March 20, 2024

MSM Vocal Arts alumnus Daniel Espinal is named a winner of the 2024 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition

Tenor and MSM alumnus Daniel Espinal (BM ’22) is one of five winners of this year’s Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. Each of this year’s winners receives a $20,000 prize as well as a significant career boost from the renown and exposure that comes with winning such an important competition. The prestigious competition has launched the careers of many opera luminaries.

In winning the 2024 Metropolitan Opera Laffort Competition on March 17, Daniel  joins an impressive group of MSM alumni who have also won over the years, including Le Bu (BM ’22), Hongni Wu (MM ’17, PS ’18), Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08, HonDMA ’22), and Susan Graham (MM ’87, HonDMA ’08).

This year’s competition was hosted by Denyce Graves with guest artist bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green and Evan Rogister conducting.

Yulin Wang (MM ’25), tenor and Zhenpeng Zhang (MM ’23, PS ’24), baritone, both students of Cynthia Hoffman at MSM, won Encouragement Awards during the Competition.

The Laffont Competition is one of opera’s largest and most prestigious competitions with more than 1,500 applicants in 2024. After passing a rigorous prescreening process, participants compete in four rounds of audition categories: Districts, Regionals, Semi-Finals, and Finals.

L to R: Daniel Espinal (BM '22), Meridian Prall, Emily Richter, Lydia Grindatto, Navasard Hakobyan
(Photo courtsy of Natalie Powers/Met Opera)

About Daniel Espinal’s first place win with four others:

Daniel won the Connecticut District and New England Region, before becoming a National Semi-Finalist and then National Finalist. During the final round, he sang a stunning “Quel trouble inconnu…Salut! demeure chaste et pure” from Gounod’s Faust and “Lunge da lei…De’ miei bollenti spiriti” from Verdi’s La traviata. 

I sang my first Alfredo at 19 years of age under the baton of the late [MSM faculty member] Thomas Muraco. It felt like coming full circle to sing Alfredo on the Met stage after he had told me I would sing it there eventually. I count my blessings and will continue to keep striving for the stars.

Daniel first sang “Lunge da lei…De’ miei bollenti spiriti” during his sophomore year at MSM. He sang the role of Alfredo in MSM Opera Repertoire Ensemble (ORE)’s production of La traviata, which was conducted and coached by Thomas Muraco who passed away earlier this year.


Daniel as Alfredo in La traviata, Spring 2020

Daniel studied with Shirley Close at MSM and was the recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant. His performance credits at MSM include Die Zauberflöte (Tamino), La traviata (Alfredo), and Mozart’s Requiem (Tenor soloist). He sang in the finals of the inaugural Duncan Williams Voice Competition held at MSM in February 2023, and was a winner of the competition’s Black and Latinx Art Song Presentation. Daniel will join the prestigious Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago this fall.

Daniel Espinal, left, with MSM President James Gandre at the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition earlier this month

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