ROCHESTER, NY — Finals for the seventh annual Lotte Lenya Competition for Singers, which recognizes versatile young musical theater artists, are set for Saturday, March 27, 2004, at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. The first round will begin at noon in Eastman’s Kilbourn Hall (26 Gibbs St.) with a break at approximately 4 p.m., followed by a second-round concert at 7:30 p.m., after which the winners will be announced. Both portions of the competition are free and open to the public.
Judges will be Angelina Réaux, renowned singer/actress and interpreter of Weill; Theodore Chapin, President of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization and longtime Tony-Award nominator; and Alvin Epstein, actor and stage director with a 50-year career on and off-Broadway. Awards at the finals will include prizes of $7500, $5000, and $3000, and winners will also be presented in a June 3 concert at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts in New York City.
This year’s finalists are Richard Todd Adams, tenor (New York City); Raquel Adorno, soprano (Urbana, IL); Audrey Babcock, mezzo-soprano (New York City); Victoria Baker, soprano (Greenwich, CT); Re’ut Ben-Ze’ev, soprano (Forest Hills, NY); Jesse Blumberg, baritone (New York City); Alta Boover, mezzo-soprano (New York City); Andrew Garland, baritone (Cincinnati, OH); Oliver Henderson, baritone (Greenville, NC); Amy Justman, soprano (New York City); Rebecca Jo Loeb, mezzo-soprano (Ann Arbor, MI); and Misty Ann Sturm, soprano (Lindenhurst, NY). To show versatility in the performance of varied musical theater styles, each finalist will be asked to prepare an aria from the opera/operetta repertoire, two contrasting theatrical selections by Weill, and a selection from the Broadway musical theater repertoire by a composer other than Weill.
In the six years since it was inaugurated, the Lotte Lenya Competition has grown into an international contest. Although the competitors come predominately from the Northeast, regional contestants in the 2004 competition included young artists from as far away as Venezuela, in addition to those from California, Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, and North Carolina. Among the winners from past years are the following talented and versatile young performers:
- Peter McGillivray captured first prize in the vocal division of Canada’s annual CBC Radio National Competition for Young Performers and was invited to join the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio.
- Michael McKinsey is in the company of Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver tour.
- Ethan Watermeier sang in the world premiere of The Little Prince at the Houston Grand Opera, where he was a 2002-2003 studio member, after apprenticing at the Santa Fe Opera.
- Jennifer Goode was in the ensemble of Baz Luhrman’s Broadway Boheme, where she went on numerous times as Musetta.
- Raquela Sheeran sings Gretel, Sophie (Werther) and other roles with the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
- Jacob Langfelder is a cast member in the current national tour of The Sound of Music.
- Annette Postel is building a TV, cabaret, and recording career in Germany.
- Amy Orsulak has sung roles with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
- Brian Mulligan performed the title role in Juilliard Opera Theater’s Don Giovanni.
- Katia Escalera, after two years as an Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera, returned last season to her native Bolivia to sing Carmen at the Teatro Municipal in La Paz.
Further information regarding the 2003 Lotte Lenya Competition for Singers is available at the website of the Kurt Weill Foundation (www.kwf.org).