The final phase of competition is the public Grand Finals concert on the Met stage, accompanied by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra conducted by Bertrand de Billy, on Sunday, March 1
Winners will receive individual cash prizes of $20,000 and invaluable exposure in the opera world
Finals concert to be broadcast live on the Met’s website and SiriusXM
Following February 24th’s semi-final competition, nine young singers have advanced to the final round of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2020 National Council Auditions. In the public concert, finalists perform on the Met stage Sunday, March 1 at 3 p.m., for an audience of judges, agents, industry leaders, and the general public (in the auditorium and live on the radio). The finalists, chosen by a panel of opera administrators from the Met and other companies, each perform two arias with the Met Orchestra conducted by Bertrand de Billy. Prize money will increase for the first time in 20 years, with the winners receiving individual cash prizes of $20,000 (previously $15,000), and the prestigious and potentially career-launching title of National Council Auditions Winner. The remaining finalists receive $10,000 (previously $7,500).
The concert will be hosted by soprano Lisette Oropesa, a 2005 National Council Auditions winner, and will also feature a performance by tenor Javier Camarena, while the judges deliberate.
The concert will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SiriusXM Channel 75, and streamed live on the Met’s web site, www.metopera.org.
The 2020 finalists, the regions they represent in the competition, and their hometowns are:
- Gabrielle Beteag, 25, mezzo-soprano (Southeast Region: Lilburn, GA): In 2020, Gabrielle Beteag will be featured as the alto soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Michael O’Neal Singers and as Ursule in Atlanta Concert Opera’s production of Béatrice et Bénédict. In 2019, she was a young artist at Chautauqua Opera, where she was performed with the touring outreach program as Aunt Bartolo in The Barber of Seville in California and on the mainstage as Woman in a Hat / Duchess in The Ghosts of Versailles. She earned her master’s degree from Georgia State University (GSU) in 2018. While at GSU, she appeared as Katisha in The Mikado, Lady Billows in Albert Herring, and Charlotte Malcolm in A Little Night Music. Her repertoire also includes the Secretary in The Consul, Madame de Croissy in Dialogues des Carmélites, and Augusta Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe.
- Lindsay Kate Brown, 28, mezzo-soprano (Upper Midwest Region: Waterloo, NY): A current artist with the Houston Grand Opera Studio (HGO), Lindsay Kate Brown appears this season as Giovanna in Rigoletto and the Third Lady Die Zauberflöte. She has also covered Léonor in La Favorite and Paula in Florencia en el Amazonas during her two seasons at HGO. This spring, she will cover Herodias in Salome. Past engagements include appearances as the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos at Wolf Trap Opera and Ma Moss in The Tender Land at Des Moines Metro Opera, where she also covered Ježibaba in Rusalka. This summer, she will be an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera, covering the role of Ježibaba. She made her New York City debut in 2019 at OPERA America, performing in a curated art-song recital with fellow HGO Studio artists. She is a graduate of Rice University (2018), SUNY Binghamton (2016), and Mansfield University of Pennsylvania (2013).
- Blake Denson, 24, baritone (Midwest Region: Paducah, KY): Blake Denson is a second-year master’s student at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. While at Rice, he has appeared as Elder McLean in Susannah and Mercurio in La Calisto. He has also worked with Wolf Trap Opera, where he covered Kaiser Overall in Der Kaiser von Atlantis and Pierrot in L’Île de Merlin. He joins the Houston Grand Opera Studio during the 2020–21 season, and he will also return to Wolf Trap Opera for a second season, singing the Captain in Eugene Onegin and covering the opera’s title character. He will also cover the role of Marcello in La Bohème. He earned a bachelor’s from the University of Kentucky School Of Music.
- Jonah Hoskins, 23, tenor (Rocky Mountain Region: Saratoga Springs, UT): Jonah Hoskins’s past roles include Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Septimius in Theodora, and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi at Brigham Young University (BYU) and Benvolio in Roméo et Juliette at Utah Opera. Last summer, he was a young artist at Des Moines Metro Opera, where he study-covered the title role of Candide. He will return again this year to cover the title role of Platée and sing the master of ceremonies in The Queen of Spades. Previously, he was a young artist at Ohio Light Opera and attended Houston Grand Opera’s YAVA program. He received the Extraordinary Artistic Promise Award at the 2019 Lotte Lenya Competition. He is currently studying vocal performance at BYU and will graduate this spring with his bachelor’s degree.
- Chasiti Lashay, 27, soprano (Western Region: Houston, TX): Chasiti Lashay Walker is a postgraduate student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM). She earned her master’s degree in 2019 and completed her bachelor’s degree at Tuskegee University in 2014. This year, she will be a young artist at Chautauqua Opera, where she will appear as Marla in the educational-outreach opera Bear Hug and cover the roles of Angel More and Henrietta M. in The Mother of Us All and Annu in Thumbprint. She also recently sang the Prima Donna in the prologue of Ariadne auf Naxos at SFCM. She has sung the title role of Suor Angelica, covered the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, and performed the following partial roles: Mimì in La Bohème, Desdemona in Otello, Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, Mother Marie in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, and the title role of Arabella.
- Jana McIntyre, 28, soprano (Midwest Region: Santa Barbara, CA): This season, Jana McIntyre sings Ännchen in Heartbeat Opera’s new production of Der Freischütz and the Partygoer in the Santa Fe Opera’s workshop of M. Butterfly. She also joins the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera for their Mozart Favorites concert. In recent seasons, she made company debuts at the Santa Fe Opera (Jenůfa) and Arizona Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro), reprised her portrayal of the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte at Opera Grand Rapids and Toledo Opera, and appeared at Tulsa Opera in productions of The Little Prince and Don Giovanni. She also covered the Fairy Godmother in Cendrillon at Lyric Opera of Chicago, appeared in Orfeo ed Euridice at National Sawdust, and sang Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch as part of San Francisco Opera’s Recital Series. She holds degrees from UCLA and Manhattan School of Music and has apprenticed with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, the Santa Fe Opera, and Tulsa Opera.
- Alexandria Shiner, 29, soprano (Middle Atlantic Region: Waterford, MI): During the 2019–20 season, Alexandria Shiner returns to Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, where she sings the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte and Magda Sorel in The Consul. Additional season highlights include a return the Glimmerglass Festival as Ada in Die Feen, Verdi’s Requiem with the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the National Symphony Orchestra, Canada’s Victoria Symphony, and Oregon Symphony. She has appeared as Kayla in the world premiere of Kamala Sankaram’s Taking Up Serpents, Mirra in the North American premiere of Liszt’s lost opera Sardanapalo, the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos at Wolf Trap Opera, the title role of Alcina in the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist performance at Washington National Opera, the Celestial Voice in Don Carlo and Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at WNO, and Berta at the Glimmerglass Festival.
- Denis Vélez, 27, soprano (Gulf Coast Region: Mexico City, Mexico): Denis Vélez is currently a young artist with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. Since 2018, she has been a member of Mexico’s National Opera Chorus at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. She has participated in master classes with Mexican tenors Francisco Araiza and Ramón Vargas, American tenors Joseph McClain and Michael Silvester, and Polish soprano Ewa Izykowska-Klosiewicz. Her repertoire includes the Countess and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Bastienne in Bastien und Bastienne, Fiordiligi in Così fan Tutte, Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore, and Mimì in La Bohème. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Mexico’s Superior School of Music.
- Xiaomeng Zhang, 29, baritone (New England Region: Wenzhou, China): Xiaomeng Zhang completed his artist diploma at the Juilliard School and was a participant in San Francisco Opera’s 2018 Merola Opera Program. During the 2019–20 season, he sings Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Opera Columbus, the title role of Don Giovanni at Opera Naples, and Silvio in Pagliacci at Pittsburgh Festival Opera. In the fall of 2020, he will join the International Opera Studio at Opernhaus Zürich. Previous credits include the Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Aspen Music Festival; Don Giovanni, Kuligin in Káťa Kabanová, and Minskman in Flight at the Juilliard School; Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore at A.R.E. Opera; Tancredi in Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda with Ensemble Connect at Carnegie Hall; Don Giovanni in the Narnia Festival; Schaunard in La Bohème at Chautauqua Opera; and Don Fernando in Fidelio and Licinio in Aureliano in Palmira at Caramoor. He received his bachelor’s degree at Shanghai Conservatory of Music and his master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music. New England Region.
This year’s semifinalists were chosen from more than 1,000 singers who participated in auditions held in 40 districts throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, and who then competed in the 12 regional finals. These auditions are sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council and administered by National Council members and hundreds of volunteers from across the country.
The Met National Council Auditions have been crucial in introducing many of today’s best-known stars, such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt, Thomas Hampson, Stephanie Blythe, Sondra Radvanovsky, Lawrence Brownlee, Eric Owens, Angela Meade, Susanna Phillips, Michael Fabiano, Latonia Moore, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Nadine Sierra, Jamie Barton, and Ryan Speedo Green. The competition gained 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.