MSM alumni mezzo-soprano Erin Wagner (BM ’19), tenor Samuel White (PS ’18), and baritone Benjamin Dickerson (BM ’17) have been named winners in the 2024 George and Nora London Foundation Competition for young American and Canadian opera singers, one of the opera world’s oldest and most prestigious competitions. They are pictured above along with the other four principal award winners.
The winners were announced after the competition’s final round on February 16 which took place at Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, with both an in-person and online audience.
Erin Wagner, from El Paso, Texas sang “Sein wir wieder gut” from Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, and won the George London Award of $12,000 in memory of Mary Palumbo, sponsored by Donald Palumbo.
Samuel White, from Columbia, South Carolina sang “Amfortas! Die Wunde” from Wagner’s Parsifal won the George London Award of $12,000 in memory of Lloyd E. Rigler, sponsored by The Lloyd E. Rigler and Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation, James D. Rigler, President.
Benjamin Dickerson, from Burlington, Vermont, sang “Nemico della patria” from Giordano’s Andrea Chénier won the George London Award of $12,000 in memory of Lois Kirschenbaum, sponsored by the George and Nora London Foundation for Singers.
Learn more about the competition here.
OPERA America Salutes brings together artists, producers, and champions to celebrate some of the field’s most accomplished figures. The event this year took place on January 26 in NYC and showcased performances by artists in Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, including Daniel Rich (MM ’19), in photo above.
Baltimore-born baritone Daniel Rich is in his second year in the Met program. During the 2023–24 season at the Met, he is appearing as Pâris in Roméo et Juliette and as Chester in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones.
OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation, and enjoyment of opera. Founded in 1970, the organization has a membership that includes over 600 opera companies, educational institutions, affiliated businesses, and other entities.
More about Daniel Rich at the Met here.
More about OPERA America and the gala event here.
Photo by MSM President James Gandre
Shortly before his MET Opera debut in Nabucco on Sept 26, SeokJong Baek (BM ’16, MM ’18) is interviewed by The New York Times in his native South Korea about his career transition from baritone to tenor.
SeokJong Baek will also be performing at the MET later this year in Turandot.
Read article here.
Soprano Laquita Mitchell (MM ’01, PS ’02) is featured as Opera Wire‘s Artist of the Week on January 3. She will be singing the title role in Tom Cipullo’s Josephine part of the New Orleans Opera’s January 6 event “An Homage to Josephine Baker.”
This season, Ms. Mitchell performs with the On Site Opera, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Art Song Society, and Albany Pro Musica. In summer 2022, she will headline in the highly anticipated world premiere of Omar at the Spoleto Festival in the role of Julie.
Learn more about Laquita Mitchell here.
Jorge Parodi is conducting the world premiere of The Threepenny Carmen as part of the Big Tent series in Atlanta, Georgia, overseen by Atlanta Opera’s artistic director Tomer Zvulun. The production is being held in a custom-made tent with open walls in the parking lot of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta April 23, 25, 28, & 30 as well as May 2, 6, & 8.
In this adaptation of Carmen, Parodi oversees a cast of 13 performers, down from the usual cast size of 66. The Threepenny Carmen runs 90 minutes compared to George Bizet’s three-hour work.
Read more about the production here.
The New York Times has published a stunning editorial feature looking behind the scenes of closed theaters in NYC during the pandemic.
The text to the feature is a beautiful poem by Tazewell Thompson, Director of Opera Studies at MSM.
See the article here.
The respected Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) has announced the expansion of its Board of Directors to include three new members including MSM Senior Opera Theatre Music Director, along with Michael Ching and Howard Watkins.
The Festival brings classical vocal excellence to the Savannah area through a two-week celebration of concerts, events and educational presentations during the month of August and throughout the year.
Learn more here.
MSM voice faculty member Catherine Malfitano (BM ’71) will perform the role of Prima Donna July 4–22 at the Théâtre De L’Archevêché during the 2019 Festival D’Aix-En-Provence. The legendary soprano won an Emmy Award for her performance in the title role of Tosca opposite Plácido Domingo (HonDMA ’18) in 1992, when the opera was broadcast live from Rome to viewers worldwide. Ms. Malfitano has also directed new productions of Tosca for the Florida Grand Opera and the English National Opera.
Tickets for Tosca at Festival AIX are available for purchase here.
Photo by Rose Callahan
Alumna Alaysha Fox (BM ’13, MM ’15) has been selected as a member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program for the 2019-20 season.
After a series of nationwide auditions, the 25 top candidates were invited to Los Angeles and New York City to perform for opera legend Plácido Domingo (HonDMA ’18); President and CEO Christopher Koelsch; the program’s Artistic Advisor, the distinguished mezzo-soprano Susan Graham (MM ’87, HonDMA ’08); and the company’s Senior Director of Artistic programs, Joshua Winograde, along with Nino Sanikidze, the head coach for the program.
Read the full press release here.
Alumnus Brett Sprague (MM ’12) will perform at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in the role of Lord Barrat in a new production of Henze’s opera, Der junge Lord. Performances are May 23, 26, 30, June 5, 8, 14. Later in the summer, he will perform the role of Pedrillo in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Theater Nordhausen. During his time at Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Sprague performed the roles of Almaviva in Ghosts of Versailles (Corigliano), Ferrando in Così fan tutte (Mozart), and La voz en la fragua in La Vida Breve (de Falla).
For more information on Brett Sprague, visit his website.
MSM Opera Theater alumni Alaysha Fox, Soprano (BM ’13, MM ’15) and William Guanbo Su, Bass (BM ’17) have been selected to compete in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals Concert this Sunday, March 31 at 3PM.
The special event, which has launched the careers of some of opera’s biggest stars like Renée Fleming and Thomas Hampson, will be hosted by another all-star MSM alumnus, Anthony Roth Costanzo.
Purchase tickets to the concert here.
Alumna Niru Liu (MM ’15, PS ’16) joins the Summer 2019 Wolf Trap Opera as a Filene Artist, and will play the roles of Diamantine in Merlin’s Island and Berta in The Barber of Seville. Liu, a mezzo-soprano, is also a 2018-19 Season Young Artist with LA Opera. During her time at MSM, she performed as Troisième Sorcière in Bloch’s Macbeth and 3rd Lady in The Magic Flute.
Purchase tickets to WTO’s productions here.
Baritone Justin Austin (BM ’14, MM ’17) will perform in Munich beginning Saturday, March 16th as Bello in their new production of Puccini’s La Fanciulla Del West. For the 2018/19 season, Mr. Austin returns to Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, New York Festival of Song, and will make solo debuts with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Copland House, Mise-En-Scène Studios, Opera Saratoga, and the Munich Opera Festival. Justin shares, “I’m incredibly excited and I owe MSM for making it possible for me to live my dreams.”
Purchase tickets to the Bayerische Staatsoper’s production here.
Star countertenor and member of MSM’s Artistic Advisory Council, Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08), sings the lead role of the pharaoh, the revolutionary ruler who transformed ancient Egypt. Mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09) makes her MET debut as his wife, Nefertiti. Directed by Phelim McDermott, the production kicks off the Metropolitan Opera’s 2019-2020 season.
For tickets and more information, visit the MET website
William Guanbo Su (BM ’17, Voice) placed 2nd at the 31st annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers Concert of Arias which took place in the Cullen Theater of the Wortham Theater Center in Houston. It is considered one of the most highly esteemed singing competitions in the United States, with judges including HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers, HGO Managing Director Perryn Leech, and guest judge Lawrence Brownlee, the renowned tenor now appearing in HGO’s The Pearl Fishers.
Learn more about the competition here
Learn more about William Guanbo Su here
Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo talks to F. Paul Driscoll about his double-sided career as singer and producer.
The World Opera Competition was founded in 1993 by Plácido Domingo to discover the best young opera singers of today. Finals take place in Lisbon, Portugal, on September 2.
The couple, who met as students at Manhattan School of Music, are featured in the Santa Fe New Mexican “This Couple is on Fire.”
Read the article
“Educator Dawn Upshaw brings a unique perspective on performing and a passion for sharing her experiences to her mission of shaping aspiring singers.”
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