And the Winners Are….

by Celeste Hart

Top Honors Announced In the 29th Annual Dallas Opera Guild 

Vocal Competition

Outstanding Young Artists Awarded

$18,500 in Cash Prizes

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Mezzo-Soprano Samantha Hankey

Takes Top Prize and $10,000 Cash!

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Second Prize ($5,000) Goes to Soprano Laura Wilde

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Third Prize ($2,500) Awarded to Soprano Mane Galoyan

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The “People’s Choice Award” ($1,000)

Determined by Audience Ballot Goes to Baritone Kihun Yoon

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Dr. Susan Fleming Honored for her Dedication and Support of The Dallas Opera and The Dallas Opera Guild

            DALLAS, APRIL 30, 2017 – An elite group of nineteen of the most talented young opera singers in the country competed this weekend for prestige and prizes in the 29th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition.  At the conclusion of this evening’s exciting Finals Round, the winners were announced from the stage of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas:

  • The $10,000 Grand Prize, presented by 2017 Vocal Competition Co-Chairs Patsy and Bob Brooks, was awarded to mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey, currently attending The Juilliard School.
  • The $5,000 Second Prize, presented by incoming Guild Presidents Jan and James Clay, went to soprano Laura Wilde.
  • The Third Prize of $2,500, presented by this year’s honoree, Susan Fleming, to soprano Mane Galoyan.
  • The $1,000 “People’s Choice Award,” presented by Katherine and Michael Phillips to baritone Kihun Yoon.
    VC17_372C - Raehann Bryce-Davis, Mane Galoyan, Samantha Hankey, Xiaomeng Zhang,  Laura Wilde, Kihun Yoon - Photo by Karen Almond (640x446)

    Semi-Finalists L-R: Raehann Bryce-Davis, Mane Galoyan, Samantha Hankey, Xiaomeng Zhang, Laura Wilde, Kihun Yoon (PHOTO BY KAREN ALMOND)

            This nationally-recognized competition attracted 364 applicants from 35 states.  Initially, twenty semi-finalists were chosen to compete. The Semi-Finals Round took place yesterday, Saturday, April 29th as nineteen young artists vied for the coveted position of finalist.

            After lengthy deliberations from the judges’ panel, six singers were selected to move into today’s Finals Round: mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis, soprano Mane Galoyan, mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey, soprano Laura Wilde, baritone Kihun Yoon, and baritone Xiaomeng Zhang.

            “What a thrilling weekend it has been! It is such an honor to be a part of this competition, and so inspiring to see the passion and dedication exhibited by these young performers. Their talent is truly superb. To encourage these artists through the prize money and prestige bestowed upon them, is really satisfying. Jana and I also greatly appreciate the generosity of all of our contributors and the support of The Dallas Opera,” said Dallas Opera Guild Co-President Mac Irwin.      

            The six finalists competed this evening, accompanied by the Dallas Opera Orchestra under the baton of the internationally renowned Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director, Emmanuel Villaume.

“People’s Choice Award” Winner Kihun Yoon:

            Baritone Kihun Yoon is a member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. His appearances during the 2016/17 season include Horemhab in Akhnaten and Scarpia in Tosca. In 2015, Yoon made several appearances including his Venezuelan debut, under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel and in Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. LA Opera appearances include Sharpless in Madame Butterfly, Figaro in The Barber of Seville, and Schaunard in La  Bohème.  In the summer of 2016, he was featured in Florian Gassmann’s L’Opera Seria at Wolf Trap Opera as Delirio. Yoon has covered Plácido Domingo for several roles including Athanaël in Thaïs, Germont in La Traviata, Gianni Schicchi in Gianni Schicchi, and Macbeth in Macbeth. Yoon has won many competitions including the Francisco Viñas International Singing Competition, the Bilbao-Bizkaia International Singing Competition, and the Shizuoka International Opera Competition. He won the Sullivan Award in 2015-2016. 

            During this evening’s Finals Round, Mr. Yoon performed “Era guale la voce?…Si corre dal notaio” from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and “Votre toast, je peux vous le render” from Bizet’s Carmen.

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Third Prize Winner Mane Galoyan:

            Armenian soprano Mane Galoyan is in her second year residence as a studio artist at Houston Grand Opera. In the 2016-17 season she sang Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore at HGO and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the San Antonio Symphony. Last season, she created two roles in two HGO world premieres – Margaret Hughes in Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players and Lucy in David Hanlon and Stephanie Fleischmann’s After the Storm – and also sang Kitchen Girl in Rusalka and Forest Bird in Siegfried. Major competition awards include first prize in HGO’s Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias and third prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition. This past summer, she sang the role of Smorfiosa in Gassmann’s L’Opera Seria with Wolf Trap Opera. In the 2017-18 Season she will be returning to HGO Studio  for the third year, where she will be singing Violetta in La Traviata and Confidante in Elektra.

            In today’s Finals Round, Ms. Galoyan performed “Obéissons quand leur voix appellee” from Massenet’s Manon and “È strano…Sempre libera” from Verdi’s La Traviata.

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Second Prize Winner Laura Wilde:

            Soprano Laura Wilde is a recent graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. During the 2016/17 season, she returned to Chicago for a role debut as Freia in David Pountney’s new production of Das Rheingold, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Other operatic engagements include the world premiere of Craig Bohmler’s Riders of the Purple Sage at Arizona Opera, Micaela in Carmen with Nashville Opera and a return to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito. During the 2015-16 Season at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Ms. Wilde performed the role of   Marianne in Der Rosenkavalier and covered Marschallin. She also covered the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Hanna in The Merry Widow and sang the role of Anna in Nabucco. In the summer of 2016, she made her European debut as the title role in Janá?ek’s Jen?fa, with the English National Opera.

            In this evening’s Finals Round, Ms. Wilde performed “Das war sehr gut, Mandryka” from Arabella by Richard Strauss and “Einsam in trüben Tagen” from Wagner’s Lohengrin.

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First Place/Grand Prize Winner Samantha Hankey:

            American mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey from Marshfield, Massachusetts, has been acclaimed by Opera News as “ingenious” and “serious” by The New York Times. This season at The Juilliard School she will sing the title role in Händel’s Agrippina, Varvara in Janá?ek’s Katya Kabanova, and will return to the stage of Alice Tully Hall as a winner of the Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital. She has performed roles including Diana and Giove in La Calisto, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro; and at the Aspen Music Festival as Dorabella in Così fan tutte and Mercédès in Carmen. Recent awards and honors include a 2016 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, and prizes from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, and the Gerda Lissner Foundation, among others. Ms. Hankey is a proud recipient the Kovner Fellowship at Juilliard, where she is pursuing her Masters of Music degree.

            During the Finals Round this evening, Ms. Hankey dazzled the audience with renditions of “Parto, parto” from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and “D’amour l’ardente flamme” from La Damnation de Faust by Berlioz.

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          “This competition is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work at The Dallas Opera,” said Keith Cerny, the Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO. “The caliber of the performers this year is stellar, and the ability to foster their continued growth is extremely gratifying. I look forward to seeing more of these wonderful artists in the coming years.”

THE 2017 FINALISTS

FOR THE DALLAS OPERA GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION

  • Raehann Bryce-Davis, mezzo-soprano, age 30, Merola Opera Program Graduate
  • Mane Galoyan, soprano, age 23, currently at Houston Grand Opera Studio
  • Samantha Hankey, mezzo-soprano, age 24, pursuing her Masters of Music degree at the Juilliard School of Music
  • Laura Wilde, soprano, age 30, graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago
  • Kihun Yoon, baritone, age 35, member of Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, Los Angeles Opera
  • Xiaomeng Zhang, baritone, age 26, Graduate Diploma Student at the Juilliard School of Music

            Soprano Marina Costa-Jackson, currently starring as Adalgisa in The Dallas Opera’s production of NORMA, served as Mistress of Ceremonies with co-hosts Patsy and Bob Brooks. Ms. Costa-Jackson also appeared at the post-competition celebration and dazzled guests with selections from both Broadway and the opera stage.

Judges for the 2017 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition:

Brian Zeger, Chair

Artistic Director of the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts

The Juilliard School 

Keith Cerny

The Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO of The Dallas Opera

Emmanuel Villaume

The Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director, The Dallas Opera

Andreas Melinat

Director of Artistic Planning, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Pål Moe

Casting Director, Bavarian State Opera;

Casting Consultant, Glyndebourne Festival and Opéra de Lille

 

Joshua Winograde

Senior Director, Artistic Planning, Los Angeles Opera

Diane Zola

Director of Artistic Administration, Houston Grand Opera

 

Audience members were also able to take part in the competition by casting a ballot for their favorite singer for the “People’s Choice” award, now is its 17th year.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THE 2017 COMPETITION INCLUDE:

KATHERINE AND MICHAEL PHILLIPS

KEITH AND JENNIFER CERNY

  1. KETTY FITZGERALD
  2. AND MRS. R.V. REGE

MARTHA AND DR. ROBERT ALLDAY

ELAINE AND BILL BLAYLOCK

CECILE P. BONTE

PATTI AND JOHN CODY

SUSAN G. FLEMING, PH.D.

SUSAN AND MARK GEYER

MARILYN AND WARD HALLA

KATHY MULDOON AND ROBERT S. HENDLER, MD

BETTY SECKER

ROBERT VATICALOS AND DONALD SCHUSTER

UNDERWRITERS OF THE 2017 COMPETITION INCLUDE:


AT&T PERFORMING ARTS CENTER & STAFF

SPICE OF LIFE CATERING

SUSAN AND ED WILSON

KATHERINE & MICHAEL PHILLIPS

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            For additional information about the 29th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition

or any upcoming Dallas Opera Guild programs and special events,

please contact The Dallas Opera Guild at 214-443-1040.
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2016-2017 SEASON SPONSOR

The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family

 

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