2013 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition Results

by Suzanne Calvin


Saturday, March 23, 2013
Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014 Or Megan Meister 214.443.1071
suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org megan.meister@dallasopera.org

The 25th Annual
“Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition”
Awards $25,000 in Cold, Hard Cash!
28-Year-Old Bass Nicholas Masters
Takes Top Prize and $10,000 Cash!
Also Named Winner of the “People’s Choice
Award” for an additional $1,500
Second Place ($7,000) Goes to 23-Year-Old
Bass-Baritone Matthew Stump
Third Place ($5,000) Awarded to 26-Year-Old
Soprano Audra Methvin
Event Honors Katherine and Michael Phillips
For Their Generous Support of the Arts, Education and Civic Organizations, including the Dallas Opera and The Women’s Board of the Dallas Opera

DALLAS, MARCH 23, 2013 – The Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center was the scene of a celebration this evening as The Dallas Opera Guild presented a rich variety of homegrown talent competing for top prizes in the 25th Annual “Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition,” an on-stage showcase for young opera singers with Texas connections.
28-year-old bass Nicholas Masters, a second-year member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio who received his Bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada before completing graduate level studies at Yale University School of Music and Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) was a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera, where he sang roles in Il ritorno d’Ulisse and La bohème. Since that time, Mr. Masters has performed and covered a variety of roles for HGO, including Don Basilio, the Monk in Don Carlos, Dr. Grenvil (La traviata) and Colline.
This year, he was one of 22 semi-finalists for the Teatro Colon Concurso Internacional de Canto in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2011, Mr. Masters attracted international attention in a bevy of competitions: as a National Grand Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions; second prize winner (general division) in the Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition; and as a finalist and recipient of encouragement awards from the 2011 Opera Index, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, and George London Foundation.
The New York City native commanded centerstage this evening with a rendition of “Si, vi sarà…Deh! ti ferma” from Rossini’s Semiramide which drew audible gasps of astonishment from the audience. His second selection (chosen by the judges) was a deftly performed “Bottom’s Dream” from Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
During the afternoon semi-finals, Mr. Masters performed a cavatina from Rachmaninoff’s Aleko and “La Calunnia” from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville).
His $10,000 First Prize, the first annual Bessylee Penland First Place Award, was presented to Nicholas Masters by this year’s honorees, Katherine and Michael Phillips.
The additional $1,500 People’s Choice Award was underwritten this year by Neil D. Oxford (in memory of Francine Burrows Werbin), who presented the award to Mr. Masters after all the audience votes had been tallied.

The award for Second Place ($7,000) went to 23-year-old bass-baritone Matthew Stump, a graduate of Luther College in Iowa, now pursuing a graduate degree at the University of North Texas College of Music under the direction of Dr. Stephen F. Austin. He is a four-time NATS competition winner (National Association of Teachers of Singing), Brudos Opera Prize winner and Winspear Scholar.
Mr. Stump’s roles in student productions have included Figaro, Mercutio, Frank Maurrant (Kurt Weill’s Street Scene), and Don Alfonso.
Tonight, the Indiana native performed “Let Things be Like They Always Was” from Street Scene as well as a devilish delivery of “Vous qui faites l’endormie” from Gounod’s Faust. Earlier in the day, Mr. Stump impressed in the semi-finals round with renditions of the Catalogue Aria (“Madamina, il catalogo è questo”) from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and “Vecchia zimarra” from Puccini’s La bohème.
The cash prize was presented to Mr. Stump by Dallas Opera Guild Presidents Enika and Richard Schulze. Both Mr. Masters and Mr. Stump were accompanied by pianist Julian Reed.

The Third Place Award and a $5,000 cash prize went to 26-year-old soprano Audra Methvin, who wowed the crowd with “Adieu, notre petite table” from Massenet’s Manon and a paprika-flavored “Klänge der Heimat,” Rosalinda’s Czárdás from Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II.
Now living in Levelland, Texas, Ms. Methvin is a recent graduate of Eastern New Mexico University and a Studio Artist (2010-2011) at Central City Opera in Colorado. She was a finalist in last year’s Guild competition (and the year before), as well as First Place Winner in the 2012 Vocal Artistry in Song Competition, and she has performed on several occasions with the Boulder, Colorado Symphony.
During today’s semi-finals round, she also performed “Senza mamma” from Puccini’s Suor Angelica accompanied by pianist Jason Smith. Ms. Methvin’s award was presented by Dr. Susan Fleming, a longtime supporter of this competition.

Additionally, the remaining seven 2013 finalists were honored with $200 grants:

• Dee Donasco, age 30, soprano
• Steven Eddy, age 27, baritone
• Calvin Griffin, age 23, bass-baritone
• Amanda Kingston, age 29, soprano
• Kristen Lassiter, age 28, soprano
• Samuel Schultz, age 26, baritone
• Meghan Tarkington, age 27, soprano

“This year as the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition Chair has been the most rewarding, exhilarating volunteer position I have ever held,” says Sharon Bird Stupp. “I have gained such respect for these talented, dedicated young singers. An individual’s voice is such an integral part of their being, and they courageously put their voice ‘out there’ to be judged and found worthy. They have my total and complete admiration.”

Nineteen semi-finalists (aged 22 to 30) chosen from a field of sixty-seven qualified applicants competed for thousands of dollars in prize monies in this exciting annual competition ($19,000 was awarded in 2007, 2009, and 2010; $20,500 in 2011; $20,000 in 2012). Competitors have to be either current Texas residents or out-of-state residents attending a Texas college or university.

The 2013 Distinguished Panel of Judges:

• Laura Canning, Director of Houston Grand Opera Studio
• Sheri Greenawald, Opera Center Director, San Francisco Opera
• Lenore Rosenberg, Associate Artistic Administrator, Metropolitan Opera
• Brad Woolbright, Director of Artistic Administration, Santa Fe Opera
• And from The Dallas Opera, Artistic Director Jonathan Pell, who also acts as artistic advisor to this eagerly anticipated annual competition.

“Everyone views the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition as a tremendous opportunity for gifted young opera singers with Texas ties,” says Mr. Pell. “However, the fact is, this is just as significant an opportunity for those of us in the field to gauge the next generation of singing talent, as it is a chance for these young artists to shine.
“My commitment to this competition grows year-by-year,” he adds, “because I’ve seen its incredible impact on lives, as well as careers.”

“Previous winners have built upon the encouragement and financial support they received to earn spots in prestigious young artists’ programs and advance in their studies at leading vocal institutes,” explained Vocal Competition Chair Sharon Bird Stupp. “Many who received early recognition here have gone on to stellar international careers, award-winning roles on Broadway, and prestigious debuts and teaching positions.”

The 25th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition honored Katherine and Michael Phillips, who have been actively involved with numerous civic and arts organizations including The Dallas Opera, The Dallas Opera Guild and The Dallas Opera Women’s Board for many seasons. Mr. Phillips also serves on The Dallas Opera Board. Both Katherine and Michael have won the respect of their peers for their tireless contributions of time, talent, energy and resources.
Michael Phillips expressed his admiration for the collaborative nature of this art form in his opening remarks tonight: “Almost every form of artistic expression is brought to focus on the opera stage to build the framework that showcases these magnificent singers and musicians.”
“This is a terrific place to celebrate these talented young artists,” Phillips explained earlier in the day, “because this is where they one day hope to be—performing great opera centerstage at the Winspear.”

The Underwriting Co-Chairmen for the event were Martha Allday and Sandi Ciarochi.

Preliminary judges for this year’s competition included Dallas Opera Music Director of Education and Family Programming and Adjunct Faculty at the University of North Texas Mary Dibbern; Donnie Ray Albert, International Performer and Interim Lecturer in Voice at the University of Texas at Austin; and Dr. Stephen Dubberly, Opera Music Director at the University of North Texas.
The singers in both the semi-final and finals rounds were accompanied by Dallas Opera pianist and vocal coach Julian Reed, accompanist and faculty vocal coach Jason Smith from Southern Methodist University, among others.

The Dallas Opera Guild’s Vocal Competition, not only provides vital assistance to the young opera stars of tomorrow, but also creates an outstanding opportunity for people from throughout the community to hear exceptional up-and-coming talents, in free performances in a magnificent setting.

The Additional Semi-Finalists were:

• Robert Cardwell, age 28, baritone
• Stephen Carroll, age 25, tenor
• Sergio Cepeda, age 25, tenor
• Nereida García, age 30, soprano
• Emily Caroline Hagens, age 22, soprano
• Jeawook Lee, age 29, tenor
• Nan Qin, age 26, bass-baritone
• Hannah Rigg, age 24, soprano
• Claire Shackleton, age 27, mezzo-soprano

This free, spring musical event has become a favorite among opera aficionados and vocal music lovers across North Texas. For additional information about the 25th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition or upcoming Dallas Opera Guild programs and special events, please contact The Dallas Opera Guild at 214-443-1040.

Select Stars of Earlier Competitions

Clifton Forbis (tenor), winner of our second annual Vocal Competition in 1990, has forged a dynamic international career. He sang the title role of Samson in Samson et Dalila at San Francisco Opera and San Diego Opera, Siegmund in the Canadian Opera Company’s 2006 production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen to open their new Four Seasons Opera House. He also performed Act I of Die Walküre in January 2006 with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. Mr. Forbis has sung Otello at La Scala and in numerous productions at the Metropolitan Opera and other important theaters around the world and – most notably -- brought his interpretation of the role to open the new Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at The Dallas Center for the Performing Arts in October of 2009 and returned last February in one of the title roles of Tristan & Isolde in a critically acclaimed new Dallas Opera production.

1998 First Prize winner Latonia Moore (soprano), who also captured the inaugural People’s Choice Award that year, brought the audience to their feet in her memorable 2004 Dallas Opera debut as Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen, earning the Maria Callas Award for The Dallas Opera debut of the year. She “triumphed as a radiant-voiced Micaela” recreating that role for her debut with the New York City Opera. The New York Times wrote of “her radiant, warm sound and lovely phrasing,” saying, “What she has already is special: a distinctive, poignant sound that makes an audience sit up.” She made her Carnegie Hall debut in the title role of L’Arlesiana for Opera Orchestra of New York and made her debut at London’s Covent Garden as Liu in Turandot before stepping in at the 11th hour to sing Aida at the Met. She repeated her triumph earlier this season in the title role of Verdi’s Aida at the Dallas Opera.

Jesus Garcia (tenor) competed in The Dallas Opera Guild’s Vocal Competition in 1996, 1997, and 1999, winning Second Place that year. Long a favorite of Guild members, Jesus studied at the University of North Texas before attending the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2001 who starred as Rodolfo in Baz Luhrman’s La bohème on Broadway, Jesus has also sung the Berlioz Requiem at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the role of Prince Ramiro in La Cenerentola with the Washington National Opera at Kennedy Center, as well as in School matinee performances for The Dallas Opera. Mr. Garcia has performed at the Spoleto Festival, Houston Grand Opera, and Bordeaux Opera (France), among other venues.

Third Place winner Steven LaBrie (baritone) barely met the age requirement to enter our 2006 competition, then walked away with both the People’s Choice Award and a special Mozart Aria award given by TDO’s former General Director Karen Stone in honor of the composer’s 250th birthday. His win propelled him into a coveted spot at AVA, where he performed roles in Il barbiere de Siviglia and Eugene Onegin, in addition to his role as Antonio in Le Nozze de Figaro with The Living Opera. He went on to take First Place in an historic tie with baritone Michael Sumuel in the 2009 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition and made his official Dallas Opera debut in 2011singing the role of Paris in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. He will return next season singing the role of Le Dancaire in Bizet’s Carmen.

Tenor Scott Scully, winner of the 2000 People’s Choice Award, has sung with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Arizona Opera and made his Dallas Opera debut in Lohengrin. He was a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program. Very active in concert, he has sung Carmina Burana with the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Ballet, Falstaff and Billy Budd with the Cleveland Orchestra, and has collaborated with a list of illustrious conductors. In addition to the Dallas Opera Guild award, he received the Pavarotti award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, among others.

Jennifer Black (soprano), winner of our 2001 Vocal Competition and the People’s Choice Award, has participated in the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. In 2006, she made her debut with the New York City Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, and sang at Carnegie Hall. She was previously a National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and was described by The New York Times as “a sensitive, rich-voiced soprano.” At the Metropolitan Opera she has sung leading roles in Adriana Lecouvreur and La sonnambula.

Marjorie Owens, First Place winner of the 2002 competition and the People’s Choice Award, was a winner of the 2006 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She was a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Opera Center for Young Artists, after spending three years with the Houston Grand Opera Studio. She has performed with the Fort Worth Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Wolf Trap Opera in Washington, D.C., and the Aspen Opera Theater. The New York Times included Marjorie in their compilation of “the upcoming Great Big American Voices.”

Winner of the 2003 People’s Choice Award, Erik Nelson Werner (baritone) has sung with the Dallas Opera, Fort Worth Opera, New York City Opera and Opera Orchestra of New York, and has sung extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. He performed at Carnegie Hall in February 2007, and has won numerous awards throughout the years, including the Brahms Competition in Graz, Austria, and the Geneva International Music Competition. He has re-trained and has recently re-launched his career as a tenor.

Baritone Weston Hurt, winner of both our 2005 Vocal Competition and the People’s Choice Award, has performed throughout the United States and Latin America and made his debut with The Dallas Opera in La bohème. He debuted with the New York City Opera in 2006, and has also sung with the Opera Orchestra of New York, and the National Symphony at Wolf Trap. His 2007 engagements included the Arizona Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, and the role of Baldassare in L’Arlesiana with the Opera Orchestra of New York. A graduate of the Juillard Opera Center, he has won numerous awards, including Opera Index, Inc., Palm Beach Opera Competition, two career grants from the Santa Fe Opera, and was a finalist for the Sara Tucker Career Grant. Next season Mr. Hurt will be back singing the role of Frank in Korngold’s Die tote Stadt.

First Place winner Takesha Meshé Kizart (soprano, 2006) appeared in the title role of Tosca for The Dallas Opera’s 2008 School Performances which led to her U.K. debut in the role at Opera North in Leeds. A former vocal performance honors student at UNT, she has won numerous competitions throughout the world, including national semi-finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Marian Anderson Historical Society, Mario Lanza Institute Vocal Scholarship Competition, Opera Index, and the Voci Verdiane International Competition in Busseto, Italy, where she became the first African-American to ever win the Grand Prize. She recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut as “Musetta” in La bohème.

Tenor Scott Quinn, who tied for Second Place in the 2008 competition, served as The Dallas Opera’s “Young Artist in Residence” the following year, singing principal roles in several mainstage productions, including Roberto Devereux (Lord Cecil) and La bohème (Parpignol). He continues to sing roles for us today, including a recent appearance as Normanno in TDO’s revival of Lucia di Lammermoor. He has completed his second year in the Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Program where he has performed such roles as Rodolfo in La bohème (November 1, 6, 2012), Sailor’s Voice in Tristan and Isolde. Ruiz in Il trovatore (2013). Previously: Royal Herald in Don Carlos (2012), Gastone de Letourières in La traviata (2012), Sergeant in The Barber of Seville (2012).

First Place winner (2011), 26-year-old countertenor John Holiday, Jr., a 2007 graduate of Southern Methodist University now working towards a master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (2012), wowed judges and audience members alike with his extraordinary renditions of “Crude furie” from Händel’s Serse and “Che farò senza Euridice” from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, which showcased the exceptional beauty and timbre of his unusual vocal type. And he took critics by storm in December’s production of “A Gathering: The Dallas Arts Community Reflects on 30 Years of AIDS.” Performing “Ave Maria,” Mr. Holiday, wrote Mark Lowry of “Theater Jones,” gave a performance “that had to be heard to be believed.”


Single tickets for the remaining mainstage productions of the Dallas Opera’s “Pursuits of Passion” Season are on sale now, starting at just $19, through the Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or online at www.dallasopera.org. Student Rush best-available tickets can be purchased at the lobby box office for $25 (one per valid Student I.D.) ninety minutes prior to each performance.


DIAMOND PATRONS ($5,000 and above)
Katherine and Michael Phillips
In memory of Louise Jacoby

PLATINUM PATRONS ($2,500 and above)
In honor of Jonathan Pell

Richard and Enika Schulze

James R. Seitz, Jr.
In honor of Jonathan Pell

GOLD PATRONS ($1,000-$2,499)
Alice W. Bass

John and Patti Cody
In appreciation of the Dallas Opera Staff

Connie Klemow
In memory of Vance Miller

Mildred M. Oppenheimer

Neil D. Oxford
In memory of Francine Burrows Werbin

Marnie and Kern Wildenthal Family Fund
In honor of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Winspear

SILVER PATRONS ($500-$999)
Dr. Robert and Martha Allday

Elaine and Bill Blaylock

Helen Boehning
In memory of Nancy Green Boehning, Joe Green Haile, Greg Boehning,
Kathy Boehning Jackson, Rob Boehning

Sandi and Dr. Fred Ciarochi
In honor of Sharon Bird Stupp

Kerry Fitzgerald
In honor of Jonathan Pell

William J. Hendrix

Jane and David McGinnis
In honor of Graeme Jenkins
In honor of Current and Past Vocal Competition Chairs

Angela D. Paulos

Pat and Jed Rosenthal
In honor of Katherine and Michael Phillips
In honor of Graeme Jenkins

Honorable and Mrs. Wm. F. Sanderson, Jr.
In memory of Ann J. Bell

Barry Secker
In honor of Fred Secker, Sr.

Mac, Sharon, Andrew, Steph and Rose Sudduth
In memory of Ann J. Bell

Claude and Frances Thompson
In memory of Myrtle Huff McBrown, both Mother and Voice Teacher




For high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print
To arrange an interview
Or for additional information
Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR
214.443.1014 or suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

The Dallas Opera’s 2012-2013 “Pursuits of Passion Season”
Is Presented by Texas Instruments Foundation



Ticket Information for the 2012-2013 Dallas Opera Season

All mainstage performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Single Tickets for TURANDOT, THE ASPERN PAPERS and family performances are on sale now. Tickets for the mainstage productions start for a new low price of $19! Family performance tickets are $5 apiece. For more information, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online at www.dallasopera.org.

The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Sixth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees will begin at 2:00 p.m. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance. Assistance is available for the hearing impaired.

TURANDOT by Giacomo Puccini
April 5, 7(m), 10, 13, 19 & 21(m), 2013
Puccini’s Last Masterpiece—Riddled with Passionate Romance and Unforgettable Music!
An opera in three acts first performed in Milan at La Scala, April 25, 1926
Text by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni, based on Carlo Gozzi’s fable, Turandot.
Time: Legendary times
Place: Peking, China
Conductor: Marco Zambelli
Stage Director: Garnett Bruce
Production Design: Allen Charles Klein
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Lise Lindstrom* (Princess Turandot), Antonello Palombi (Calaf), Hei-Kyung Hong (Liu), Christian Van Horn* (Timur), Jonathan Beyer (Ping), Joseph Hu (Pang), Daniel Montenegrio* (Pong), Ryan Kuster* (A Mandarin), Steven Haal (Emperor Altoum).

THE ASPERN PAPERS by Dominick Argento
April 12, 14(m), 17, 20, 28(m), 2013
The Games People Play—Both Young and Old—To Achieve Their Twisted Desires!
An opera in two acts first performed in Dallas, November 19, 1988.
Text by Dominick Argento, based on a Henry James novella.
Time: Legendary
Place: Lake Como, Italy
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Stage Director: Tim Albery
Scenic Design: Andrew Lieberman*
Costume Design: Constance Hoffman*
Lighting Design: Thomas Hase
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Assistant Director: Michael Mori
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Susan Graham* (Tina), Alexandra Deshorties (Julianna Bordereau), Nathan Gunn (The Lodger), Joseph Kaiser* (Aspern), Dean Peterson (Barelli), Sasha Cooke* (Sonia), Eric Jordan* (A painter), Jennifer Youngs* (Olimpia).

* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut
The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; TACA; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera. Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News. A special thanks to Mrs. William W. Winspear and the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for their continuing support.


One Response to 2013 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition Results

David Zant says: March 25, 2013 at 7:10 am

Me my wife and daughter attended the opera competition Saturday the 23rd of March. It was our first opera experience and I just wanted to tell you it was a wonderful one. Thank you for your hospitality and for the great experience.