The Dallas Opera National Vocal Competition showcases the talents of young singers aspiring to professional careers in opera.
The competition is open to residents of all 50 states and U.S. Territories. Competitors must be United States citizens or have the right to work in the U.S. There is no upper or lower age limit for the applicants, however, the competition is intended to focus primarily on individuals of 18-34 years of age at the start day of the competition. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Participants compete for prestige and monetary prizes during the event held in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. The finalists also have the opportunity to sing with The Dallas Opera Orchestra under the baton of Music Director Emmanuel Villaume.
The competition will award $10,000 for the grand prize, $5,000 to 2nd place, $2,500 to 3rd place, and $1,000 to the People’s Choice winners.
Congratulations to the 2021-2022 Season Winners!
First Place: Blake Denson, baritone
Second Place: Kathryn Henry, soprano
Third Place: Sylvia D’Eramo, soprano and Sun-Ly Pierce, mezzo-soprano
People’s Choice Award (determined by audience vote): Blake Denson, baritone
The 2021-2022 Dallas Opera National Vocal Competition was co-chaired by Dallas Opera Guild members Jana and Mac Irwin to honor the memories of Cecile Bonte and Connie Klemow, who were longtime leaders of The Dallas Opera Guild and enthusiastic supporters of The Dallas Opera’s young artist development programs. Please consider a gift honoring the memory of these extraordinary women by donating here.
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’s 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 as well as 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.