First Round of Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition Begins 4/29

The Dallas Opera is pleased to announce that applications for the expanded and updated Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. (the free Semi-Finals Round, open to the public) andSunday, April 30, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. (Finals Round) are now being accepted.

Applications MUST be submitted via YAP Tracker, along with a $35 entry fee. Go to for the link. The deadline for applications is 11:59 p.m. (Central Time) on Sunday, November 20, 2016.

Those chosen by preliminary round judges to advance to the competition semifinals in the acoustically acclaimed Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center will be personally notified in mid-January 2017, with a public announcement to follow in early February.

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 may apply and will be 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, 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." This year, the evolution continues:

· 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 Spring Gala, will be accompanied by The Dallas Opera Orchestra, conducted by TDO's 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."

Judges for the expanded 29th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition will be drawn from distinguished performers and opera administrators including Keith Cerny, The Dallas Opera's Kern Wildenthal General Director & CEO and the Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director EmManuel Villaume.

The Dallas Opera is very pleased to announce the return of renowned arts administrator, educator and adjudicator Dr. Brian Zeger as Chair of the Judges Panel for the 2017 Vocal Competition. On the faculty of The Juilliard School since 1993 and Artistic Director of Vocal Arts at Juilliard since 2004, Dr. Zeger is also the former Executive Director of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

A prominent broadcast professional and frequent guest on the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, Dr. Zeger has also contributed critical essays for publications such as Opera News, Chamber Music Magazine and The Yale Review. He has participated in countless summer festivals: Ravinia, Santa Fe, Caramoor, Aldeburgh and Aspen, as well as the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival where he served as artistic director from 1993-2000. This native New Yorker has also adjudicated the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Concert Artists Guild Auditions and the Walter W. Naumberg Vocal Competition.

Commented General Director & CEO Keith Cerny: "The Guild Competition took a bold step forward in recent years and the result has been tremendously gratifying! 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 successes.

"Working closely with Dr. Brian Zeger, our esteemed adjudicators, and the Guild, 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 annual Spring Gala one of the most sought-after tickets in town."

Judges for the 2017 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition:

Brian Zeger, Chair

Artistic Director of Juilliard's Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts

Keith Cerny

General Director and CEO, The Dallas Opera

EmManuel Villaume

Music Director, The Dallas Opera

Andreas Melinat

Director of Artistic Planning, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Pal Moe

Casting Director Bavarian State Opera,

Casting Consultant to Glyndebourne Festival and Opera d'Lille

Joshua Winograde

Senior Director of Artistic Planning, Los Angeles Opera

Diane Zola

Director of Artistic Administration, Houston Grand Opera

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."


Potential applicants are encouraged to check TDO's website for more information about the application process: The entry fee is $35. Applications must be submitted exclusively through YAP Tracker -- no later than 11:59 p.m. (Central Time) on Sunday, November 20, 2016. Semi-Finalists will be notified by January 10, 2017. Additional info can be obtained by contacting The Dallas Opera

The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House is conveniently located in the heart of the Arts District at 2403 Flora Street, Dallas, TX 75201.

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