Eight voice and opera students at the Eastman School of Music will take center stage in the finals of the Friends of Eastman Opera Voice Competition at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, in Kilbourn Hall. The annual event, which is free and open to the public, gives local audiences the exciting opportunity to hear rising vocal talents early in their careers.
The eight students were selected from a preliminary round of 26 competitors who were judged by a panel of Eastman School voice and opera faculty. The adjudicator for the finals is Darren K. Woods, general director of the Fort Worth Opera and a frequent vocal competition judge.
For the finals, singers prepare three arias in two different languages; each sings a work of his or her choice, with the adjudicator picking the second aria. The top three winners will be announced at the end of the recital and will receive prizes totaling $2,250. The first prize of $1,000 is the Lynne Clarke Vocal Prize, donated by Friends of Eastman Opera founding member John Clarke in memory of his wife. A reception open to everyone will be held on the Cominsky Promenade following the competition.
This year’s finalists are:
- Julia Cramer, soprano, a senior at the Eastman School of Music
- Vernon Di Carlo, tenor, a second-year master’s degree student
- Evan Jones, baritone, a Doctor of Musical Arts degree student
- Amanda Kingston, soprano, a first-year master’s degree student
- Kyle Matthew Knapp, tenor, a senior at the Eastman School of Music
- Korin Kormick, mezzo-soprano, a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree
- Quinn Patrick, mezzo-soprano, a Doctor of Musical Arts degree student
- Sarah Sensenig, soprano, a second-year master’s degree student
Woods, the competition judge, also serves as general director of the Seagle Music Colony, a training and performance center in the Adirondacks for musicians and singers. At Fort Worth and in his previous appointment as general director of the Shreveport Opera, he launched outreach programs offering concerts, coaching, and lessons to school children. He has been a panel judge for the Richard Tucker Foundation, the Metropolitan Opera National Council, the Lieber Competition, the Denver and the Dallas Opera Guilds, and the Marguerite McCammon Competition. He also performed as a professional operatic tenor for 20 years.
The winner of the first Friends of Eastman Opera Voice Competition, held in 2001, was Janinah Burnett, who received her master’s degree in 2002 and went on to play the lead in La Bohème on Broadway in 2003.
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Saturday, Nov. 17
Finals of Friends of Eastman Opera Voice Competition
Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St.
Free and open to the public