The Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition program cultivates young opera singers and assists in the development of their careers. The competition is held annually in 37 districts and 11 regions of the United States, Canada and Mexico – all administered by dedicated National Council members and volunteers. Winners of the Region auditions advance to compete in the National Semi-Finals. National finalists are then selected to compete in the Grand Finals Concert.
Since November 2000 the Kentucky District auditions have been held in Lexington, Kentucky. Sponsored by OperaLex, these auditions have awarded over $5,000 in prize money annually and sent singers on to the Central Regions in Chicago, the National Semi-Finals and the Grand Finals at the Met.
The Met Competition Semifinals and Grand Finals Concert take place at the Metropolitan Opera House. First place winners of the 11 regions travel to New York for musical preparation under the guidance of the Met staff. They compete with piano on the Met stage before members of the Met artistic staff and other invited opera professionals at the National Semi-Finals. Those not selected as national finalists receive a cash award of $2,500. All National Finalists remain in residence at the Met for another week and continue to coach with the Met’s music staff in preparation for the Grand Finals Concert with the Met Orchestra. During this final audition, they will compete before a public audience and a distinguished panel of judges for winner awards in the amount of $20,000. National finalists receive $10,000. All travel and housing for participants at the national level is paid for and arranged by the MONC. In addition, national participants are given a per diem for each day they are in New York.
Many of the world’s greatest singers, among them Lawrence Brownlee, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Renée Fleming, Lisette Oropesa, Eric Owens and Frederica von Stade, have won the Auditions. Annually, more than 100 former auditioners appear in Met productions.
The Kentucky District, sponsored by OperaLex, is proud to host and produce this important artistic event that helps and encourages young singers as they pursue careers in opera. From Lexington to Lincoln Center!