March 25th, 2019
Nine opera singers advance to the final round of the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions
- The final phase of competition is the public Grand Finals concert, to be held on the Met stage on Sunday, March 31
- Winners will receive individual cash prizes of $15,000 and invaluable exposure in the opera world
New York, NY (March 25, 2019)—Following yesterday’s highly competitive semifinal competition, nine singers will advance to the final phase of the 65th annual Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, America’s largest vocal competition. , The winners will receive individual cash prizes of $15,000, while the remaining finalists will receive prizes of $7,500.
The finalists will compete in the Grand Finals Concert on the Met stage Sunday, March 31 at 3 p.m. Each finalist will perform two arias with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Rizzi. The concert will be hosted by countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, a 2009 National Council Auditions winner, and will also feature a performance by bass-baritone Christian Van Horn, a 2003 National Council Auditions winner, while the judges deliberate.
The 2019 finalists, the regions they represent in the competition, and their hometowns are:
- Piotr Buszewski, 26, tenor (Middle Atlantic Region: Warsaw, Poland)
- Dashuai Chen, 28, tenor(Great Lakes Region: Shanghai, China)
- Alaysha Fox, 27, soprano(Eastern Region: Queens, New York)
- Thomas Glass, 28, baritone (Rocky Mountain Region: Edina, Minnesota)
- Meghan Kasanders, 27, soprano (Upper Midwest Region: Darien, Illinois)
- Miles Mykkanen, 27, tenor(Upper Midwest Region: Bessemer, Michigan)
- William Guanbo Su, 24, bass(Eastern Region: Beijing, China)
- Elena Villalón, 21, soprano (Central Region: Austin, Texas)
- Michaela Wolz, 23, mezzo-soprano (Midwest Region: Eureka, Missouri)
Full biographies of each singer are below.
Tickets for the Grand Finals Concert may be purchased at the Met Box Office, by phone at (212) 362-6000, or online at metopera.org.
The finalists were chosen from more than 1,000 singers who participated in auditions held in 41 districts and 12 regions throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council and administered by National Council members and hundreds of volunteers from across the country. Given the reach of the auditions, the number of applicants, and the program’s long tradition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are considered the most prestigious in North America for singers seeking to launch an operatic career.
The Met Auditions, currently in their 65th year, have been crucial in introducing many of today’s best-known stars, such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt, Lawrence Brownlee, Thomas Hampson, Eric Owens, Angela Meade, Nadine Sierra, Jamie Barton, and Ryan Speedo Green. The competition gained international notoriety 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.
Biographies of the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Finalists
Piotr Buszewski,tenor(Warsaw, Poland)
Tenor Piotr Buszewski is finishing his residency at the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia, where this season he sings the Prince in Dvořák’s Rusalka, Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte,and the title role in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. Also this season, he sings Leandre in Gounod’s Le Médicine Malgré Lui with Odyssey Opera in Boston, Tybalt in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette with Cincinnati Opera, and he makes his European debut in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore at the Leipzig Opera. He made his professional debut in the American premiere of Donizetti’s Pigmalione at New York City Opera. He has also been seen as the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto at Wolf Trap Opera and as Loge in Wagner’s Das Rheingold at AVA.
Dashuai Chen, tenor,(Shanghai, China)
Tenor Dashuai Chen, a native of Shanghai, China, is an artist diploma in opera studies student at the Juilliard School. He has performed as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Bregenz Festival in Austria, Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte at Showa University Theatre in Japan and with Daegu Opera in South Korea, Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore at the Teatro Duse in Bologna, and Jupiter in Legrenzi’s La Divisione del Mondo at Theater Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. He was a finalist in the 2015 Neue Stimmen Competition, won the gold prize in China’s 11th Golden Bell Competition, and second prize at the Premiere Opera International Vocal Competition.
Alaysha Fox, soprano,(Queens, New York)
Soprano Alaysha Fox recently joined Lincoln Center Theater for a one-night-only performance of Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot. She has also appeared there in a workshop of Intimate Apparel, a new opera by Ricky Ian Gordon. Previous credits include Kathleen Battle’s Underground Railroad recital, First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflӧte, Dee Legendary in Joseph Rubenstein’s Legendary, Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s Macbeth, Female Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, the title role in Fauré’s Penelope, and Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. She has been honored with several awards, including first place in the 2015 Joan Taub Ades Vocal competition and the Lotte Lenya emerging artist award.
Thomas Glass, baritone,(Edina, Minnesota)
Baritone Thomas Glass is a second-year studio artist at Houston Grand Opera, where he sings Marcello in Puccini’s La Bohème and Álvaro in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas. Last season at HGO, he performed Baron Duphol in Verdi’s La Traviata, Fiorello in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Officer Krupke in Bernstein’s West Side Story, and outdoor performances of Figaro in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He was previously a Filene young artist at Wolf Trap Opera, giving his debuts as Mercutio in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and as the baritone soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the National Symphony Orchestra. He was also a participant in the Merola Opera Program, where he was featured in the Schwabacher Summer Concert.
Meghan Kasanders, soprano, (Darien, Illinois)
Meghan Kasanders’s recent engagements include Sibelius’s Luonnotar in Alice Tully Hall with conductor Barbara Hannigan, her Carnegie Hall debut in Bernstein’s Songfest, and as the soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Magda Sorel in Menotti’s The Consul at Opera Saratoga.This season she sings Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Juilliard School. She will also compete as a 2019 Semifinalist in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition and attend the International Meistersinger Akademie in Neumarkt, Germany this summer. She has sung with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Opera Saratoga, Des Moines Metro Opera, Union Avenue Opera, and the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices.
Miles Mykkanen, tenor, (Bessemer, Michigan)
Miles Mykkanen debuts this season as Lt. Sprink in Kevin Puts’s Silent Night at Opera Saratoga, Flute in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Opera Philadelphia, and Brighella in fully-staged performances of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos with the Cleveland Orchestra. He joins the roster of the Bavarian State Opera, covering the role of Admète in Gluck’s Alceste. He has been heard at Tanglewood, Canadian Opera Company, Ravinia Music Festival, the New York Philharmonic, Arizona Opera, Bard Music Festival, Palm Beach Opera, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and the Marlboro Festival.
William Guanbo Su, bass,(Beijing, China)
Bass William Guanbo Su is currently pursuing his master’s degree at the Juilliard School. He was recently awarded second prize at the Eleanor McCollum Competition and will be joining to the Houston Grand Opera studio as a young artist next season. This year he returns to the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as a Gerdine Young Artist. He was previously a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, where he sang Don Basilio in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Other roles include Pluton in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, Herr Reich in Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Seneca in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea. He recently made his Carnegie Hall solo debut with The Cecilia Chorus of New York.
Elena Villalón, soprano,(Austin, Texas)
Soprano Elena Villalón joins Houston Grand Opera’s studio artist program in the 2019–2020 season, after being a finalist and winning the audience prize in the 31st annual Eleanor McCollum Competition. She has been a vocal fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and at Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy. Upcoming performances include Adele in Strauss’s Die Fledermaus at the University of Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music (CCM), Barbarina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as a Gerdine Young Artist, and a return to the Tanglewood Music Center as a soprano fellow. Previous appearances at CCM include Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone, and Miss Wordsworth in Britten’s Albert Herring.
Michaela Wolz, mezzo-soprano,(Eureka, Missouri)
Mezzo-soprano Michaela Wolz returned home to perform with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as a Gerdine Young Artist, covering the role of Pvt. Stanton in the world premiere of Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier. At Opera Theatre, she previously covered Annio in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito.She returns again this summer as a Gaddes Festival Artist, portraying Amore in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea. Other notable roles include Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Mère Marie in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites,Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Bradamante in Handel’s Alcina, Presendia in Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters, Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and Stewardess in Jonathan Dove’s Flight.