Next stop, Memphis.
After years in the Tri-State Region of Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, competitors in the Kentucky District Round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are now competing in the Mid-South Region of Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. The top three competitors in Saturday's showdown at the University of Kentucky's Memorial Hall will be sent to Memphis for the regional finals.
All of this probably won't be too noticeable to spectators Saturday. The event is pretty much the same as it has been the past decade, with many familiar faces returning to take a shot at the biggest opera competition in the land. World-renowned bass-baritone Samuel Ramey leads the panel of judges, who will include Danielle Orlando, master vocal coach at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and the principal opera coach of the Curtis Institute of Music; and William J. Powers, director of artistic administration and artistic operations of Pittsburgh Opera.
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And, as has become typical in the Kentucky Districts, the field of competitors is now more than 20, so the auditions will begin at 10 a.m. with a one-hour lunch break at noon.THE AUDITIONERS
Here's a look at this year's auditioners.
Matt Brown. Tenor. Age 30. Hometown: Elgin, Ill. School: Bachelor's and master's, Western Illinois University; pursuing performer diploma at Indiana University.
Dannica J. Burson. Soprano. 28. Ventura, Calif. Bachelor's, California Institute of the Arts; master's, University of Kentucky; pursuing doctorate at UK.
Rebecca Farley. Soprano. 20. Henderson. Pursuing bachelor's at UK.
Holly Elizabeth Flack. Soprano. 23. Portland, Ore. Bachelor's, St. Olaf College; pursuing master's at UK.
Annie Gill. Soprano. 29. Cincinnati. Bachelor's, Indiana University; master's, Boston University; performance diploma, Peabody Conservatory.Ellen Graham. Mezzo-soprano. 29. Cincinnati. Bachelor's, Carnegie Mellon University; master's, Miami University; pursuing doctorate at UK.
Jonathan R. Green. Baritone. 27. Chicago. Bachelor's, Oberlin Conservatory; pursuing master's at UK.
Mary-Hollis Hundley. Soprano. 22. Louisville. Pursuing bachelor's at UK.
Mitchell Hutchings. Baritone. 25. Monroe, N.C. Bachelor's, Western Carolina University; master's, Florida State University.
Ji Hyun Jang. Soprano. 27. South Korea. Master's, Peabody Conservatory; artist's diploma, Cleveland Institute of Music; pursuing doctorate at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Dione Johnson. Soprano. 25. Jackson, Tenn. Master's, Cincinnati; pursuing doctorate at UK.
Mark A. Kano. Tenor. 28. Murfreesboro, Tenn. Bachelor's, Middle Tennessee State University; master's, UK.
Sarah Klopfenstein. Mezzo-soprano. 28. Lexington. Bachelor's, Texas Christian University; master's, UK.
Ursula Kuhar. Mezzo-soprano. 26. Bloomington, Ind. Bachelor's and master's, Butler University; pursuing doctorate at Indiana University.
Julie LaDouceur. Soprano. 24. Daytona Beach, Fla. Bachelor's, Stetson University; master's, UK.Luther Lewis III. Tenor. 24. Evansville, Ind. Pursuing bachelor's at UK.
Marlayna Maynard. Soprano. 27. Huntington, W.Va. Bachelor's, Marshall University; master's, Bowling Green State University.
Johanna Moffitt. Soprano. 28. Buffalo, N.Y. Bachelor's, Belmont University; master's, State University of New York-Fredonia; pursuing doctorate at Indiana.
Monica Niemi. Soprano. 28. South Bend, Ind. Bachelor's, Indiana University.
Hana Park. Soprano. 29. Seoul, South Korea. Master's, Cincinnati, pursuing doctorate at Cincinnati.Joseph P. Ryan. Baritone. 29. Cincinnati. Bachelor's and master's, Cincinnati.
Rachele Schmiege. Soprano. 28. Boston. Bachelor's, Western Michigan University; master's, New England Conservatory.
Reginald Smith Jr. Baritone. 22. Atlanta. Pursuing bachelor's at UK.
Andrea Trusty. Soprano. 29. Ezel, Ky. Bachelor's, Morehead State University; master's, Rice University.
Jonathan Zeng. Tenor. 28. Cincinnati. Bachelor's, Western Illinois University; master's, Cincinnati.