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IU Jacobs School of Music hosts Met auditions this month

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 21, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music will host the Indiana District round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 11 a.m. in the Musical Arts Center. This annual event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

This year, 32 singers are scheduled to compete in the Indiana auditions. They will audition from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. The judges will then deliberate before announcing the winners shortly thereafter.

MET Auditions
The Metropolitan Opera House in New York's Lincoln Center.

Laurie McRobbie, Indiana University's first lady, is serving as chairperson for the Bloomington event. Mezzo-soprano Mary Ann Hart, chair of the Jacobs Department of Voice, is assisting with organization.

"The McRobbies are enthusiastic patrons of IU Opera Theater, and it would be difficult to find a more gracious host to organize this event and share the resources of IU with the Metropolitan Council Auditions," Hart said.

"For a few years now, singers have been allowed to audition wherever they choose. Since we have such a strong opera program and because so many of our students have gone on to win at the Met Auditions, singers from outside IU are somewhat hesitant to audition in the Indiana District. In order to encourage more singers to participate here, it is good to have someone who is not from the Jacobs School of Music to be the 'face' of the Indiana District Auditions."

Judges for the Indiana District will be Dottie Randall, a coach for many opera companies; Josh Winograde, artistic administrator of the Los Angeles Opera; and Gayletha Nichols, executive director of the National Council Auditions. In addition to her position with the National Council, Nichols has taken on the directorship of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

Indiana is part of the Metropolitan Opera National Council's Central Region, which has three districts. Ohio District auditions took place Oct. 9, and the Illinois District auditions were held Oct. 16. Each district selects approximately three singers to advance to the Central Region Finals on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m. in the Music Institute in Evanston, Ill. They will be broadcast live on WFMT: http://www.wfmt.com.

The Central Region Finals judges will be Ken Benson, agent and longtime personal manager of numerous singers; Charles MacKay, general manager of the San Francisco Opera; and baritone Nathan Gunn.

Winners of the Regional auditions win a trip to New York City to participate in the National Semi-Finals, March 6, on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.

Approximately 10 of the semi-finalists will be selected as national finalists and will compete in a public concert -- the Grand Finals Concert -- March 13, accompanied by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. The jury awards approximately five Grand Winner prizes of $15,000 each. The concert is broadcast nationwide on the Metropolitan Opera Radio Network.

The remaining National Finalists receive $5,000 each, and those singers who were National Semi-Finalists but did not advance to the National Finals will be given $1,500 to further their studies.

Some previous winners of this elite competition, which identifies the best up-and-coming opera singers throughout the nation and Canada, are IU alumni Sylvia McNair (1982), Elizabeth Futral (1991), Angela Brown (1997), Larry Brownlee (2001) and Jamie Barton (2007). Other well-known singers who were selected as past winners include Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, Jessye Norman, Samuel Ramey, Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt and Dolora Zajick.

For more information about the Jacobs School of Music, see http://music.indiana.edu.