Past Seasons

2018-2019 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held at 11:00 AM Saturday, November 17, 2018 at the Singletary Center for the Arts, 405 Rose Street, Lexington, KY 40508.

Judges:

  • Bruce Donnell,freelance stage director
  • Barbara Lynne Jamison, General Director of Kentucky Opera in Louisville
  • Roberto Kalb,Resident Conductor and Head of Music at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

Accompanist: Cliff Jackson

Results:

Taylor Comstock, a tenor who is in his first year of graduate school at the University of Kentucky, took top honors and will go on to compete in the Central Region round of the auditions Jan. 20 at DePaul University in Chicago. It was the second victory this year on the stage of UK’s Singletary Center for the Arts for Comstock, who came in second in the graduate division of the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition in March. If Comstock, who hails from Independence, Missouri, is successful in Chicago, he will go on to compete in the national semi-finals of the competition on the Metropolitan Opera stage in New York.  Winning does not guarantee any roles at the Met or entry into its Young Artist program, but it is certainly a resume item worth having.”

Taylor Comstock, tenor, is a student of Dr. Everett McCorvey. He appeared in UK Opera Theatre’s recent production of Silent Night as Der Kronprinz, and sang the role of Alfredo in La Traviata, UKOT’s Spring 2018 production.  During the past summer Comstock appeared as a Studio Artist at Wolf Trap Opera, in the title role of Idomeneo.  He was a Grand Finalist in the 2018 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, and holds a BA degree in Vocal Performance/Opera from UK.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARDS:   

Four singers received Encouragement Awards, including three UK graduates: baritone Michael Pandolfo from Fort Worth, Texas, countertenor Key’mon Murrah, and mezzo-soprano Maggie Smith, both of Louisville. Soprano Alexandra Bork, whose hometown was listed as Nicholasville, though her professional Facebook page says she is based in London, England, also won an Encouragement Award.

Four Encouragement Awards Given at the Auditions:   

Four singers received Encouragement Awards, including three UK graduates: baritone Michael Pandolfo from Fort Worth, Texas, countertenor Key’mon Murrah, and mezzo-soprano Maggie Smith, both of Louisville. Soprano Alexandra Bork, whose hometown was listed as Nicholasville, though her professional Facebook page says she is based in London, England, also won an Encouragement Award.

Michael Pandolfo, baritone.  From his website: “Fort Worth, Texas, native Michael Pandolfo has been working in opera and musical theatre performance his entire life. Mr. Pandolfo has performed with numerous companies such as The Glimmerglass Festival, The Janiec Opera Company, The Seagle Music Colony, and Fort Worth Opera. He has also performed concert work at various houses across the country, including the Sarasota Opera House, the Mormon Tabernacle, Abravanel Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall. He has placed several times in the Kentucky NATS voice competitions. Mr. Pandolfo recently graduated from the University of Kentucky with his Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance, where he studied with renowned soprano Cynthia Lawrence.”

Key’mon W. Murrah, countertenor.  From his website: “My name is Key’mon W. Murrah. I am a graduating Arts Administration major with a minor in Vocal Performance at the University of Kentucky. I plan to pursue a career in Management, Development, and Advertisement in the arts, along with performing in the major opera houses across the U.S.” Mr. Murrah is a student of Dr. Angelique Clay.

Maggie Smith, mezzo-soprano, is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. She was a student of Dr. Noemi Lugo in the Vocal Music program at UK, graduating in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance. Earlier this year she completed a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from Florida State University, as a student of Dr. Chuck Chandler, himself a PhD graduate of UK’s School of Music.

Alex Bork, soprano, from Nicholasville, Kentucky, is currently based in London, UK. From her Facebook page: “Korean-American soprano Alexandra Bork recently completed her Master’s degree with distinction at the Royal Academy of Music and currently studies with Kathryn Harries. Full roles include the title characters in Madama ButterflySuor Angelica (cover), Dido and Aeneas, and Handel’s Serse, as well as Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Ottavia (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro, cover), and the Child in the world premiere of Laura Bowler’s I’m Not a Bit Like a Clown. She has also sung the soprano solos in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder, Mozart’s Vespers, and various cantatas by Vivaldi, Hasse, Bach, and Telemann.”


2017-2018 Season

RESULTS:

Congratulations to (from left to right): Lisa Rogali, Rebecca Farley, Taylor Comstock, and Megan Moore.

Two of the winners, soprano Rebecca Farley and tenor Taylor Comstock, are from the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre program. Farley received her bachelor’s degree from UK, where she was an Alltech Scholar, and studied at the Julliard School, where she was the recipient of the Kovner Fellowship. Comstock sang the lead role of Alfredo in the UK Opera Theatre’s production of La Traviata in October.

Rogali, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music, was recently a finalist in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Moore, who studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, was an Eastman School of Music Concerto Competition winner.

All four of these very talented artists advanced to the Central Region Finals auditions held on January 21 WHAT YEAR in Evanston, IL, where they competed with winners from the Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio districts for the chance to compete in the Semifinals and Grand Finals at the Metropolitan Opera House in April.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD WINNERS AND JUDGES

Audition judges and Encouragement Award winners (from left to right): Melissa Wegner, Associate Director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council; Mary Catherine Wright, recipient of the Gail Robinson Encouragement Award; Margaret Smith, recipient of an Encouragement Award; Johanna Meier, international soprano diva; and Ian Ferrer, Director of Kentucky Opera.

Thanks to the artists who participated, including accompanist Nan McSwain and Dr. Tedrin Blair Lindsay, who presented a program during the judges’ deliberations; the judges; and the organizers and volunteers who made this a wonderful afternoon of beautiful music and excitement.


2016-2017 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions, hosted by OperaLex, were held at 1:00 PM November 12, 2016 at First Presbyterian Church, 174 North Mill Street, Lexington, KY 40507.

Judges:

  • Dean Anthony
  • Stephanie Sundine
  • Diane Zola

A Master Class taught by Stephanie Sundine was held the following day, November 13, 2016 at 2:00 PM, also at First Presbyterian Church.

Nan McSwain was the official pianist for the auditions and the Master Class.

RESULTS:

District Winners!

Announcing our three equal winners, who will advance to the Central Region (from left to right): Thabang Masango (UK Opera Theatre);
Courtney Jameson 
(Indiana University); Jianan Huang (Indiana University).

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD WINNERS:

Taylor Comstock (winner of the Gail Robinson Encouragement Award) (UK Opera Theatre); Jeremiah Marcele Sanders (Butler University).

2015-2016 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held at 1:00 PM Saturday, November 7, 2015 at the Singletary Center For The Arts, 405 Rose Street, Lexington, KY 40508.

Judges: 

  • Jennifer Larmore, acclaimed mezzo-soprano
  • Marcus Küchle, Director of Artistic Operations at Cincinnati Opera
  • Dan Novak, Director of Chicago Lyric Opera’s Ryan Opera Center

Official Accompanist: Cliff Jackson

Tedrin Blair Lindsay presented the program during the judges’ deliberations.

Ms. Larmore taught a Master Class at 2:00 pm on Sunday, November 8, 2015 at the Singletary Center.

RESULTS:

(left to right): Mary Catherine Wright; Ashley Dannewitz; Shareese Arnold; Nicolette Book.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARDS:

Encouragement Award: Amanda Balltrip; Gail Robinson Encouragement Award: Thabang Masango.


2014-2015 Season

Report from Gayletha Nichols, Executive Director Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions:

Dear Volunteers:
We are thrilled so many of you were able to come to the MONC semi-finals and finals this season! What a terrific weekend with had with great opera, master classes, dinners together, meetings and of course, the Grand Finals Concert and reception. Attached (and at the bottom of this page) are just two of the many articles written about the concert. Perhaps there is something here you can use for your auditions publicity next season and for your websites now.

We had a very good Auditions Meeting Saturday and minutes will be distributed within the next couple weeks. Thanks again to everyone who returned the survey. We had approximately 85% participation in time to distribute information at the meeting. We’d still like to hear from everyone, it’s not too late to facture in everyone’s results before the end of the fiscal year.

I am already planning next season’s calendar, including travel for both Melissa and myself. The sooner I have your district and region dates, the more helpful that is to me. Updates on the judges lists, Handbook and other forms in our FTP, will be made over the summer. We’ll let you know when that’s all ready to go with a new password. Please enjoy these two photos attached … YOUR 2015 Met National Council Finalists!

Best to all, Gayletha

Wall Street Journal Article (PDF)
New York Times Article (PDF)



Mid-South Region Auditions:

Date: Saturday, February 21, 2015

Judges:

  • Marcus Küchle
  • Gayletha Nichols
  • David Roth
    Official accompanist: Cliff Jackson

RESULTS:

Mid-South Region winner was Matthew Turner; Second place winner was Huanhuan Ma.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARDS:

Christopher Kenney and Josh Quinn.

 

The Kentucky District Auditions were held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at Memorial Hall, 610 South Limestone, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508.

Judges:

  • Wolfgang Brendel
  • Carroll Freeman
  • Stanford Olsen

Official Accompanist: Cliff Jackson

Wolfgang Brendel taught the Master Class at 2:00 PM Sunday, Nov 23, 2014. WHERE?

RESULTS:

2014 Winners advancing to the Mid-South Region:


  
Rebecca Farley; Matthew Turner; Christopher Kenny.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARDS:


  
Mary Catherine Wright; Shareese Arnold; Jonathan Parham


2012-2013 Season

RESULTS:

Whitney Myers, Soprano; Jose Rubio, Baritone; William Clay Thompson, Bass.

The winners advanced to the Mid South Region Auditions in Memphis, TN on February 8, 2014.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD:

Elizabeth Maurey

Judges:

  • Dominic Cossa
  • Johanna Meier
  • Carol Vaness

Official Accompanist: Cliff Jackson

A Master Class was conducted by Carol Vaness at 2:00 PM Sunday, November 24, 2013.


2012-2013 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held Saturday, November 17, 2012 at Memorial Hall, 610 South Limestone, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508.

RESULTS:
Rebecca Farley, Thomas Gunther, Edward Nelson.

The winners advanced to the Mid-South Regional Finals held in Memphis on January 26, 2013.

Judges:

  • Douglas Ahlsted
  • Joan Dornemann
  • Gayletha Nichols

Official accompanist: John Greer

A Master Class for the 2012 District was given by Joan Dornemann.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARDS:

Evan Leroy Johnson; Jacob Waid.


2011 – 2012 Season Results
Kentucky District

The Kentucky District Auditions were held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, November 19, 2011 at Memorial Hall, 610 South Limestone, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508.

Judges:

  • Anthony Laciura
  • Johnna Meier
  • Sherrill Milnes

RESULTS:

Thomas Gunther; Rachel Sterrenberg; Vincent Turregano.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARDS:

Rebecca Farley
Reginald Smith

Xi Wang


2010-2011 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held at 10:00 AM Saturday, November 20, 2010 at Memorial Hall, 610 South Limestone, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508.

Judges:

  • Danielle Orlando
  • William J. Powers
  • Samuel Ramey

RESULTS:


Holly Flack; Ursula Kuhar; Reginald Smith, Jr.; Andrea Trusty.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD: 

Mary-Hollis Hundley



2009-2010 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held at 10:00 AM Saturday, November 14, 2009 at Memorial Hall, 610 South Limestone, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508.

Judges:

  • Richard Best
  • Carol Vaness
  • Douglas Ahlstadt

RESULTS:

Eric Brown; Jeremy Parker; Paulette Penzvalto; Kenneth Stavert.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD:

Holly Flack

Tri-State Regional Finals

The Tri-State Regional Finals were held at 1:00 PM Saturday, January 16, 2010 at Indiana University.


 

2008-2009 Season

Kentucky District
Lexington/Memorial Hall
November 22, 2008
1:00 PM
 

The three winners, as selected by the judges,
soprano Amanda Balltrip, mezzo-soprano Andrea Trusty, and countertenor Christopher Conley.
Encouragement Award: Amita Prakash, soprano.

Judges:
Catherine Malfitano
Paul Groves

Tri-State Regional Finals

The Tri-State Regional Finals were held at 1:00 PM Saturday, January 16, 2010 at Indiana University.

RESULTS:

1st Place and selected for Semi-Finals:
Laura Wilde, mezzo-soprano

Grand Finals Concert

The Grand Finals Concert was held Sunday, March 14, 2010 at the New York Metropolitan Opera, New York City, NY.

RESULTS:

The Winners of the 2010 National Council Auditions were:
Leah Crocetto, soprano; Lori Guilbeau, soprano; Elliot Madore, baritone; Nathaniel Peake, tenor; Rachel Willis-Sørensen, soprano.



2007-2008 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held Saturday, November 17, 2007 at Memorial Hall, 610 South Limestone, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508.

RESULTS:

Afton Battle, soprano; Hanna Smith, soprano; Emily Lorini, mezzo-soprano
and Christopher Conley, countertenor.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD:

Amanda Balltrip, soprano.

Mr. Conley was a 2006 District winner and for Ms. Balltrip the Encouragement Award was the second in a row.

Tri-State Regional Finals

The Tri-State Regional Finals were held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, January 19, 2008 at Memorial Hall, 610 South Limestone, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508.

 

Judges:

  • Carroll Freeman
  • Mignon Dunn
  • George Darden

Official accompanist: Prof. Cliff Jackson

Mignon Dunn, a mezzo-soprano with 654 Met performances to her credit and a member of the Manhattan School of Music voice faculty, conducted a public Master Class at 2:00 PM Sunday, January 20, 2008 at Memorial Hall.

RESULTS:

Two 1st place winners:  Afton Battle, soprano, Kentucky District; Jonathan Lasch, baritone, Southern Ohio District

2nd place: Kathryn Leemhuis, mezzo-soprano, Indiana District

3rd place: Jung Nan Yoon, soprano, Indiana District

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD:
Elizabeth Koontz, soprano, Southern Ohio District

Carroll Freeman; Jonathan Lasch; Mignon Dunn; Afton Battle and George Darden. Photo:Pat Trotter

Rich Copley’s article on the Regional Competition

Janelle Gelfand’s article on the Regional Competition

National Semi-Finals:
New York, Metropolitan Opera
February 17, 2008

Grand Finals Concert:
New York, Metropolitan Opera
February 24, 2008



2006-2007 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held Saturday, October 28, 2006 at Memorial Hall, 610 South Limestone, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508.

RESULTS:

Brandy Lynn  Hawkins, mezzo-soprano; Brian Tierney, tenor; Christopher Conley, countertenor.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD:

Amanda Balltrip, Soprano

current

(Very Encouraged: Amanda Balltrip)

Judges:

  • Katherine Ciesinski
  • George Shirley
  • Peter Clark

WUKY Radio broadcast: November 15, 2006

Tri-State Regional Finals:
Indianapolis, Indiana, Butler University Clowes Memorial Hall, January 20, 2007

Winner:

Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano, 25, from the Indiana District.

Judges:

  • Brian Dickie
  • Sheri Greenawald
  • Danielle Orlandi

National Semi-Finals
New York, Metropolitan Opera
March 25, 2007, 12:00 PM

Grand Finals Concert
New York, Metropolitan Opera
April 1, 2007, 3:00 PM

Ms. Barton was selected as one of the six winners.

Judges:

  • Sarah Billinghurst
  • Brian Dickie
  • Jonathan Friend
  • Gayletha Nichols
  • Craig Rutenberg
  • Diane Zola


2005-2006 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held Saturday, November 12, 2005 at Memorial Hall, 610 South Limestone, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508.

RESULTS:

Anne Fuchs, soprano; Anson Hanbury, tenor; Korin Kormick, mezzo-soprano.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD:

Brandy Lynn Hawkins

Judges:

  • Diana Soviero
  • Christopher Hahn
  • Kevin Murphy

Tri-State Region:

CCM, Cincinnati, January 8, 2006

Winner: Corey Crider, baritone, Ohio District.

Judges:

  • Roger Pines
  • Felicity Jackson
  • Gayletha Nichols


2004-2005 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held Saturday, October 30, 2004 at Memorial Hall, 610 South Limestone, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508.

Winners: Lillian Roberts, soprano; Brocha Evans, soprano; Audrey Luna, soprano.

Judges:

  • Dominic Cossa
  • Mikael Eliasen
  • Anthony Dean Griffey

Tri-State Region:
Lexington, Memorial Hall
November 20, 2004

Winner: Jordan Bisch, bass.

Judges:

  • Andrew Wentzel
  • Lenore Rosenberg
  • Benita Valente

2003-2004 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held Saturday, November 8, 2003 at Memorial Hall, 610 South Limestone, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508.

RESULTS:

Meredith Arwady, 25, contralto; Jeremy A. Kelly, 25, baritone; Audrey Luna, 25, soprano.

Judges: Stanford Olsen
Martin Katz
Susan Ashbaker

Tri-State Region:
Indianapolis, Butler University, Clowes Hall, November 22, 2003

Winner: Meredith Arwady

Ms. Arwady was a 2004 National Winner.

Judges: Mikael Eliasen
Gayletha Nichols
Michael Sylvester


2002-2003 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held Saturday, November 2, 2002 at Memorial Hall, 610 South Limestone, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508.

RESULTS:

Mark Huseth, baritone; Christy Pritchard, soprano; Norman Reinhardt, tenor.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD:

Jenny Meggitt

Judges:

  • Paul Plishka
  • Nicholas Muni
  • Paul Kilmer

Tri-State Region:

Cincinnati, CCM, December 14, 2002

Winner: Christina Pier, 28, Soprano, Indiana District.

Judges:

  • Jonathan Friend
  • Edward Purrington
  • William Stone

2001-2002 Season

Kentucky District:

Lexington, Memorial Hall, October 27, 2001

Winners: Corey S. Crider, Baritone
Patricia Andress, Soprano
Rebecca Davis, Soprano

Judges:

  • Linda Hall
  • Mark Oswald
  • Sherrill Milnes

Tri-State Region:

Lexington, Memorial Hall, November 10, 2001

Winners: Corey  S. Crider; John Hoomes; Gayletha Nichols

2000-2001 Season

Kentucky District:

Lexington, Memorial Hall, October 28, 2000

Winners: Steven Paul Spears, tenor; Norman Reinhardt, tenor; Rebecca Bortz, mezzo-soprano.

Judges:

  • Ken Noda
  • Peter Randsman
  • Anna Moffo

Tri-State Region:

Indianapolis, Butler University, Clowes Memorial Hall, November 18, 2005

Winner: Kristine Winkler, soprano, Indiana District.

Ms. Winkler was a 2001 National Grand Finals Winner and made her MET Debut in Lulu.

Judges:

  • John Berry
  • Richard Harrell

1999-2000 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions and the Tri-State Regional Finals prior to the 2000/2001 season were presented by the Kentucky Opera Guild and PNC Bank and held at the University of Louisville in
Louisville.

The Tri-State Region, comprising West Virginia, central and southern Ohio, central and southern Indiana, and Kentucky was formed in 1963/64.

Kentucky District:

University of Louisville, December 4, 1999

Winners: Olivia L. Blackmon, soprano; Andrea Jones, soprano; Justin Vickers, tenor.

Judges:

  • Richard Best
  • Carol Crawford
  • Barbara Kierig

Tri-State Region:


Cincinnati, CCM December 11, 1999

Winner: Yoonsoo Shin, tenor, Indiana District.

Judges:

  • Mignon Dunn
  • Dennis Giauque


1998-1999 Season

Kentucky District: November 14, 1998

Winner: Daniel Weeks, tenor.

Judges:

  • Edward Baird
  • Diane Bolden-Taylor
  • Deborah Sandler

Tri-State Region:

Louisville, January 9, 1999

Winner: Daniel Weeks, tenor; Kirk Eichelberger, bass.

Mr. Weeks went on to become a National Winner in 1999.

Judges:

  • Robert Bass
  • Doris Yarick-Cross
  • Gail Robinson

1997-1998 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held Saturday, November 1, 1997
at the University of Louisville.

Winners: Angelique Clay, soprano; Rebecca Bortz, mezzo-soprano; Daniel Weeks, tenor.

Judges:

  • Douglas Fisher
  • Hilda Harris
  • John Wustman

Tri-State Region:


Indianapolis, Butler University, Clowes Memorial Hall, November 22, 1997

Winner: Kyle Ketelsen, bass-baritone, Indiana District; Philip Horst, bass-baritone, Ohio District.

Judges:

  • Paul Kilmer
  • Octavio Rocco
  • Stephen Wadsworth

1996-1997 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions were held October 26, 1996 at the University of Louisville.

Winners: Daniel Weeks, tenor; Leslie Wigginton, soprano; Paul Allen Brown, baritone.

Judges:

  • Judith Haddon
  • Felicity Jackson
  • John Stewart

Tri-State Region:

Cincinnati, CCM, November 30, 1996

Winner: Angela Brown, soprano, Indiana District.

Ms. Brown was a 1997 National Winner.

Judges:

  • Mikael Eliasen
  • Peter Russell
  • Richard Best

1994-1995 Season

The Kentucky District Auditions

RESULTS:

Gregory Turay, tenor; Steven Paul Spears, tenor; Annette Silver-Betts, soprano.

Judges:

Tri-State Region:

Winner: Gregory Turay

Judges:

Mr. Turay was a National Grand Finals Winner in 1995, subsequently joined the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and made his MET debut as Bringhella in Ariadne auf Naxos.

1994-1995 Season

Kentucky District:

Winners: Gregory Turay, Tenor
Steven Paul Spears, Tenor
Annette Silver-Betts, Soprano

Judges:

Tri-State Region:

Winner: Gregory Turay

Judges:

Mr. Turay was a National Grand Finals Winner in 1995,
subsequently joined the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and made his MET debut as Bringhella in Ariadne auf Naxos.

 

From Lexington to Lincoln Center