Soprano Laura Sanders won the Friends of Eastman Opera’s annual competition for Eastman School of Music voice and opera students, held February 10 in the School’s Kilbourn Hall. She received the Lynne Clarke Vocal Prize in the amount of $1,500, donated by John Clarke in honor of his late wife, a founding member of the Friends of Eastman Opera.
Soprano Liliana Natalie Buickians was awarded second place and the Annabel Muenter Vocal Prize of $1,000, named in honor of a long-time member and competition chair for many years. Soprano Robin Steitz was awarded the third prize of $750, and mezzo soprano Emma Ritter received Honorable Mention of $400. All of the recipients are graduate students at the Eastman School of Music.
The adjudicator for the competition was Stephen Wadsworth, director of opera studies at Juilliard and head of dramatic studies for the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Wadsworth has directed at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Vienna Staatsoper, Nederlandse Opera, Edinburgh Festival, and in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Santa Fe. He is the author of translations of three Marivaux plays (published as Marivaux: Three Plays, Smith and Kraus 1999); the story for Daron Hagen and Gardner McFall’s Amelia (Seatte Opera 2010); translations of the three Beaumarchais Figaro plays (2013-2016, commissioned by McCarter Theatre); That’s Not Tango, a monodrama about Astor Piazzolla (SubCulture 2016); a translation of Maeterlinck’s play Pelléas et Mélisande (Cincinnati Symphony 2016); and many important translations of classic plays and operas by Monteverdi, Handel, Mozart, and Goldoni. Wadsworth was named Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 2004, and his other honors include Harman/Eisner Artist in Residence at the Aspen Institute, Sundance Playwrighting Fellow, and John Stratton Distinguished Visitor at University of Toronto.
Pictured standing, first row, from left: Emma Ritter, Robin Steitz, Liliana Natalia Buickians, Laura Sanders; in back, Stephen Wadsworth