The 27th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition

Talented singers compete for prestige and financial support to pursue their operatic careers.  

For the first time in its 27-year history, the competition will be accepting applications from across the united States and its territories and finalists will be accompanied by the Dallas Opera Orchestra.

Acclaimed pianist, arts administrator, adjudicator and educator Brian Zeger has been appointed as Chair of the Judges Panel for the 2015 Vocal Competition. On the faculty of The Juilliard School since 1993 and Artistic Director of Vocal Arts at Juilliard since 2004, Dr. Zeger is also the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Commented Dallas Opera General Director & CEO Keith Cerny, “The Dallas Opera is delighted to be working with Dr. Zeger and partnering closely with The Dallas Opera Guild. Dr. Zeger brings an enviable reputation as a pianist, coach, and arts administrator, and we are honored to have him work with us to enhance the competition and to chair the Judge’s Panels for preliminary, semi-final, and final rounds.” Dallas Opera Guild 2015 Vocal Competition Chair Ketty Fitzgerald added, “Building on the foundation of all those who came before us, we have a unique opportunity to restructure this competition to enable it to do even more to advance the careers of the best young singers in opera. That is our ultimate goal, in taking this event to the next level.” Dr. Zeger will work closely with a judges panel that will include Mr. Cerny, acclaimed Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and Artistic Administrator Ian Derrer.

Plan to attend and support these talented young singers as they compete for monetary awards! Performing to a full auditorium in a first-class facility is surely a thrilling experience. You can make it memorable by being there to hear the future stars of the opera world — and vote for your favorite to receive The People’s Choice Award!

Judges for the 2015 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition:

Brian Zeger, Chair

Artistic Director of Juilliard’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts and Executive Director for the  Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera

Keith Cerny

General Director and CEO of The Dallas Opera

Emmanuel Villaume

Music Director, The Dallas Opera

Ian Derrer

Artistic Administrator, The Dallas Opera

Jonathan Friend

Artistic Administrator, The Metropolitan Opera

Gregory Henkel

Director of Artistic and Music Planning, San Francisco Opera

Andreas Melinat

Director of Artistic Administration, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Joshua Winograde

Senior Director of Artistic Planning, Los Angeles Opera

About the Vocal Competition

The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition has helped launch the careers of singers including Clifton Forbis, Mary Dunleavy, Latonia Moore, Jesus Garcia, Scott Scully, Jennifer Black, Weston Hurt, Takesha Meshé Kizart, Steven Labrie, Valerie Vinzant, Juan José Deleon, and John Holiday, Jr. Past winners have built on the encouragement and financial support received from the Vocal Competition to propel them toward

  • advanced study at leading vocal institutes,
  • acceptance into young artists’ programs,
  • solid careers in opera,
  • acclaimed Metropolitan Opera débuts,
  • stellar international careers,
  • award-winning roles on Broadway, and
  • music faculty positions with leading universities.

Founded in 1957, the non-profit Dallas Opera Guild first established a formal program to support young singers in 1987, originally known as The Career Development Grant for Singers. That program evolved into the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. Each year in Dallas, classically-trained Texas singers between the ages of 18 and 30 compete for recognition and cash awards by performing on the stage of a major opera house, in front of a live audience, for a panel of judges representing some of the most prestigious opera companies in North America.


At the judges’ discretion and contingent on available funding, cash awards may be given to First, Second, and Third place winners; Encouragement Awards may also be given. The annual People’s Choice Award is bestowed on the audience favorite, determined by a Secret Ballot vote following the final contestant’s performance. Each year, funding must be raised anew to cover operating expenses and cash awards. Preparing for the annual event is a year-long process, organized and managed by Guild volunteers who donate hundreds of hours of their time, their talents, and their financial resources to help offset the costs. Loyal individuals and businesses in the community also underwrite many of the services, thereby increasing the amount of funding available to directly support these young singers. For the first time in its 27 year history, The competition will be accepting applications from across the United States and its territories and finalists will be accompanied by the Dallas Opera Orchestra.


Cynthia Wildridge

When and Where

April 18 & 19, 2015

at the Winspear Opera House

Important Dates
  • Sep. 15 Application opens
  • Nov. 15 Application closes
  • Jan. 19 Semifinalists notified
  • Apr. 18 Semifinals
  • Apr. 19 Finals

The first round of judging is complete and we are excited to announce the semi-finalists:

Aleksey Bogdanov


John Brancy


J’nai Bridges


Jungwon Choi


Tracy Cox


Anthony Clark Evans


Ben Gulley


Michelle Johnson


Nicole Joseph


James Edgar Knight


Theo Lebow


D’ana Lombard


Sarah Mesko


Thomas Richards


Ethan Simpson


Adrian Smith


Elizabeth Sutphen


Zanda Svede


Maria Valdes


Elizabeth Zharoff


$35 application fee Applicants must be individuals aged 21-32 on the dates of the actual competition Open to residents of all 50 states and US territories New for 2015:

The 2015 Dallas Opera Vocal Competition is held in honor of Enika and Richard Schulze.