LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 15, 2017) — Two University of Kentucky Opera Theatre vocalists, Taylor Comstock and alumna Rebecca Farley, were among the four winners of the Kentucky District Auditions of the Metropolitan (Met) Opera National Council Auditions held Nov. 11, at Lexington’s First Presbyterian Church. In addition, the competition’s Encouragement Awards were presented to two UK vocalists, alumnae Margaret Smith and Mary Catherine Wright.
Comstock and Farley are still in the running to sing on the Metropolitan Opera stage, and their next audition will be at the Central Region auditions being held Jan. 21, 2018, in Evanston, Illinois. Joining them will be fellow district winners Megan Moore, a mezzo-soprano from Cincinnati who earned her master’s degree at Eastman School of Music in 2015, and Lisa Rogali, a graduate student at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music from Bergenfield, New Jersey. Traditionally, only one singer from each regional round will advance to the national semifinals in New York.
Tenor Taylor Comstock is a junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music at UK from Independence, Missouri. Local audiences may recognize Comstock from his recent appearances as Alfredo in “La Traviata” and as Conte Almaviva in “The Barber of Seville.” Comstock previously won the Encouragement Award at the Kentucky District Auditions last year.
This is soprano Rebecca Farley’s second win at the Kentucky District Auditions. She previously was named a winner of the competition in 2014. A native of Henderson, Kentucky, Farley earned her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from UK in 2013. While at UK, she sang the roles of Nannetta in “Falstaff,” Mabel in “The Pirates of Penzance,” Zerlina in “Don Giovanni” and Christine Daaé in “The Phantom of the Opera.” Most recently, Farley has pursued graduate studies at the Juilliard School in New York.
UK alumnae took both Kentucky District Auditions Encouragement Awards. The individuals presented with this honor were 2016 music education and vocal performance graduate Margaret Smith, a mezzo-soprano from Louisville, Kentucky, currently pursuing graduate studies at Florida State University, and 2016 vocal performance graduate and soprano Mary Catherine Wright, of Lexington.
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. 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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