Opera Index presents its 34th Distinguished Achievement Award to the powerful and charismatic bass-baritone Eric Owens at its annual black-tie winter gala on Sunday, January 13. The gala, held in the Grand Salon of the JW Marriott Essex House at 160 Central Park South, begins at 6 p.m. with a reception in the Petit Salon. Presenting the award to Mr. Owens is a longtime champion of his career, Janet Stovin, the vice president of Opera Index. Last year's Distinguished Achievement Award was presented to opera pioneer and founder of Opera Orchestra of New York, Eve Queler.
The Opera Index Winter Gala, hosted by its president Murray Rosenthal and including guests from opera and the theater, is the highlight of the non-profit organization's year of activities, which since 1984 has boosted the careers of almost 300 young singers through its annual vocal competition, among them Eric Owens who was a winner of the Opera Index Vocal Competition in 1993. He is the second Opera Index Competition-winner to receive the Distinguished Achievement Award. The first was Deborah Voigt.
Opera Index received 261 applications from singers wishing to compete in its 2012 vocal competition. On October 9 and 10, 78 young singers took part in preliminary auditions at Hunter College's Lang Hall before a panel of distinguished judges--Ken Benson, Robert Lombardo, Elaine Malbin, Lenore Rosenberg, Cesare Santeramo, Jane Shaulis, Albert Sherman, and Diana Soviero. In final auditions two days later, 30 remarkable young singers returned to compete for 16 prizes totaling $50,000.
The January 13 gala program will feature performances by eight of the 2012 Opera Index Vocal Competition awardees. They are baritone Takaoki Onishi, who won the top prize of $10,000, baritone Anthony Clark Evans, who received $7,500; mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, $5,000, tenor Adam Bonanni, $4,000; baritone Luthando Qave, $3,500; bass-baritone Jeongcheol Cha, $3,000, tenor Alexander Lewis, $2,500, and soprano Courtney Johnson, who received a $1,000 Encouragement Grant.
Two competition winners--soprano Danielle Pastin, who received $5,000 and bass Matthew Anchel, who received $2,500—are unable to attend but will perform at a future event.
Also awarded were six $1000 Encouragement Grants to mezzo-soprano Sarah Mesko and baritones Jonathan Beyer, Tobias Greenhalgh, Emmett O'Hanlon, Nickoli Strommer, and Sean Sullivan.
Tickets for the Opera Index Winter Gala range from $350 to $1,000. More information and tickets are available by phone at 212-706-9550