Monday, February 23, 2009

The Met Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals Concert

It's a mouthful of a name, but the singing was wonderful, to these untrained ears at least. The Finalists, winners of regionals, came from all over the country. They are all doing graduate work or apprenticeship with opera companies. Appearing at the Met was the result of years of hard work; it was also potentially the launch of a brilliant career. 

Thomas Hampson, a past winner at these Grand Finals, hosted. Each of the eight Finalists sang two works, one before, and one after the intermission. Anthony Roth Costanzo, a countertenor from Durham, North Carolina, sang Handel's "Rompo i lacci" from Flavio and "Stille amare" from Tolomeo. Noah A. Baetge, a tenor from Seattle, sang "Fra poco a me ricovero" from Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti) and "Pourquoi me reveiller" from Werther (Massenet). Kiri Dyan Deonarine, a soprano from Fair Lawn, New Jersey, sang "Piangero la sorte mia" from Giulio Cesare, and an English piece "The trees on the mountains" from Susannah (Floyd). Paul Appleby, a tenor from South Bend, Indiana, sang "Dal labbro il canto estasiato vola" from Falstaff (Verdi) and "O wie angstlich" from Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail (Mozart). 

Sarah Mesko, a mezzo-soprano from Hot Springs, Arkansas, sang "Svegliatevi nel core" from Giulio Caesare and "All'afflitto e dolce il pianto" from Roberto Devereux (Donizetti). Sung Eun Lee, a tenor from Seoul, sang "Ah! leve-toi soleil!" from Romeo et Juliette (Gounod) and "la donna e mobile" from Rigoletto (Verdi). Nadine Sierra, soprano from Fort Lauderdale, sang "Ah! Je veux vivre" from Romeo et Juliette, and "Ruhe sanft" from Zaide (Mozart). Jessica Julin, a soprano from Danville, California, sang "Non, cet affreux devoir...Je t'implore" from Iphigenie en Tauride (Gluck) and Lisa's Aria from The Queen of Spades (Tchaikovsky). 

Guest Artist Dolora Zajick sang "La luce langue" from Macbeth (Verdi). Her voice was aptly and admiringly described by DWF as "cavernous." She was a frightening Lady M. 

And the winners were Sung Eun Lee, Paul Appleby, Anthony Roth Costanzo, and Nadine Sierra, announced in that order (I don't know if the order was significant). I would like to think well of my taste since they were my picks as well, but the coincidence was due more to their outstanding performances. I did like Noah A. Baetge as well. Thanks to DWF for a such an interesting peek into the machinery of opera stardom. 


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