(In photo above: Joan Taub Ades)
Held each March at MSM, the competition features graduating MSM Vocal Arts students who are completing their formal studies and plan to build their careers after graduation.
These students exhibit outstanding talent and strong potential for careers in opera.
The Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition is made possible by generous support from Joan Taub Ades and the late Alan M. Ades, longtime friends and benefactors of the School. Mrs. Taub Ades (HonDMA ’14) is a Trustee Emerita of MSM’s Board of Trustees.
Student of Marlena Malas
Hometown: Beijing, China
Student of Dimitri Pittas
Hometown: Linfen City, China
Student of Mark Schnaible
Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden
Student of Mark Schnaible
Hometown: Racine, Wisconsin
Student of Dimitri Pittas
Hometown: Harlingen, Texas
Student of Marlena Malas
Hometown: Handan, China
The distinguished judges for this year’s final competition being held on March 22 are Christopher Cano (PS ’03) Director of the Cafritz Young Artists Program and American Opera Initiative at Washington National Opera; Hei-Kyung Hong world renowned soprano; and Paul Hopper Associate Artistic Administrator at the Metropolitan Opera.
A seasoned recitalist, orchestra soloist and collaborative pianist, Christopher Cano has performed throughout the US, Mexico, Israel, Europe and the Far East.
Having maintained his private studio in New York City since 2002, Mr. Cano has prepared singers for appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scalla, Chicago Lyric Opera, and orchestral appearances with the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic among others.
As a collaborative artist, he has played in the Master Classes of Licia Albanese, Fedora Barbieri, Anna Moffo, Lauren Flannigan, Martin Katz, Craig Rutenberg, and Suzanne Mentzer. Mr. Cano has also played for the master classes of Marilyn Horne in New York City at Carnegie Hall. As a studio pianist, Mr. Cano has had the distinct privilege of working with some of the great artists and teachers of singing including Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes, Luciano Pavarotti, Marni Nixon, Patricia McCaffrey, Joan Patenaude-Yarnell, Rita Shane and Diana Soviero.
Mr. Cano has been a member of the music staff at the Festival Lyrique en Mer in Belle Isle, France, Toledo Opera, San Diego Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Company of North Carolina, Florida Grand Opera, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, among others.
As a collaborative pianist, Mr. Cano has appeared at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and on WQXR, NPR, and KUAT radio. Mr. Cano made his Carnegie Hall solo debut in the 2017/18 season.
In recital, Mr. Cano has partnered with some of today’s most promising vocal talent including Matthew Polenzani, Susan Graham and Jennifer Johnson Cano.
In 2017, Mr. Cano was appointed as the Head of Music and Director of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio of Arizona Opera and promoted to the position of Director of Artistic Operations in 2022.
Mr. Cano currently holds the position of Director of the Cafritz Young Artist Program and the American Opera Initiative of Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center.
Korean-American soprano Hei-Kyung Hong has appeared at many of the world’s operatic capitals in an enormous variety of roles ranging from Baroque to contemporary works. Following a remarkably successful debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1984 as Servilia in La clemenza di Tito, conducted by James Levine, she has gone on to sing nearly 400 performances at the Met, including the great Mozart roles Ilia, Pamina, Despina, Zerlina, and both the Countess and Susanna; Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare; Puccini’s Mimì and Lauretta; Gilda in Rigoletto and Liù in Turandot (both opposite Luciano Pavarotti); Gounod’s Juliette; Micaëla in Carmen; Violetta in La traviata; Antonia in Les contes d’Hoffmann; Adina in L’elisir d’amore; Marzellina in Fidelio; Rosina in John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles; Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg; and Freia in Das Rheingold, again under James Levine.
Hei-Kyung Hong has sung in all the most renowned theaters in North America. She made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Musetta, her San Francisco Opera debut as Gilda, and has appeared at the opera companies of Dallas, Los Angeles, and Washington, among many others. Her triumphant Canadian Opera Company debut as Mimì was televised throughout Canada.
European theaters have received Hei-Kyung Hong with rare enthusiasm. Her debut at La Scala as Musetta, which resulted in an offer to open their 2004 season in the famed theater’s newly renovated house as Mimì. Her debuts at Covent Garden and in Rome were again as Liù. Paris has heard her as Micaëla, the Countess in Figaro, and as Liù; in Vienna, she has been heard as Mimì; in Munich she has sung both Mimì and the Countess; and in Amsterdam she starred in a new production of La bohème created for her by Pierre Audi.
Hei-Kyung Hong’s orchestral repertoire is as broad as her operatic experience. She has sung Bach with Trevor Pinnock and the Montreal Symphony, and the late conductor and composer Giuseppe Sinopoli wrote his Lou Salome Suite for her, which they premiered together with the New York Philharmonic. She has appeared with the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and many others under conductors such as Charles Dutoit, Mariss Jansons, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, and Lorin Maazel, with whom she sang the Final Scene from Daphne for the Bayerische Rundfunk. Hong also performed Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony at Tanglewood with Levine.
Hei-Kyung Hong presented her sold-out New York recital debut at Alice Tully Hall. That same year, she gave a recital at the White House by special invitation for President Clinton and President Kim of South Korea. She was seen again in Washington for a duo concert marking the North American debut of celebrated tenor Andrea Bocelli at the Kennedy Center’s Spring Gala.
Hei-Kyung Hong’s first solo recording of operatic arias was released in 1998 on RCA Red Seal. The following year she recorded Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi and Bellezze Vocale, a recording of operatic duets with mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore, both for Teldec Classics. Her discography also includes Carmina Burana with the Atlanta Symphony for Telarc Records, Hear My Prayer – a recording of sacred songs with New York City’s Voices of Ascension Chorus –
for Delos Records, and a recording of Korean songs with orchestra for Virgin Classics. The soprano made her recording debut as Woglinde in Das Rheingold for Deutsche Grammophon, under the baton of James Levine, and appears on many other recordings and DVDs originating from her performances at the Metropolitan Opera.
A native of Seoul, South Korea, Hei-Kyung Hong is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and its American Opera Center. While at Juilliard, she participated in master classes given by Tito Gobbi, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Walter Legge, and Gerard Souzay. A winner of the 1982 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, her awards and honors include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, a career grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, and Washington National Opera’s Artist of the Year for her acclaimed performances of Tatiana in Eugene Onegin. She was awarded the Norman Vincent Peale Award for Positive Thinking in October 2007. Hong resides with her family in New York City.
Paul Hopper serves as Associate Artistic Administrator at The Metropolitan Opera where he oversees the casting of secondary roles and covers for all productions. Previously, he was the Assistant Artistic Director at Houston Grand Opera where he assisted in long term artistic planning and casting, managed special artistic initiatives, and guided a variety of audiences in learning more about opera, including numerous events in support of the company’s first Ring Cycle. As principal dramaturg for the company he worked closely with composers and librettists in the commissioning and development of new works. He regularly serves on the juries for international vocal competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera’s Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition, the Queen Sonja International Music Competition, the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, and the Tenor Viñas Competition. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Houston, Paul is also Artistic Advisor for the Lakes Area Music Festival. He previously held positions at the Santa Fe Opera and ADA Artist Management.
The 2022 winners from left to right: Rosario Armas Hernandez (BM '20, MM '22), 3rd Place; Joan Taub Ades; Jouelle Roberson (PS '22), 1st Place; and Jasmine Ismail (MM '21, PS '22), 2nd Place
On March 19, sixteen graduating singers sang in a preliminary round judged by a panel of opera industry professionals. Of those sixteen singers, seven moved on to the final round.
*2020 Ades Vocal Competition finalists who were not able to compete due to the COVID-19 pandemic
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