New York, NY (September 27, 2018) – Young opera singers from across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and for the first time, Mexico, will compete for $15,000 cash prizes and the opportunity to launch major operatic careers, when the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions launches its 65th annual auditions program this fall. Over 1,000 singers between the ages of 20 and 30 will participate in the program, the longest-running singing competition in the country. Finalists will perform on the stage of the Met at the Grand Finals Concert on Sunday, March 31, 2019.
The National Council Auditions are seen as a major step on the road to an international career in opera. Past winners include some of world’s best-known opera stars, including Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, Jessye Norman, Susanna Phillips, Teresa Stratas, and Frederica von Stade. On average, nearly one hundred alumni of the National Council Auditions will be seen in Met performances each season. Former winners starring in the forthcoming 2018-19 season include Jamie Barton, Stephanie Blythe, Michael Fabiano, Ryan Speedo Green, Nathan Gunn, Angela Meade, Eric Owens, and Nadine Sierra.
Aspiring singers who hope to become 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Winners must compete in four rounds of auditions. The first level of the competition will be held in 41 Districts throughout North America, including one district in Canada, one district in Puerto Rico, and one district in Mexico; the winners of the Districts will advance to one of the 12 Regional Finals. The District and Regional auditions will take place from October through February. Approximately 20 - 25 regional first place winners receive a cash prize and will be sponsored to travel to New York in March for the National Council Auditions Semi-Finals on the Met stage. Up to 11 singers will then compete at the National Grand Finals concert on Sunday, March 31, 2019, singing on the Met stage, accompanied by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Approximately four to six singers are named National Council Auditions Winners, each receiving a $15,000 prize and invaluable career-making exposure.
Members of the Met’s artistic staff and other professionals from the opera world judge the auditions and give each singer feedback, which includes career advice and ideas on future engagements.
For 65 years, hundreds of volunteers across the regions have generously given of their time, money and support to help the Met organize and fund the auditions in their respective Districts and Regions. Recently, Camille LaBarre, Chairperson of the National Council Auditions since 1989, welcomed Carol E. Domina as the new President, replacing Mitchell Lathrop. Melissa Wegner, who has been the Deputy Director of the National Council Auditions and Artistic Administration Associate since 2017, has been named Auditions’ Executive Director.