Twenty young singers who won regional competitions around the United States will come to New York to sing on the Met stage in the semi-finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. The Met Auditions, this year celebrating their 60th anniversary, are a major stepping stone to a career as an opera singer and were crucial in introducing many of today's best-known stars, such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Samuel Ramey, Deborah Voigt, and Dolora Zajick.
The semi-finalists with the regions they will represent in the competition and their hometowns are: Matthew Anchel, bass (Eastern Region; New York, NY); Michael Brandenburg, tenor (Central Region; Austin, IN); Brandon Cedel, bass-baritone (Middle Atlantic Region; Hershey, PA);Tracy Cox, soprano (Western Region; Dallas, TX); William Davenport, tenor (Middle Atlantic Region; Rockville, MD); Hye Jung Lee, soprano (Gulf Coast Region; Seoul, South Korea); Juan José de León, tenor (Great Lakes Region; Corpus Christi, TX); Christopher Lowrey, countertenor (New England Region; Johnston, RI); Sydney Mancasola, soprano (New England Region; Redding, CA); Felicia Moore, soprano (Eastern Region; Princeton, NJ); Edward Nelson, baritone (Mid-South Region; Los Angeles, CA); Musa Ngqungwana, bass-baritone (Middle Atlantic Region; Port Elizabeth, South Africa); Richard Ollarsaba, bass-baritone (Upper Midwest Region; Tempe, AZ); Rebecca Pedersen, soprano (Rocky Mountain Region; Bountiful, UT); Thomas Richards, bass-baritone (Central Region; Burnsville, MN); Efrain Solis, baritone (Western Region; Santa Ana, CA); Jessica Strong, soprano (Northwest Region; Winnipeg, Manitoba); Karen Vuong, soprano (Eastern Region; Los Angeles, CA); Benjamin Werley, tenor (Midwest Region; Pittsburgh, PA); Melinda Whittington, soprano (Southeast Region; Charlotte, NC).
The semi-finalists arrive at the Met on February 28 to rehearse with the company's music staff for two days in preparation for the Semi-Finals competition on Sunday, March 3. The winners of that event will go on to sing in the Grand Finals Concert accompanied by the Met Orchestra on March 10 at 3 p.m. The finalists will have a week of preparation with Met musical and dramatic coaches to prepare for the Concert, which is open to the public. Tickets for the Grand Finals Concert may be purchased at the Met Box Office, by phone at 212-362-6000, or online atwww.metopera.org.