenty semi-finalists were selected by a panel of preliminary judges that included American pianist and educator Dr. Brian Zeger of the Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at The Juilliard School, and David Lomeli, Director of Artistic Administration for The Dallas Opera. These semi-finalists were among a group of 307 applicants from 36 states.

THE 2019 SEMI-FINALISTS

THE DALLAS OPERA GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION

  • Lindsay Kate Brown, mezzo-soprano, Houston Grand Opera Studio / Des Moines Metro Opera Apprentice Artist Program

  • Jeff Byrnes, baritone, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Gerdine Young Artists Program

  • Anthony Ciaramitaro, tenor, Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program / Merola Opera Program

  • Lauren Decker, contralto, The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago

  • Ben Edquist, baritone, Houston Grand Opera Studio

  • Calvin Griffin, bass-baritone, Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio

  • Pureum Jo, soprano, Houston Grand Opera Studio

  • Meghan Kasanders, soprano, Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at the Juilliard School

  • Andrew Manea, baritone, Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera

  • Felicia Moore, soprano, Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at the Juilliard School

  • Rafael Moras, tenor, Santa Fe Apprentice Program / Domingo Colburn Stein Young Artists Los Angeles Opera

  • John Matthew Myers, tenor, Academy of Vocal Arts

  • Diana Newman, soprano, The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago

  • Ndumiso Nyoka, tenor, Southern Methodist University

  • Christopher Oglesby, tenor, San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship / Utah Opera Resident Artist

  • Emmett O'Hanlon, baritone, The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago

  • Christian Pursell, bass-baritone, Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera

  • Abigail Rethwisch, soprano, Santa Fe Apprentice Program / Utah Opera Resident Artist

  • Reginald Smith, Jr., baritone, Winner of Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions / Houston Grand Opera Studio

  • Xiaomeng Zhang, baritone, Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at the Juilliard School

Competitors in the 2018 Competition took home prize monies totaling $18,500. Although this competition has as its primary focus artists in the 18 to 34 age range, singers of any age were eligible to apply and considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition originally focused on young artists with Texas roots or Lone Star academic connections, and its many distinguished alumni include luminaries from throughout the opera world: Latonia Moore, Clifton Forbis, Marjorie Owens, Michael Sumuel, Weston Hurt, Steven LaBrie, Amanda Woodbury, Jesus Garcia.

As the competition sought to gain even greater prominence and significance, The Dallas Opera and The Dallas Opera Guild made significant changes in 2015, prompting Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell to write that the competition had "considerably upped its ante." The evolution didn't stop there:

  • In order to attract the most talented applicant pool with the greatest potential, the eligibility criteria for applicants changed. Today, it is open to residents of all 50 states and U.S. Territories, including international students attending American colleges, universities, and music conservatories. Also eligible are active members of any young artist program associated with an American opera company.

  • During the Finals Round, competing artists will be accompanied by The Dallas Opera Orchestra, guided in 2019 by noted guest conductor Riccardo Frizza. Up to six finalists will participate, singing two arias each.

The impact of these changes was immediately perceived. Senior Classical Music Critic Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of theaterjones.com wrote: "The results surely exceeded expectations for this newly re-envisioned competition...It won't take long to situate itself at the top of such events and become an important gold star on any young artist's résumé."

Winners in 2015 and in the years since have included J'nai Bridges, Anthony Clark Evans, Kang Wang, Virginie Verrez, Samantha Hankey (the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals winner), Laura Wilde, Kihun Yoon, and, most recently, Mario Rojas, Josh Lovell and last year's top prize winner - countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen.

The special guest emcee for this year's Finals Round, Nia Franklin

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