Eastman School of Music students Thomas Lehman, Erin Gonzalez, and Alyssa Mae Doggett were named the winners of this year’s Friends of Eastman Opera voice competition, held November 20 in the School’s Kilbourn Hall.
Lehman, a baritone, was awarded first place in this year’s event. He received the Lynne Clarke Vocal Prize in the amount of $1,000, donated by John Clarke in honor of his late wife, a founding member of the Friends of Eastman Opera. A first year master’s degree student at Eastman, Lehman received his undergraduate degree from Ithaca College and recently made his professional operatic debut as Gugliemo in Cosi fan Tutte with the Delaware Valley Opera. He has been a soloist with the Ithaca College Choir, Eastman BroadBand Ensemble, and churches throughout upstate New York.
Gonzalez, a mezzo-soprano and second year master’s degree student, was awarded the second prize of $750. She is a 2008 graduate of Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and will be performing the role of Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with the Eastman Opera Theatre in January 2011.
The third place prize of $500 went to Doggett, a soprano and second year master’s degree student. Doggett studied vocal performance at Brigham Young University and has competed in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, where she received the Encouragement Award two years in a row.
The adjudicator for the finals was Paul Nadler, one of the world’s most respected symphonic and operatic conductors. Nadler is the co-founder and Director of Musical Activities for the International Vocal Arts Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding and training the most talented young opera singers around the world. Since his debut in 1989, Nadler has led more than 60 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, including Die Zauberflöt this season. He has conducted stars such as Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Karita Mattila, Bryn Terfel, Renee Fleming, Anna Netrebko, and in concert has collaborated with soloists such as Garrick Ohlsson, Emannuel Ax, Misha Dichter, and Glenn Dicterow.
The Friends of Eastman Opera is a membership organization that supports the Eastman School’s opera students, programs, and productions and promotes Eastman Opera Theatre in the Rochester community. It has sponsored an annual voice competition for Eastman students since 2001.
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