10 current or former UK students in Saturday's competition for Met

rcopley@herald-leader.comNovember 18, 2011 

  • If You Go

    Met auditions

    What: The Metropolitan Opera National Council Kentucky District Auditions

    When: 10 a.m. Nov. 19

    Where: University of Kentucky Memorial Hall, 610 S. Limestone.

    Admission: Free

The field is set for the first step to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera for aspiring singers: Saturday's Metropolitan Opera National Council Kentucky District Auditions.

And it has led to New York for several singers from Kentucky including Gregory Turay (1995), Corey Crider (2001), Afton Battle (2007) and Andrea Trusty, who went to the national semifinals last year and will return to compete Saturday.

Joining Trusty on the stage of the University of Kentucky's Memorial Hall will be two other previous Kentucky District winners, Amanda Balltrip and Reginald Smith Jr. Smith also advanced to the regionals last year and placed third, but did not advance to New York.

At the judges' discretion, three or four winners advance from the Kentucky District to the Mid-South Regional Round, Feb. 11 in Germantown, Tenn. Usually only one winner from the regional round goes to the national semifinals in New York, though judges occasionally select two to move on.

UK has had only one competitor advance to the national finals in New York since Turay won at that level: Mark Whatley in 2002.

In all, there are 10 current or former UK students in Saturday's field of 30 singers. As in recent years past, the competition, which usually attracts several hundred area opera lovers, will start at 10 a.m. and be a full day of singing, with winners usually announced late in the afternoon.

The judges this year are Wagnerian soprano Johanna Meier, tenor and Boardwalk Empire actor Anthony Laciura and celebrated baritone Sherrill Milnes, who will also offer a master class at 2 p.m. Sunday in Memorial Hall.


Arianna Afshari, 23, soprano. Lexington. Pursuing bachelor's, UK.

Emily Albrink, 29, soprano. Louisville. Master's, Manhattan School of Music; bachelor's, University of Michigan.

Conor Angell, 27, baritone. Greensboro, N.C. Pursuing doctorate, Indiana University; master's, UNC-Greensboro; bachelor's, Taylor University.

Suna Avci, 26, soprano. Darien, Ill.; master's, IU; bachelor's, Northwestern University.

Amanda Balltrip, 26, soprano. Hazard. Bachelor's and master's, UK. Previous Kentucky District winner.Cynthian Brundage, 27, mezzo-soprano. Annandale, Va. Master's, University of Michigan; bachelor's, Virginia Tech.

Dannica Jolene Burson, 29, soprano. Ventura, Calif. Master's, UK; bachelor's, California Institute of the Arts.

Nicholas Davis, 21, baritone. Clarksville, Tenn. Pursuing bachelor's, UK.

Claire DiVizio, 23, soprano. Beverly Hills, Mich. Pursuing master's, University of Louisville; bachelor's, University of Michigan.

Rebecca Farley, 21, soprano. Henderson. Pursuing bachelor's, UK.Jonathan R. Green, 28, baritone. Chicago. Pursuing master's, UK; bachelor's, Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Thomas Gunther, 28, baritone. Muscatine, Iowa. Artist diploma, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; master's, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Emily Holsclaw, 25, soprano. Dublin, Ohio. Pursuing performance diploma in opera, IU; master's, Ohio State University.

Mitchell Hutchings, 26, baritone. Lexington. Master's, Florida State University.

M. Andrew Jones, 25, tenor. Moline, Ill. Master's University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; bachelor's, Luther College.Julie LaDouceur, 25, soprano. Lexington; master's and pursuing doctorate, UK; bachelor's, Stetson University.

YoonGeong Lee, 26, soprano. Seoul, South Korea. Master's and pursuing doctorate, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; bachelor's, Seoul National University.

Luther Lewis, 25, tenor. Evansville, Ind. Pursuing bachelor's, UK.

Mary Paxitzis, 28, mezzo-soprano. Deer Park, Ohio. Bachelor's, Wright State University.

Craig Philip Price, 29, baritone. Lexington. Master's, Manhattan School of Music; bachelor's, Furman University.David Sauer, 27, tenor. New York. Master's, Manhattan School of Music; bachelor's, Brigham Young University.

Catheryne Shuman, 26, soprano. Fishers, Ind. Pursuing professional diploma, Roosevelt University; master's, Cleveland Institute of Music; bachelor's, DePauw University.

Reginald Smith Jr., 23, baritone. Atlanta. Pursuing bachelor's, UK. Previous Kentucky District winner.

Alexandra Smith, 26, soprano. Louisville. Master's, Manhattan School of Music; bachelor's, Roosevelt University.

Samantha Stein, 26, soprano. Cincinnati. Master's, Chicago College of Performing Arts; bachelor's, State University of New York-Purchase College Conservatory of Music.

Rachel Sterrenberg, 22, soprano. Madison, Ga. Pursuing bachelor's, UK.

Andrea Trusty, 30, soprano. Ezel. Master's, Rice University; bachelor's, Morehead State University. Previous Kentucky District winner.

Vincent Turregano, 24, baritone. Alexandria, La. Master's, Louisiana State University; bachelor's, Centenary College of Louisiana.

Xi Wang, 28, soprano. Zhengzhou, China. Artist diploma, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; master's, San Francisco Conservatory.

Rachel Wood, 26, mezzo-soprano. London, Ontario. Pursuing doctorate, IU; bachelor's and master's, University of Western Ontario.

Reach Rich Copley at (859) 231-3217 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3217. Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/richcopleyhl.

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