The yearly Metropolitan Opera auditions have helped countless budding opera singers, many of whom have gone on to distinguished international careers. Renée Fleming, Deborah Voigt, Lawrence Brownlee, Nathan Gunn and Samuel Ramey are just a few who got their start through the Met auditions.
There are three stages in the audition process. The first round is the district audition. This year the Utah district audition takes place Saturday in Libby Gardner Concert Hall on the University of Utah campus beginning at 11 a.m. It runs through 5 p.m. with an hour break from 1-2 p.m. The audition is free of charge and open to the public. “You can come and go as you like,” said Gunter Radinger of the Utah district of the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions.
Participants of the Utah district audition don’t need to be residents of Utah. This year there are some two dozen singers who will compete. Among them are two previous district winners: soprano Michelle Alexander, who won in 2011 and also received the Encouragement Award in 2012; and tenor Jubal Joslyn, who was one of last year’s winners.
“This is a chance to hear the future generation of opera singers,” Radinger said. “This is a smorgasbord of talent. Expect to hear some of the finest voices in the area.”
Judging the competitors are tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, a former Metropolitan Opera audition winner; Joshua Winograde, senior director of artistic planning for LA Opera; and Peter Kazaras, artistic director of the Seattle Opera Young Artists Program. “This is quite an illustrious panel of judges,” Radinger said.
Accompanying the singers at the piano will be Carol Anderson, principal coach of Utah Opera.
After the competition, there will be a reception in Thompson Recital Hall from 5-6:30 p.m. while the judges deliberate. The winners will be announced at the reception. Cost of attending the reception is $25 per person and tickets are available online at www.utahmoncauditions.org. (The site also has a complete listing of competitors.)
District winners will go on to the Rocky Mountain Region Finals in Denver. That round will take place on Jan. 27. Winners of the regional round go on to New York for a closed semifinal round. The winners of the semifinals will sing in the final round onstage at the Metropolitan Opera on March 10.