The Lotte Lenya Competition Takes Center Stage

The Lotte Lenya Competition Takes Center Stage

Sat, 04/06/2013 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Held annually by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music and celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theater singing contest that recognizes talented young singer-actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, and emphasizes the acting of songs and arias within a dramatic context. It will take place in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music Saturday, April 13.

Join host Robert Hammond and his guest Theodore S. Chapin, Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization President and American Theater Wing Vice-Chairman for a discussion about the Lotte Lenya Competition. This is Mr. Chapin’s eighth year serving as a judge at the competition.

Theodore S. Chapin

The Lotte Lenya Competition

In 1998, to honor the centenary of the birth of Lotte Lenya (1898-1981), an extraordinary singer/actress and one of the foremost interpreters of the music of her husband, Kurt Weill (1900-1950), the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music established an annual Lotte Lenya Competition.

The competition recognizes talented young singer/actors who are dramatically and musically convincing in repertoire ranging from opera/operetta to contemporary Broadway scores, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. More than a vocal competition, the Lotte Lenya Competition is a theater singing competition that emphasizes wide-ranging repertoire and the acting of songs and arias within a dramatic context.

Twelve exceptionally talented young singer-actors, with previous stage experience ranging from roles on Broadway to the Metropolitan Opera House, have been named finalists in the 2013 Lotte Lenya Competition. They will compete for top prizes of $15,000, $10,000 and $7,500 on Saturday, April 13, 2013, at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Acclaimed soprano and 2010 Opera News Award winner Patricia Racette, British opera and musical theater conductor James Holmes, and Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization President and American Theater Wing Vice-Chairman Theodore S. Chapin will serve as judges.

Finalists were selected from a group of twenty-four semi-finalists from the United States, Argentina, Australia, China, Germany, and Ireland after auditions in New York on March 15-16, 2013. Contestants were required to prepare four selections: an aria from the opera or operetta repertoire; two songs from the American musical theater repertoire (one from the pre-1968 "Golden Age" and one from 1968 or later); and a theatrical selection by Kurt Weill. Broadway leading lady and Tony Award nominee Rebecca Luker and Tony Award nominee and Olivier Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori served as coach-adjudicators, evaluating and working with each of the semi-finalists.

The 2013 finalists

Alison Arnopp, soprano (County Cork, Ireland); Daniel Berryman, tenor (New York); Douglas Carpenter, baritone (Woodbridge, Conn.); Ginger Costa-Jackson, mezzo-soprano (Sandy, Utah); Christian Ketter, tenor (Chicago); Mingjie Lei, tenor (Hengyang, China); Erin Mackey, soprano (Astoria, N.Y.); Rachel Kara Cordeiro-Pérez, soprano (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Heather Phillips, soprano (Philadelphia); Lauren Roesner, soprano (Cincinnati); Christy Sullivan, mezzo-soprano (Sydney, Australia); and Maren Weinberger, soprano (New York).

The finalists will perform their entire programs for the judges on April 13 between 11 am and 3 pm. At 8 pm, the competition will culminate in a concert featuring all of the finalists, followed by the announcement of the winners. Both the daytime finals and evening concert are free and open to the public, and will take place in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music, 26 Gibbs Street, Rochester, New York.

The Kurt Weill Foundation will award special prizes at the finals in addition to the top prizes, and has already presented Emerging Talent Awards to Cree Carrico, soprano (New York); Conor McDonald, baritone (Cincinnati); Sofia Selowsky, mezzo-soprano (Cincinnati); Brian Vu, baritone (New Haven, Conn.); Allan Washington, baritone (Winston-Salem, N.C.); and Katie Wesler, alto (Cincinnati). The Grace Keagy Award for Outstanding Vocal Promise went to Charles Z. Owen, bass-baritone, of Cincinnati.

Previous Lenya Competition winners are making their marks playing leading and featured roles in major theaters and opera houses around the globe. In the past year alone, their credits include performances on Broadway (Kyle Barisich, Morgan James), in national tours (Richard Todd Adams, Zachary James, Ariela Morgenstern), at Baltimore Centerstage, Westport Country Playhouse, and Portland Center Stage (Erik Liberman), The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park (Cooper Grodin), Classic Stage Company (Amy Justman), Metropolitan Opera (Paul Corona), New York City Opera (Lauren Worsham, Jennifer Goode Cooper), Los Angeles Opera (Rodell Rosel, Liam Bonner), Lyric Opera of Chicago (Rodell Rosel, Lucas Meachem), Florida Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Oper Leipzig (Jonathan Michie), Houston Grand Opera (Liam Bonner), Glimmerglass Festival (Noah Stewart), English National Opera and Teatro Real Madrid (Zachary James), Hamburg Staatsoper (Rebecca Jo Loeb), and Oper Frankfurt (Elizabeth Reiter).



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