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TCO Next: Competition Winners Announced

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The competition ended in a streamed concert on Sunday, October 18th.

TCO Next: Competition Winners Announced

Tri-Cities Opera (TCO): The 71-year-old opera company concluded its first annual TCO Next: A Virtual Vocal Competition in a streamed concert on Sunday, October 18th. Schyler Vargas, baritone was named winner of The Wilson Family Prize (1st Place) which includes $3000 and a future role with Tri-Cities Opera. Other winners include: The Visions Federal Credit Union Prize (2nd Place, $2000): Chasiti Lashay, soprano; The George Akel Memorial Prize (3rd Place, $1000 each): TIED Rachel Blaustein, soprano and Allen Michael Jones, bass; The Hibbitt Savoca Prize (A Residency with TCO in the '21-'22 season and $100): Melissa Joseph, soprano; and The Audience Choice Award ($250): Kelly Glyptis, soprano. Remaining finalists (tenor Aaron Crouch; soprano Symone Harcum; soprano Grace Kahl; tenor Dane Suarez; baritone Ethan Vincent) were each awarded $100.

The first round was adjudicated anonymously (by preliminary round judges TCO Artistic Advisor Jenni Bank, mezzo-soprano Tesia Kwarteng, and TCO General Director John Rozzoni) through numbered audio recordings leading to the selection of twenty eight semi-finalists. Semi-finalists then submitted video recordings which were edited to create compact getting-to-know-you videos that were published on facebook allowing the audience to vote via "likes" to determine the Audience Choice Award winner.

The group of 28 singers was narrowed to a group of 10 finalists whose full video submissions were passed to the final round judges: Stage director Crystal Manich, bass Morris Robinson, and composer Kamala Sankaram scored and thoroughly discussed each singer then selected the winners who were announced via an engaging part-reality-television, part-classical-recital, facebook-live concert.

During the streamed broadcast, TCO reaffirmed its commitment to creating opportunities for the many wonderful artists who make opera possible. "The pandemic has affected all of us deeply," said John Rozzoni, General Director. "We are thrilled to be in a position to offer visibility, encouragement, and financial support to such spectacular up-and-coming talent."

Tri-Cities Opera was founded in 1949 by the late Peyton Hibbitt and Carmen Savoca. Known throughout the region for its exceptional productions, Resident Artist Training Program, set and costume rental business, and Opera-Go-Round (an educational tour that reaches 17,000+ children each year), TCO has been honored by the National Board of Directors of Opera America, and has received the President's Medal from Binghamton University and the prestigious New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Governor's Award.

Tri-Cities Opera productions are made possible by the NYSCA with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. General Operating Support is provided to Tri-Cities Opera by a grant from the Broome County Arts Council's United Cultural Fund and the Conrad and Virginia Klee Foundation. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


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