Friday, March 1, 2013

Met Competition Finalists Arrive in NY: Includes Seven Baritones

Brandon Cedel showing off his barihunk cred
Twenty singers, including seven baritones, who won regional competitions around the United States arrived in New York yesterday to begin rehearsals for the semi-finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. The Met Auditions, this year celebrating their 60th anniversary, are a major stepping stone to a career as an opera singer and were crucial in introducing many of today's best-known stars, such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Samuel Ramey, Deborah Voigt, and Dolora Zajick.

We were thrilled that over a third of the semi-finalists are baritones, who we will be rooting for. They include: Matthew Anchel, bass (Eastern Region; New York, NY); Brandon Cedel, bass-baritone (Middle Atlantic Region; Edward Nelson, baritone (Mid-South Region; Los Angeles, CA); Musa Ngqungwana, bass-baritone (Middle Atlantic Region; Richard Ollarsaba, bass-baritone (Upper Midwest Region; Tempe, AZ); Thomas Richards, bass-baritone (Central Region; Burnsville, MN); and, Efrain Solis, baritone (Western Region; Santa Ana, CA).

The semi-finalists will rehearse with the company's music staff for two days in preparation for the Semi-Finals competition on Sunday, March 3. The winners of that event will go on to sing in the Grand Finals Concert accompanied by the Met Orchestra on March 10 at 3 p.m. The finalists will have a week of preparation with Met musical and dramatic coaches to prepare for the Concert, which is open to the public. 

Tickets for the Grand Finals Concert may be purchased at the Met Box Office, by phone at 212-362-6000, or online 

Other finalists include: Michael Brandenburg, tenor (Central Region; Austin, IN);  Hershey, PA); Tracy Cox, soprano (Western Region; Dallas, TX); William Davenport,  tenor (Middle Atlantic Region; Rockville, MD); Hye Jung Lee, soprano (Gulf Coast Region; Seoul, South Korea); Juan José de León, tenor (Great Lakes Region; Corpus Christi, TX); Christopher Lowrey, countertenor (New England Region; Johnston, RI); Sydney Mancasola, soprano (New England Region; Redding, CA); Felicia Moore, soprano (Eastern Region; Princeton, NJ);  Port Elizabeth, South Africa);  Rebecca Pedersen, soprano (Rocky Mountain Region; Bountiful, UT);  Jessica Strong, soprano (Northwest Region; Winnipeg, Manitoba); Karen Vuong, soprano (Eastern Region; Los Angeles, CA); Benjamin Werley, tenor (Midwest Region; Pittsburgh, PA); and,  Melinda Whittington, soprano (Southeast Region; Charlotte, NC).


  1. looks like the Amphitheatre at Chautauqua!!! My most sacred place on the planet!!

  2. Richard Ollarsaba is a bass-baritone to watch out for! Currently a Minnesota Opera young artist, but will be a member of the Ryan Opera Center next season.