New York, NY (March 31, 2019)—After a month's-long series of auditions involving more than 1,000 singers at the district, regional, and national levels, a panel of expert judges named five singers as the winners of the 65th annual Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Each winner receives a $15,000 cash prize.
The 2019 winners, the regions they represent in the competition, and their hometowns are:
Thomas Glass, 28, baritone (Rocky Mountain Region: Edina, Minnesota)
Miles Mykkanen, 27, tenor (Upper Midwest Region: Bessemer, Michigan)
William Guanbo Su, 24, bass (Eastern Region: Beijing, China)
Elena Villalón, 21, soprano (Central Region: Austin, Texas)
Michaela Wolz, 23, mezzo-soprano (Midwest Region: Eureka, Missouri)
Earlier this afternoon, nine finalists performed on the Met stage in the Grand Finals Concert, the final phase of the competition, hosted by countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, a 2009 National Council Auditions winner. Each finalist sang two arias with the Met Orchestra, led by Carlo Rizzi, followed by a special guest performance by bass-baritone Christian Van Horn, who won the 2003 Auditions. The judges for the Grand Finals Concert were Jonathan Friend, Paul Hopper, Melissa Wegner, and Diane Zola from the Met’s artistic staff, as well as guest judge Alexander Neef, representing the Canadian Opera Company and Santa Fe Opera.
The remaining four finalists, who each receive a $7,500 cash prize, are:
Piotr Buszewski, 26, tenor (Middle Atlantic Region: Warsaw, Poland)
Dashuai Chen, 28, tenor (Great Lakes Region: Shanghai, China)
Alaysha Fox, 27, soprano (Eastern Region: Queens, New York)
Meghan Kasanders, 27, soprano (Upper Midwest Region: Darien, Illinois)
The district-level and regional auditions, held across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, are sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council and administered by National Council members and hundreds of volunteers from across the country. Currently in its 65th year, the program has launched the careers of such well-known stars as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt, Lawrence Brownlee, Thomas Hampson, Eric Owens, Angela Meade, Nadine Sierra, Jamie Barton, and Ryan Speedo Green. The competition garnered international attention with the release of the 2008 feature-length documentary The Audition, directed by award-winning filmmaker Susan Froemke, which chronicled the 2007 National Council Auditions season and Grand Finals Concert.