Taylor Comstock, a tenor who is in his first year of graduate school at the University of Kentucky, took top honors and will go on to compete in the Central Region round of the auditions Jan. 20 at DePaul University in Chicago. It was the second victory this year on the stage of UK’s Singletary Center for the Arts for Comstock, who came in second in the graduate division of the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition in March.
If Comstock, who hails from Independence, Missouri, is successful in Chicago, he will go on to compete in the national semi-finals of the competition on the Metropolitan Opera stage in New York.
Four singers received encouragement awards, including three UK graduates: baritone Michael Pandolfo from Fort Worth, Texas; countertenor Keymon Murrah and soprano Maggie Smith, both of Louisville. Soprano Alexandra Bork, whose hometown was listed as Nicholasville, though her professional Facebook page says she is based in London, England, also won an encouragement award.
A total of 28 singers competed Saturday. Judges usually send three or four winners on to the next round. UK Opera Theatre director Everett McCorvey said it was not clear why the judges chose only one singer to advance this year.