The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition returns for its 29th year!

And the winners are…

Samantha Hankey, mezzo-soprano  First Place
Laura Wilde, soprano  Second Place
Mane Galoyan, soprano  Third Place
Kihun Yoon, baritone  People’s Choice Award

Read the full press release here.

These talented singers competed for financial support to pursue their operatic careers.  

The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition returned for its 29th year in a re-envisioned and expanded format.  The Guild is accepted applications from residents of all 50 states and U.S. Territories.  Finalists performed with The Dallas Opera Orchestra, under the baton of renowned Music Director Emmanuel Villaume.  

Acclaimed pianist, arts administrator, adjudicator and educator Brian Zeger  returned as Chair of the Judges Panel for the 2017 Vocal Competition. On the faculty of The Julliard School since 1993 and Artistic Director of Vocal Arts at Julliard since 2004, Dr. Zeger is also the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. The Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny commented, “The Dallas Opera is delighted to be working once more with Dr. Zeger and partnering closely with The Dallas Opera Guild to build on the success we had last season. Dr. Zeger brings an enviable reputation as a pianist, coach, and arts administrator, and we are honored to work with him, side-by-side, to elevate this competition to exciting new heights of artistry and entertainment.” Dr. Zeger worked closely with a judge’s panel that included Mr. Cerny and acclaimed Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume. Dallas Opera Guild Chairs for the 2017 event were Bob and Patsy Brooks.

Judges list for the 2017 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition included

Brian Zeger, Chair
Artistic Director of the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts

Keith Cerny
Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO, The Dallas Opera

Emmanuel Villaume
Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director in honor of Graeme Jenkins, The Dallas Opera

Andreas Melinat
Director of Artistic Planning at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Pal Moe
Casting Director Baayerische Staatsoper, 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 

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 Deléon, and John Holiday, Jr. Past winners have used the encouragement and financial support received throught the Guild Vocal Competition in a variety of ways:

  • 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. Today, the competition is intended to focus on individuals 18-34 years of age, though there is no upper or lower age limit and exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis.  These classically-trained U.S. singers will compete once a year for industry recognition, career encouragement, the chance to perform on a world-class stage with Maestro Emmanuel Villaume and The Dallas Opera Orchestra, and significant cash awards—all before a live audience and a panel of judges representing some of the most prestigious opera companies in North America.


At the judges’ discretion (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. 

The competition will be accepting applications from across the United States and its territories for the semi-final round; ultimately, up to six finalists will be chosen to sing with the full orchestra while competing for top prizes.

Cynthia Wildridge

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sunday, April 30, 2017

and we’ll see you at the
Winspear Opera House for the
29th Annual Dallas Opera Guild
Vocal Competition

Donate to the Vocal Competition

Check out a list of
Past Winners

Important Dates

Jan 10
Chosen Semi-Finalists contacted via phone
Feb 7 Press release announcement of Semi-Finalists
Apr 28
 Competitors expected in Dallas
Apr 29 Semi-Finals
Apr 30 Finals

Questions? Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.  Before completing your application please review our Terms and Conditions for all competitors. 

For information regarding the 2017 competition please email

Honoree  for the 2017 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition is Dr. Susan G. Fleming.  Honorees are chosen for their dedicated service to The Dallas Opera, The Dallas Opera Guild and their community.