By Mary Kunz Goldman
The Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions, which scouted the Buffalo/Toronto area back in early January, have completed their next round. The Met has just announced the singers who will advance to the semifinals.
From a press release:
The 2014 semi-finalists, the regions they will represent in the competition, and their hometowns are: Julie Adams, soprano (Western Region: Burbank, CA); Viktor Antipenko, tenor (Eastern Region: St. Petersburg, Russia, currently living in New York, NY); Jennifer Cherest, soprano (Southeast Region: La Plata, MD); Natalie Cummings, soprano (Gulf Coast Region: Lakeway, TX); Alex John DeSocio, baritone (Midwest Region: Wichita, KS); Patrick Guetti, bass (Middle Atlantic Region: Highland Park, NJ); Nicole Haslett, soprano (Northwest Region: Mt. Laurel, NJ); John Kapusta, tenor (Eastern Region: Wappingers Falls, NY); Ao Li, bass-baritone (Rocky Mountain Region: Dezhou, China, currently living in San Francisco, CA); Yi Li, tenor (Middle Atlantic Region: Jinan, China, currently living in Silver Spring, MD); Christopher Lowrey, countertenor (New England Region: Johnston, RI); Rafael Moras, tenor (Gulf Coast Region: San Antonio, TX); Scott Russell, bass (Eastern Region: Roanoke, VA); Sofia Selowsky, mezzo-soprano (Central Region: Bethesda, MD); Diego Silva, tenor (Great Lakes Region: Mexico City, Mexico); Dane Suarez, tenor (Mid-South Region: Princeton, IL); Lida Szkwarek, soprano (Upper Midwest Region: Winnipeg, Manitoba); Rexford Tester, tenor (Middle Atlantic Region: Tazewell, VA); Sarah Tucker, soprano (Rocky Mountain Region: Houston, TX); Amanda Woodbury, soprano (Western Region: Crestwood, KY).
It is interesting to note the presence of a countertenor. We are seeing more countertenors. None of the singers listed above initially sang at our Buffalo/Toronto auditions. Our winners, for the record, were soprano Lauren Frey, baritone Cameron McPhail and soprano Magali Simard-Galdes.
To continue to quote the Met's announcement, the semi-finalists arrive at the Met on Thursday, March 20 to rehearse with the company’s music staff in preparation for the semi-finals competition on Sunday, March 23. The winners of that event will go on to sing in the Grand Finals Concert on Sunday, March 30 at 3 p.m.
Much will be at stake, considering that many great singers -- including Renee Fleming, pictured at top, received awards from the National Council when they were starting out.
To get an idea of the drama, check out this video from the New York Times: