Two UK Vocalists Win KY Met Auditions, Advance to Regionals
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 27, 2012) — University of Kentucky voice performance senior Rebecca Farley and doctoral candidate Thomas Gunther were winners in the Kentucky District Auditions of the Metropolitan (Met) Opera National Council Auditions, held at UK's Memorial Hall Nov. 17. The contest’s Encouragement Award was also presented to two UK vocalists, Jacob Brian Waid and Evan LeRoy Johnson.
Farley, a soprano, and Gunther, a baritone, are still in the running to sing on the Metropolitan Opera stage, and their next audition will be in Memphis, Tenn., for the Mid-South Regional round of auditions on Jan. 26. Traditionally, only one singer from each regional round will advance to the national semi-finals in New York.
The wins by Farley and Gunther complete a successful fall for the two. Farley, a native of Henderson, Ky., was one of three UK sopranos who sang the role of Christine in UK Opera Theatre’s blockbuster production of "The Phantom of the Opera" in October. Gunther, of Muscatine, Iowa, was one of the three singers who played Raoul. Waid, a baritone from Paducah, Ky., played the Phantom, and Johnson, a tenor from Pine Island, Minn., played Piangi. Waid, a voice performance junior, and Johnson, a voice performance junior, received cash prizes, but did not advance to the next round. All four of the honorees are students of Endowed Chair, Professor of Voice Cynthia Lawrence.
In addition to Farley and Gunther, two other UK vocalists have already advanced to regional competition from other districts. Holly Flack, a UK graduate and coloratura soprano living in Chicago won the Wisconsin District Auditions and has advanced to the Upper Midwest Regional Auditions to be held Feb. 2, in St. Paul, Minn. Baritone Reginald Smith Jr., a voice performance and music education senior from Atlanta, Ga., was one of four winners at the Ohio District Auditions in Cincinnati, Ohio. He advanced to the Central Region Auditions held Nov. 4, in Evanston, Ill.
The highly acclaimed UK Opera Theatre program is part of the UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. For more information on the program, visit online at http://finearts.uky.edu/music/ukot.
The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions program provides a venue for young opera singers from all over the U.S. to be heard by a representative of the Met. Applicants prepare a minimum of five operatic arias in their original language; selections must demonstrate contrasting style as well as languages. Upon completing the audition, candidates are given the opportunity to meet with the judges personally to discuss matters of evaluation and advice.
The Met holds the auditions to discover new talent and to search for possible participants in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. The Lindemann program, designed to nurture the most talented young artists through training and performance opportunities, provides financial aid together with supervised artistic direction to the young artists.
The district level is the first stage of the three-tiered audition process, and contestants can choose to compete in any district regardless of their place of residence. There is no set number of singers to advance to compete in the regional with roughly 1,500 singers participating each year in the 16 regions across the country. Regional finals for this area include participants from the Kentucky, Arkansas, Middle/East Tennessee, North Alabama and West Tennessee/Mississippi districts. Winners at the regional level advance to the National Council Auditions Semi-Finals in New York in the spring. Only eight to 10 singers are selected as national finalists and perform in the Winners Concert at the Met.
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