After an intense semi-final round of competition, the Metropolitan Opera today announced the names of ten finalists who will sing on the Met stage in the 2013 National Council Auditions Grand Finals Concert on Sunday, March 10 at 3:00 p.m., with the MET Orchestra conducted by Marco Armiliato. The auditions, which are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year, have been an important stepping stone in the career of many of the opera world's leading artists. 20 gifted young singers from around the country arrived in New York on Thursday afternoon to prepare for today's semi-final round, in which they sang on the Met stage for the first time in their careers before a panel of judges. After deliberations, the panel has narrowed the field to ten singers who will move to the final phase of the competition.
This year's finalists, all between the ages of 20 and 30 years old, will be competing for individual cash prizes of $15,000 each; even more important than the prize is the opportunity to perform on the historic opera house stage before an audience that will include opera company executives, artist managers, music critics, and other opinion-makers of the music world.
This year's finalists are: Matthew Anchel, 25, bass (Eastern Region; New York, NY); Michael Brandenburg, 26, tenor (Central Region; Austin, IN); Brandon Cedel, 25, bass-baritone (Middle Atlantic Region; Hershey, PA); Tracy Cox, 27, soprano (Western Region; Dallas, TX); Sydney Mancasola, 25, soprano (New England Region; Redding, CA); Musa Ngqungwana, 28, bass-baritone (Middle Atlantic Region; Port Elizabeth, South Africa); Richard Ollarsaba, 25, bass-baritone (Upper Midwest Region; Tempe, AZ); Rebecca Pedersen, 21, soprano (Rocky Mountain Region; Bountiful, UT); Thomas Richards, 24, bass-baritone (Central Region; Burnsville, MN); Efrain Solis, 23, baritone (Western Region; Santa Ana, CA).
Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, a past National Council Auditions winner, will host the concert and perform during the judges' deliberations once the auditions part of the program is over.
The finalists were chosen from nearly 1500 singers who participated in the auditions held in 40 districts and 13 regions throughout the United States and Canada, sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council. Given the reach of the auditions, the number of applicants, and the long tradition associated with them, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are considered the most prestigious in North America for singers seeking to launch an operatic career. Some winners are invited to join the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.