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29th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition Brings Together 20 Young Opera Singers, 4/29-30

Twenty of the finest young opera singers in the United States will be competing in the 29th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition presented, jointly, by The Dallas Opera and The Dallas Opera Guild.

These talented artists will compete onstage in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas on April 29 & 30, 2017. At stake are thousands of dollars in cash awards and coveted honors including the "People's Choice Award" selected during the Finals Round by audience ballot. The competition will serve as the centerpiece of The Dallas Opera's glamorousSprings Gala, an annual fundraising celebration of opera's fast-rising stars.

Patrons have the option of attending

· The free Semi-Finals Round on April 29th

· The complete Springs Gala evening on April 30th

· The Finals Round and Awards Ceremony only on April 30th

· Or, the Finals Round, Awards Ceremony and the post-performance party!

Tickets range from absolutely free (for the April 29th Semi-Finals) to $5 for the Finals Round and Awards Ceremony (available online at

A $750 "host ticket" will cover the entire gala evening, including a seated, gourmet, pre-competition dinner at 5:30 p.m., early seating for the vocal competition Finals Round at 7:30 p.m., and an invitation to the festive post-competition celebration at the Winspear Opera House.

For more information about the 2017 Springs Gala, visit or contact Special Events Manager Tracy Mott at

With a renewed focus on encouraging the next generation of opera artists and audiences, proceeds from this stellar evening will go to support the multifaceted education programs of The Dallas Opera.

Two great Dallas Opera traditions create one truly remarkable evening of music, competition and celebration! It is certain to be an affair-and a weekend-you won't want to miss!

Commented Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny: "The Guild Competition took a bold step forward in recent years and the results have been electrifying! EmManuel Villaume and The Dallas Opera Orchestra have brought a significant level of excitement to these performances and clearly inspired last year's finalists to rise to the occasion.

"However, each competition brings an entirely new set of challenges and gives us additional opportunities to build upon our previous success.

"Working closely with Dr. Brian Zeger, our esteemed adjudicators, and the Guild itself, we continually seek new ways to attract the very finest young singers of this generation. Their presence on the Winspear stage also promises to make our second annual Springs Gala: An Evening of Rising Stars, one of the most sought-after tickets in town.

"I am also extremely pleased that, with the energetic leadership of Brian Zeger," Cerny adds, "we have been able to assemble such a distinguished panel of industry leaders and decision makers to judge this stellar event, making it a unique showcase for artists ready to take their careers to a higher level."

This year, the twenty semi-finalists were selected from a group of 364 applicants from 35 states-and one competitor currently residing in Germany (residents of the U.S. territories are eligible to apply for the prestigious competition, as well) 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, Casting and Hart Institute for Women Conductors Manager.

The quest for these gifted young singers will begin with the Semi-Finals Round of the Vocal Competition at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

Six finalists will be selected to return the following evening, Sunday, April 30th at 7:30 p.m., to perform with The Dallas Opera Orchestra, conducted by internationally acclaimed Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director EmManuel Villaume.

"I am very proud to collaborate with our Guild on the expanded national competition," adds Keith Cerny, the Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO. "This is an outstanding opportunity for the entire community to experience opera's 'next wave' and to show their enthusiasm and support for the hopes and dreams of these deserving young artists."



· Jared Bybee, baritone, age 30, Resident Artist at Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia

· HelEna Brown, soprano, age 28, Resident Artist at Glimmerglass Festival

· Raehann Bryce-Davis, mezzo-soprano, age 30, Merola Opera Program Graduate

· Jacquelyn Stucker, soprano, age 27, Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program Graduate

· Mane Galoyan, soprano, age 23, Currently at Houston Grand Opera Studio

· Leah Hawkins, soprano, age 26, Resident Artist at the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera

· Takaoki Onishi, baritone, age 29, Member of the Ryan Center at Lyric Opera Chicago

· Theo Hoffman, baritone, age 23, Member of Domingo Colburn Stein Young Artists Los Angeles Opera

· Alasdair Kent, tenor, age 29, Resident Artist at Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia

· Alexandra Loutsion, soprano, age 33, Pittsburgh Opera Studio Graduate

· Alyssa Martin, mezzo-soprano, age 27, Member of the Arizona Opera Studio

· Meredith Mecum, soprano, age 31, Merola Opera Program Graduate

· Miles Mykkanen, tenor, age 25, Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at the Juilliard School of Music

· Daniel Noyola, bass-baritone, age 24, Resident Artist at Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia

· Mario Rojas, tenor, age 23, Member of the Ryan Center at Lyric Opera Chicago

· Brent Turner, tenor, age 33, 2016 McCammon Competition Winner

· Laura Wilde, soprano, age 30, Member of the Ryan Center at Lyric Opera Chicago

· Kihun Yoon, baritone, age 35, Member of Domingo Colburn Stein Young Artists Los Angeles Opera

· Samantha Hankey, mezzo-soprano, age 24, Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at the Juilliard School of Music

· Xiaomeng Zhang, baritone, age 23, Masters in Music at Manhattan School of Music Graduate

Competitors in the 2016 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, Weston Hurt, Steven LaBrie, Amanda Woodbury, Jesus Garcia, J'nai Bridges, Anthony Clark Evans, and most recently, Kang Wang and Virginie Verrez.

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.

· The Finals Round, taking place on Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 7:30 pm in the Winspear Opera House as part of The Dallas Opera's annual Springs Gala, will be accompanied by The Dallas Opera Orchestra, conducted by TDO's internationally acclaimed Music Director, EmManuel Villaume. 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 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."

Dallas Opera Guild Co-President Jana Irwin explained that "The Dallas Opera Guild views this annual competition as the capstone of our philanthropic and supportive endeavors. The need to support the future of opera is so profound, particularly as it relates to young and somewhat unknown singers. As singers are selected, their professional stature automatically increases due to press and media exposure. However, the competition itself provides additional benefits for these singers, as well as the local opera community. It is truly a win-win situation for all concerned."

Dallas Opera Guild 2017 Vocal Competition Chairs Bob and Patsy Brooks write: "The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition gives singers pursuing a professional opera career the opportunity to showcase their talents and compete with other singers for financial rewards. Best of all is the chance to perform before a panel of distinguished judges celebrated throughout the opera world.

Lexus Red Parking is available for just $5 at both the Semi-Finals Round, from 11:00 AM until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 29th as well as the Finals Round of the competition the following evening, Sunday, April 30th at 7:30 p.m. in the Winspear Opera House.

The list of judges for the 2017 Vocal Competition reads like an opera management "Who's Who":

Judges for the 2017 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition:

Brian Zeger, Chair

Artistic Director of the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts

The Juilliard School

Keith Cerny

The Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO of The Dallas Opera

EmManuel Villaume

The Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director, The Dallas Opera

Andreas Melinat

Director of Artistic Planning, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Pal Moe

Casting Director, Bavarian State Opera;

Casting Consultant, Glyndebourne Festival and Opéra de Lille

Joshua Winograde

Senior Director, Artistic Planning, Los Angeles Opera

Diane Zola

Director of Artistic Administration, Houston Grand 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 Guild Vocal Competition. For the eighteenth consecutive year, attendees will be given the chance to vote on their personal favorites to receive the "People's Choice Award."

Honoring Dr. Susan Fleming

This year's vocal competition honors former Dallas Opera Guild President and current Board Member, Dr. Susan Fleming, renowned for her philanthropy and leadership as well as her continuing work with children with communication disorders.

As a bachelor's and master's student in speech pathology and audiology at SMU, she thrived in the classroom. Her career path included working at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, directing the preschool at the Greenhill School and maintaining her own private practice. Over the years, Dr. Fleming honed her skills by providing evaluations of children, designing curriculum and working in admissions.

She joined the Shelton Evaluation Center (a division of the Shelton School) in 1993; serving as director until 2009 when she became director emeritus of the center.

Dr. Fleming dedicates her time away from work to numerous professional and volunteer organizations. She is co-chair of the Dream Team of the Rotary Club of Dallas, a program that provides mentors, encouragement and scholarships to local high school students who might otherwise be unable to attend college. Dr. Fleming recently became a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) in Dallas, appointed by judges to work for a year with specific children removed from their home environments by CPS. This UT Dallas Distinguished Alumni Award winner has held numerous positions with the Dallas Opera Guild Board.

"I am touched by my selection," writes Susan Fleming, "as this places me in the company of the dynamic guild leaders I have admired; those who have contributed so much to The Dallas Opera Guild's effectiveness in promoting and sustaining the annual Vocal Competition.

"Each person who contributes to this competition," she adds, "should feel proud to be helping promote young singers as they strive for success in this especially beautiful art form."








The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family

The Dallas Opera Family Performances are generously supported by

Texas Instruments and the Betty and Steve Suellentrop

Educational Outreach Fund.

TDO Family Performances are a part of the

Perot Foundation Education and Community Outreach Programs

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise indicated. Single Tickets range from $19 to $275. Full Subscriptions (five opera productions) begin at $95; Flex Subscriptions (three-performances of your choice) begin at $75. Family performance tickets are just $5. For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at


The Dallas Opera celebrates its Sixtieth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sundaymatinees begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired. The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk will begin one hour prior to curtain, at most performances excluding FIRST NIGHT of the season.

MADAME BUTTERFLY by Giacomo Puccini

March 10, 12(m), 15, 18, 24, & 26(m), 2017

The must see, heart-wrenching Italian opera!

Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa & Luigi Illica

Time: 1904

Place: Nagasaki, Japan

Conductor: Donato Renzetti

Stage Director: John Copley

Set Designer: Michael Yeargan

Costume Designer: Anita Yavich

Lighting Designer: Duane Schuler

Wig & Make-up Designer: Stephanie Williams

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Starring: Hui He* (Cio-Cio-San), Gianluca Terranova* (B.F. Pinkerton), Manuela Custer (Suzuki), Lucas Meachem* (Sharpless), David Cangelosi (Goro), Reginald Smith, Jr.* (The Bonze), Will Hughes (Prince Yamadori), Mark McCrory (Imperial Commissioner), Samuel P.J. Lopez (Registrar), Angela Turner Wilson (Kate Pinkerton), Sorrow (TBD)

A classic, period production (new to Dallas) from the San Francisco Opera!

THE TURN OF THE SCREW by Benjamin Britten

March 17, 19(m), 22 & 25, 2017

A dark and gripping tale!

Libretto by Myfanwy Piper

Time: 1950s

Place: Bly, an English country house

Conductor: Nicole Paiement

Original Production: Jonathan Kent

Stage Director: Francesca Gilpin*

Set Designer: Paul Brown

Costume Designer: Paul Brown

Original Lighting Designer: Mark Henderson

Lighting Design Recreated by: David Manion

Wig and Make-up Designer: Stephanie Williams

Starring: William Burden (Prologue/Peter Quint), Emma Bell* (Governess), Oliver Nathanielsz* (Miles), Ashley Emerson* (Flora), Dolora Zajick* (Mrs. Grose), Alexandra LoBianco* (Miss Jessel)

An acclaimed production from Glyndebourne!

NORMA by Vincenzo Bellini

April 21, 23(m), 26, 29, May 7(m), 2017

A thrilling and suspenseful masterpiece!

Libretto by Felice Romani

Time: 50 B.C.

Place: Roman-occupied Gaul

Conductor: EmManuel Villaume

Stage Director: Nic Muni

Set Designer: John Conklin

Costume Designer: John Conklin

Lighting Designer: Thomas Hase

Wig & Make-up Designer: Stephanie Williams

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Starring: Elza van den Heever (Norma), Marina Costa Jackson* (Adalgisa), YongHoon Lee* (Pollione), Christian Van Horn (Oroveso), Mithra Mastropierro* (Clotilde), Charles Karanja (Flavio)

An atmospheric production from Cincinnati Opera!

* Dallas Opera Debut

** American Debut

The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: Texas Instruments Foundation, TACA, City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera. Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News. A special thanks to the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.

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