FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, May 3, 2019
Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014
“AND THE WINNERS ARE…”
Top Honors Announced This Evening
In the 31st Annual
Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition
Outstanding Young Artists Awarded
$18,500 in Cash Prizes
Soprano Meghan Kasanders
Takes Top Prize and $10,000 Cash!
Second Prize ($5,000) Goes to Reginald Smith, Jr.
Third Prize ($2,500) Awarded to Christopher Oglesby
The “Jonathan Pell People’s Choice Award” ($1,000) Determined by Audience Ballot Goes to Meghan Kasanders
Vocal Competition Co-Chairs, Susan Fleming and Linda McKown
Holly and Tom Mayer Honored for Their Leadership and Generous Support of The Dallas Opera and The Dallas Opera Guild
DALLAS, MAY 3, 2019 – An elite group of twenty of the most talented young opera singers in the country competed this week for prestige and cash prizes in the 31st Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. At the conclusion of this evening’s exciting Finals Round, hosted by Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin, 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 Bessylee Penland First Prize, presented by 2019 Vocal Competition Honorees Holly and Tom Mayer was awarded to soprano Meghan Kasanders
- The $5,000 Second Prize, presented by 2019 Dallas Opera Guild Co-Presidents Jan and James Clay went to baritone Reginald Smith, Jr.
- The Third Prize of $2,500, was presented by competition Co-Chairs Susan Fleming and Linda McKown to tenor Christopher Oglesby
- The $1,000 “Jonathan Pell People’s Choice Award,” newly renamed to honor former TDO Artistic Director Jonathan Pell, was presented by Katherine and Michael Phillips to Meghan Kasanders
This year, the twenty semi-finalists were selected from a group of 307 applicants from 36 states (residents of the U.S. territories are eligible to apply for the prestigious competition, as well) by a panel of preliminary judges that included American pianist and educator Dr. Brian Zeger of the Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at The Juilliard School, and David Lomeli, Director of Artistic Administration for The Dallas Opera.
THE 2019 SEMI-FINALISTS
THE DALLAS OPERA GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION
- Lindsay Kate Brown, mezzo-soprano, Houston Grand Opera Studio / Des Moines Metro Opera Apprentice Artist Program
- Jeff Byrnes, baritone, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Gerdine Young Artists Program
- Anthony Ciaramitaro, tenor, Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program / Merola Opera Program
- Lauren Decker, contralto, The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago
- Ben Edquist, baritone, Houston Grand Opera Studio
- Calvin Griffin, bass-baritone, Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio
- Pureum Jo, soprano, Houston Grand Opera Studio
- Meghan Kasanders, soprano, Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at the Juilliard School
- Andrew Manea, baritone, Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera
- Felicia Moore, soprano, Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at the Juilliard School
- Rafael Moras, tenor, Santa Fe Apprentice Program / Domingo Colburn Stein Young Artists Los Angeles Opera
- John Matthew Myers, tenor, Academy of Vocal Arts
- Diana Newman, soprano, The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago
- Ndumiso Nyoka, tenor, Southern Methodist University
- Christopher Oglesby, tenor, San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship / Utah Opera Resident Artist
- Emmett O’Hanlon, baritone, The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago
- Christian Pursell, bass-baritone, Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera
- Abigail Rethwisch, soprano, Santa Fe Apprentice Program / Utah Opera Resident Artist
- Reginald Smith, Jr., baritone, Winner of Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions / Houston Grand Opera Studio
- Xiaomeng Zhang, baritone, Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at the Juilliard School
The Semi-Finals Round took place yesterday, Thursday, May 2nd, as twenty 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: contralto Lauren Decker, soprano Meghan Kasanders, soprano Diana Newman, tenor Christopher Oglesby, bass-baritone Christian Pursell, and baritone Reginald Smith, Jr.
The six finalists competed earlier this evening for a blue-ribbon judges panel, accompanied by the Dallas Opera Orchestra under the baton of the internationally renowned Music Director of the Donizetti Opera Festival in Bergamo, Italy, Maestro Riccardo Frizza.
Only patrons in attendance were eligible to vote for “the people’s choice.”
Dallas Opera Guild Co-Presidents Jan and James Clay explained, “Our exciting annual competition is the most high-profile facet of The Dallas Opera Guild’s year-long commitment to support exceptionally talented young opera artists. The future of opera, not only in Texas, but throughout the world, is dependent on the discovery and development of bright new talent. The Guild takes that part of our mission very seriously, and we are delighted at the number of people who turned out tonight to show their support for these fine young singers!”
Judges for the 2019 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition:
Vice President of Artistic Operations, The Dallas Symphony Orchestra
The Kern Wildenthal General Director & CEO, The Dallas Opera
Director of Artistic Administration, San Diego Opera
Music Director of the Donizetti Opera Festival in Bergamo, Italy
Director of Artistic Administration, The Dallas Opera
Vice President, Artistic Planning, Lyric Opera of Chicago
Brian Zeger, Chair
Artistic Director of the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts
The Juilliard School
First Prize Winner and “Jonathan Pell People’s Choice Award”- MEGHAN KASANDERS
Hailed by Opera News as “a wonderfully promising, rich dramatic soprano,” Meghan Kasanders “displays power and sheen at all dynamic levels.” This past year, she made her Carnegie Hall debut singing in Bernstein’s Songfest under the direction of Marin Alsop and the role of Magda Sorel in Opera Saratoga’s critically acclaimed production of The Consul. This year, she sings Sibelius’ Luonnotar with Maestra Barbara Hannigan and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Juilliard School, where she will receive an Artist Diploma in opera studies in May. This summer, Meghan will attend the International Meistersinger Akademie in Neumarkt, Germany. Ms. Kasanders has worked with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Saratoga, Des Moines Metro Opera, Union Avenue Opera and the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices. Ms. Kasanders holds a Master’s degree from Rice University and a Bachelor’s from Simpson College.
During this evening’s Finals Round, Ms. Kasanders performed “Zachem zhe eti slyozi” from Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame and “To This We’ve Come” from Giancarlo Menotti’s The Consul.
Second Prize Winner baritone REGINALD SMITH, JR.
Baritone Reginald Smith, Jr. has been lauded as a “passionate performer” (The New York Times) with an “electric, hall-filling” (The Baltimore Sun) and “thrillingly dramatic” voice (Opera News) that is “one of the most exciting baritone sounds to come along in years” (Opera News). A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Smith is a Grand Finals winner of the 2015 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and graduate of the HGO Studio. This season, he has or will appear as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Opera Memphis, Amonasro in Aida with Opera Idaho, the baritone solo in Carmina Burana for the Houston Symphony, a debut with the New Jersey Symphony as the bass soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (which he will also perform with the West Virginia Symphony), as well as a return to the rosters of Lyric Opera of Chicago and SFO.
In today’s Finals Round, Reginald Smith, Jr. performed “O du mein Holder Abendstern” from Wagner’s Tannhäuser and “Eri tu che macchiavi quell’anima” from Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera.
Third Prize Winner tenor CHRISTOPHER OGLESBY
Tenor and first-year San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, Christopher Oglesby, was most recently a Resident Artist at Utah Opera where he sang Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette and was the tenor soloist for Handel’s Messiah with the Utah Symphony. As a participant in the 2018 Merola Opera Program, he debuted as Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress. As an education artist at The Dallas Opera, he appeared in Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne as well as Davies’ The Three Little Pigs. An active soloist and recitalist, Mr. Oglesby has performed with the Utah Symphony, the Abilene Philharmonic, Dallas Puccini Society, and in the Schwabacher Recital Series at San Francisco Opera. He holds Bachelor of Music degrees in Vocal Performance, Choral Education, and Band Education from Lee University and a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of North Texas.
In this evening’s Finals Round, Mr. Oglesby performed “Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön” from Die Zauberflöte by Mozart and “Vary the Song” from Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.
Earlier, Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume noted, “This competition is one of the most rewarding aspects of our work at The Dallas Opera. Although it doesn’t seem possible, the caliber of the singers improves every year, and inspires us to continue to support and develop this excellent and much-needed program.”
CONTRIBUTORS TO THE 2019 GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION INCLUDE:
HOLLY AND TOM MAYER
KATHERINE & MICHAEL PHILLIPS
(The Jonathan Pell People’s Choice Award)
(Sponsor of Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin as
Mistress of Ceremonies for the Finals Concert)
CHRISTOPHER A. SALERNO
(Donating the cost of lunches for all competition contestants, judges, accompanists and opera staff)
DIAMOND PATRONS ($5,000 AND ABOVE)
HOLLY AND TOM MAYER
KATHERINE AND MICHAEL PHILLIPS
PLATINUM PATRONS ($2,500 – $4,999)
RICHARD AND ENIKA SCHULZE
GOLD PATRONS ($1,000 – $2,499)
MARTHA AND DR. ROBERT ALLDAY
ELAINE AND BILL BLAYLOCK
PATSY AND BOB BROOKS
JAN AND JAMES CLAY
PATTI AND JOHN CODY
CINDY AND CHARLIE FELD
SUSAN AND MARK GEYER
MARILYN AND WARD HALLA
TOM AND PHYLLIS McCASLAND
SANDRA AND BILL SANDERSON
STEVE AND BETTY SUELLENTROP
INGE AND SAM VASTOLA
For additional information about the 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.
2018-2019 SEASON SPONSOR
The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family
ABOUT THE DALLAS OPERA
Founded in 1957, The Dallas Opera is an internationally-recognized innovator dedicated to the overall advancement of the operatic art form and the support of established and emerging artists, as well as the education and development of new opera audiences in North Texas—and beyond. These goals are achieved by commissioning and producing world-class opera; through ground-breaking institutes, national competitions and topical programs; and by presenting opera in both traditional and non-traditional formats and venues in order to attract patrons of every age, background, educational level, and ethnicity—while engaging with more than 87,000 people in our community each year. TDO is equally committed to the task of responsible stewardship and is managed with efficiency and accountability, to the highest possible standards.
EVENTS, GUESTS AND ARTISTS SUBJECT TO CHANGE
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE DALLAS OPERA
IS AVAILABLE ONLINE, 24/7. VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG
FOR HIGH-RESOLUTION PHOTOGRAPHS
Contact Suzanne Calvin, Director of Media and PR at email@example.com
The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: Elsa von Seggern Foundation, Texas Instruments Foundation, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs; the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera.
Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News.
The Dallas Opera Family Performances are generously supported by
Texas Instruments, Lockheed Martin, and
The Betty and Steve Suellentrop Educational Outreach Fund
TDO Family Performances are a part of the
Perot Foundation Education and Community Outreach Programs
TICKET INFORMATION FOR THE 2018-2019 DALLAS OPERA SEASON
All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise indicated. Single tickets range from $19 to $289 (excluding boxes). Family performance tickets are just $5. For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at www.dallasopera.org.
THE DALLAS OPERA 2018-2019 MAINSTAGE SEASON: SPRING
The Dallas Opera celebrates its 62nd International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired. With the exception of FIRST NIGHT, The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk will begin one hour prior to curtain, at most performances.
MANON LESCAUT by Giacomo Puccini
Semi-Staged Concert, March 1, 3 (m), 6, 9, 2019
Featuring images of select art works from the collections of The Dallas Museum of Art!
The woman who has everything discovers too late that she has nothing – without true love!
Libretto by Domenico Oliva and Luigi Illica
Time: Late 18th century
Place: France and America
Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume
Director: Edward Berkeley
Costume Designer: Tommy Bourgeois
Lighting Designer: Krista Billings
Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Kristin Lewis* (Manon Lescaut), Musa Ngqungwana (Lescaut), Gregory Kunde (Chevalier des Grieux), Andrea Silvestrelli (Geronte de Ravoir), Jonas Hacker* (Edmondo), Mark S. Doss (Innkeeper), Alyssa Martin (Singer), Matthew Grills* (Dance Master), Clay Hilley* (Lamplighter), Mark McCrory (Sergeant of the Royal Archers) and David Leigh* (Naval Captain).
LA BOHÈME by Giacomo Puccini
March 15, 17 (m), 20, 23, 29, 31 (m), 2019
The most timeless love story in all of opera returns to break your heart!
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
Time: 19th century
Place: The Latin Quarter of Paris, France
Conductor: Giuliano Carella
Director: Tomer Zvulun
Set Designer: Erhard Rom
Costume Designer: Peter J. Hall
Lighting Designer: Robert Wierzel
Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Jean-François Borras* (Rodolfo), Pumeza Matshikiza** (Mimi), Anthony Clark Evans* (Marcello), Sara Gartland (Musetta), Will Liverman* (Schaunard), Nicholas Brownlee* (Colline), and Samuel Ramey (Benoit/Alcindoro).
FALSTAFF by Giuseppe Verdi
April 26, 28 (m), May 1, 4, 2019
Shakespeare’s uproarious comedy brought to musical life!
Libretto by Arrigo Boito
Time: During the reign of Henry IV of England
Conductor: Riccardo Frizza
Original Director: Lee Blakeley
Revival Director: Shawna Lucey*
Set and Costume Designer: Adrian Linford*
Lighting Designer: Rick Fisher*
Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Mark Delavan* (Sir John Falstaff), Angela Meade (Alice Ford), Quinn Kelsey* (Ford), Mojca Erdmann* (Nanetta), Airam Hernández* (Fenton), Stephanie Blythe* (Dame Quickly), Megan Marino* (Meg Page), Alex Mansoori* (Bardolfo), Andrea Silvestrelli (Pistola), and Robert Brubaker (Dr. Caius).
* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut