THE DALLAS OPERA GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION IS NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FROM ACCOMPLISHED, YOUNG AMERICAN SINGERS!
Chaired by Dr. Brian Zeger
TDO Orchestra and Finalists Conducted by
Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director
Finals Round Scheduled for Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House
The AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas, Texas
DALLAS, TX – The Dallas Opera is pleased to announce that applications for the expanded and updated Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. (the free Semi-Finals Round, open to the public) and Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. (Finals Round) are now being accepted.
Applications MUST be submitted via YAP Tracker, along with a $35 entry fee. Go to www.dallasopera.org/vocal for the link. The deadline for applications is 11:59 p.m. (Central Time) on Sunday, November 20, 2016.
Those chosen by preliminary round judges to advance to the competition semifinals in the acoustically acclaimed Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center will be personally notified in mid-January 2017, with a public announcement to follow in early February.
Competitors in the 2016 Competition took home prize monies totaling $18,500. Although this competition has as its primary focus artists in the 18 to 34 age range, singers of any age may apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition originally focused on young artists with Texas roots or Lone Star academic connections, and its many distinguished alumni include luminaries from throughout the opera world: Latonia Moore, Clifton Forbis, Marjorie Owens, Weston Hurt, Steven LaBrie, Amanda Woodbury, Jesus Garcia, Anthony Clark Evans, and most recently, Kang Wang and Virginie Verrez.
As the competition sought to gain even greater prominence and significance, The Dallas Opera and The Dallas Opera Guild made significant changes in 2015, prompting Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell to write that the competition had “considerably upped its ante.” This year, the evolution continues:
- In order to attract the most talented applicant pool with the greatest potential, the eligibility criteria for applicants changed. Today, it is open to residents of all 50 states and U.S. Territories, including international students attending American colleges, universities, and music conservatories. Also eligible are active members of any young artist program associated with an American opera company.
- The Finals Round, taking place on Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 7:30 pm in the Winspear Opera House as part of The Dallas Opera’s annual Spring Gala, will be accompanied by The Dallas Opera Orchestra, conducted by TDO’s internationally acclaimed Music Director, Emmanuel Villaume. Up to six finalists will participate, singing two arias each.
The impact of these changes was immediately perceived. Senior Classical Music Critic Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of theaterjones.com wrote: “The results surely exceeded expectations for this newly re-envisioned competition…It won’t take long to situate itself at the top of such events and become an important gold star on any young artist’s résumé.”
Judges for the expanded 29th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition will be drawn from distinguished performers and opera administrators including Keith Cerny, The Dallas Opera’s Kern Wildenthal General Director & CEO and the Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director Emmanuel Villaume.
The Dallas Opera is very pleased to announce the return of renowned arts administrator, educator and adjudicator Dr. Brian Zeger as Chair of the Judges Panel for the 2017 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 former Executive Director of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
A prominent broadcast professional and frequent guest on the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, Dr. Zeger has also contributed critical essays for publications such as Opera News, Chamber Music Magazine and The Yale Review. He has participated in countless summer festivals: Ravinia, Santa Fe, Caramoor, Aldeburgh and Aspen, as well as the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival where he served as artistic director from 1993-2000. This native New Yorker has also adjudicated the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Concert Artists Guild Auditions and the Walter W. Naumberg Vocal Competition.
Commented General Director & CEO Keith Cerny: “The Guild Competition took a bold step forward in recent years and the result has been tremendously gratifying! Emmanuel Villaume and The Dallas Opera Orchestra have brought a significant level of excitement to these performances and clearly inspired last year’s finalists to rise to the occasion.
“However, each competition brings an entirely new set of challenges and gives us additional opportunities to build upon our previous successes.
“Working closely with Dr. Brian Zeger, our esteemed adjudicators, and the Guild, we continually seek new ways to attract the very finest young singers of this generation. Their presence on the Winspear stage also promises to make our annual Spring Gala one of the most sought-after tickets in town.”
Judges for the 2017 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition:
Brian Zeger, Chair
Artistic Director of Juilliard’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts
General Director and CEO, The Dallas Opera
Music Director, The Dallas Opera
Director of Artistic Planning, Lyric Opera of Chicago
Casting Director Bavarian State Opera,
Casting Consultant to Glyndebourne Festival and Opera d’Lille
Senior Director of Artistic Planning, Los Angeles Opera
Director of Artistic Administration, Houston Grand Opera
Dallas Opera Guild Co-President Jana Irwin explained that “The Dallas Opera Guild views this annual competition as the capstone of our philanthropic and supportive endeavors. The need to support the future of opera is so profound, particularly as it relates to young and somewhat unknown singers. As singers are selected, their professional stature automatically increases due to press and media exposure. However, the competition itself provides additional benefits for these singers, as well as the local opera community. It is truly a win-win situation for all concerned.”
Dallas Opera Guild 2017 Vocal Competition Chairs Bob and Patsy Brooks write: “The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition gives singers pursuing a professional opera career the opportunity to showcase their talents and compete with other singers for financial rewards. Best of all is the chance to perform before a panel of distinguished judges celebrated throughout the opera world.”
ABOUT THE 2017 DALLAS OPERA GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION
Potential applicants are encouraged to check TDO’s website for more information about the application process: www.dallasopera.org/vocal. The entry fee is $35. Applications must be submitted exclusively through YAP Tracker — no later than 11:59 p.m. (Central Time) on Sunday, November 20, 2016. Semi-Finalists will be notified by January 10, 2017. Additional info can be obtained by contacting The Dallas Opera at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House is conveniently located in the heart of the Arts District at 2403 Flora Street, Dallas, TX 75201.
HISTORY OF THE DALLAS OPERA GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION:
In February of 1987, then-Dallas Opera Guild Presidents Connie and Jerry Klemow proposed establishing a Guild-sponsored scholarship fund to financially assist qualified singers seeking a career in opera. With the approval of The Dallas Opera management and the enthusiastic support of Artistic Director Nicola Rescigno, a committee comprised of Pat Blankenship, Nora Sands and Maria Santarelli, chaired by Connie Klemow, was entrusted to formulate a plan. Soon, the committee welcomed the assistance of then-General Director Plato Karayanis, company dramaturg Roger Pines and Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic John Ardoin.
Mr. Ardoin suggested a grants program be established in lieu of a scholarship fund or a competition. His suggestion was considered and the concept accepted. It was decided to focus on applicants from North Texas, ages 18-35 with some professional experience. Roger Pines named the program “The Career Development Grant for Singers” (CDGS) and after 20 months of planning the first CDGS program was presented on October 8, 1988 at SMU’s Caruth Auditorium.
However, for any program to remain dynamic, change and growth must occur. During these past 27 years there have been many changes. From the initial grants program, the concept evolved into The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition which, until 2014, was focused on vocalists with a Texas connection, both natives and temporary residents. A “People’s Choice Award” and Encouragement Awards were added and, today, financial awards are given directly to the winners to use at their discretion. Through this event, the Guild continues to recognize and honor members of The Dallas Opera community who have demonstrated a special interest in promoting the careers of talented young singers, or, have given exceptional support to The Dallas Opera and the Guild. Jonathan Pell, former Artistic Director of The Dallas Opera, led the Judge’s panel for the first 26 years.
The vocal competition was significantly reimagined and expanded in its 27th year, under the leadership of Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, to allow applicants from all 50 states and U.S. Territories. Dr. Brian Zeger, Artistic Director of Juilliard’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts and former Executive Director for the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera now chairs a judge’s panel that includes leading figures in American Opera administration and classical music.
The competition was expanded to take place over a two-day period. 2017 participants will be heard during Saturday’s semi-finals and the selected finalists will perform again Sunday evening, accompanied by The Dallas Opera Orchestra under the direction of the Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director Emmanuel Villaume. Both events are held in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in the AT&T Performing Arts Center and, this year, for the very first time, the Finals Round will be incorporated into the company’s glamorous, annual Spring Gala.
The Dallas Opera Guild remains dedicated to its original commitment to recognize, honor and support exceptionally talented young singers. The distributed award monies are funded anew each year. Guild members graciously donate their time, energy, money and talents to ensure that this prestigious annual competition succeeds in cultivating the next generation of world-class artists.
EVENTS, GUESTS AND ARTISTS SUBJECT TO CHANGE
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