First stage of Metropolitan Opera contest brings 16 singers to UK

rcopley@herald-leader.comNovember 21, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    Met Auditions

    What: Kentucky District round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions

    When: 1 p.m. Nov. 23

    Where: University of Kentucky Memorial Hall, end of Funkhauser Dr.

    Admission: Free

    Learn more: Lexingtonopera.com

We usually don't go to the theater looking for someone to win. Maybe we feel like winners if we get to see a particularly great show.

But it is that time of year in Lexington when singing becomes competition as 16 hopefuls square off Saturday afternoon in the Kentucky District round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Traditionally, three hopefuls win cash and advance to the regional round, which will be Feb. 8 in Memphis, although the judges have latitude to expand or contract the slate of winners.

As usual, it is a distinguished slate of judges: Met sopranos Carol Vaness and Johanna Meier, and baritone Dominic Cossa. Vaness will give a master class Sunday, which is open to the public.

In recent years, the Kentucky District field has been growing to near its 30-singer limit, making it a daylong affair. But this year, there are only 16 competitors; the competition will start at 1 p.m. in the University of Kentucky's Memorial Hall, and organizers with the Lexington Opera Society say they expect to be done by 4:30.

District chairman Clifton Smith said he did not know why the field was down this year. But that should make for an even tighter competition.

THE COMPETITORS

Here's a quick snapshot of this year's hopefuls.

Brittany Benning field, 29, soprano. Hometown: Hodgenville. Education: master's (2011) and pursuing Ph.D., UK; bachelor's, Campbellsville University (2007).

Allan Palacios Chan, 29, tenor. Hometown: Woodbridge, Va. Education: master's (2012) and pursuing Ph.D., University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; bachelor's, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. (2008).

Annalise Dzwon czyk, 21, soprano. Hometown: Avon Lake, Ohio. Education: pursuing bachelor's, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Elizabeth Maurey, 22, soprano. Hometown: Lexington. Education: pursuing bachelor's, UK.

Andrew Robert Munn, 27, bass. Hometown: Fayetteville, W.Va. Education: pursuing bachelor's, University of Michigan.

Whitney Myers, 29, soprano. Hometown: Johnson City, Tenn. Education: bachelor's, UK (2007); master's, University of North Carolina, Greensboro (2009); pursuing Ph.D., UK.

Luis Alejandro Orozco, 29, baritone. Hometown: El Paso, Texas. Education: master's (2011) and artist diploma (2013), University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Jose Rubio, 30, baritone. Hometown: Vancouver, Wash. Education: master's (2008) and artist diploma (2012), University of Cincinnati College- Conservatory of Music.

Adrienne Renee Sereta, 25, soprano. Hometown: Bay Village, Ohio. Education: bachelor's, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin, Ohio (2011); master's, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (2013).

Laikin Simons, 22, soprano. Hometown: Paducah. Education: pursuing bachelor's, UK.

Megan Ann Slack, 25, soprano. Hometown: Lexington. Education: bachelor's (2011) and master's (2012), Oberlin Conservatory, Oberlin, Ohio; pursuing master's, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Wm. Clay Thompson, 22, bass. Hometown: Lexington. Education: pursuing bachelor's, UK.

Sarah Toth, 29, soprano. Hometown: Greenville, Ill. Education: bachelor's, Greenville College, Greenville, Ill. (2006); master's, Ithaca College, Ithaca, N.Y. (2011); master's, Sydney Conservatorium, Sydney, Australia (2013).

Matthew Turner, 26, bass. Hometown: Jackson. Education: pursuing bachelor's, UK.

Melinda Whittington, 29, soprano. Hometown: Charlotte, N.C. Education: bachelor's (2005) and master's (2009), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Benjamin Zaksek, 30, tenor. Hometown: Mount Pleasant, Pa. Education: bachelor's, Kent State University (2006).


IF YOU GO

Met Auditions

What: Kentucky District round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions

When: 1 p.m. Nov. 23

Where: University of Kentucky Memorial Hall, end of Funkhauser Dr.

Admission: Free

Learn more: Lexingtonopera.com

Rich Copley: (859) 231-3217. Twitter: @copiousnotes. Blog: Copiousnotes.bloginky.com.

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