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Lauren Decker, singer in Lyric training center, gains semi-finals of 2018 Met Opera Auditions

Submitted by on Apr 3, 2018 – 5:23 pm
This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization, submitted to and edited by Chicago On the Aisle.

Contralto Lauren Decker, a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Center training program for young professionals, is among 25 young opera singers who have won regional auditions around the United States will arrive at the Met this month to compete in the next phase of the country’s leading vocal competition: the semi-final round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Contralto Lauren Decker sings in the Met Auditions semi-finals April 22. The closed semi-final competition, held on the Met stage before a panel of judges, will determine the select group of finalists who will advance to the final round of the competition. The winners of the semi-final round will be announced through a Facebook Live video on the Metropolitan Opera’s Facebook page.

Given the reach of the auditions, the number of applicants, and the program’s long tradition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are a potentially career-making opportunity for aspiring opera singers.

A native of Milwaukee, Decker is in her second year at the Ryan Center. During the Lyric’s 2017-18 season, she sang roles in Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” Wagner’s “Die Walküre” and Bellini’s “I puritani.”

The Met Auditions 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.

This year’s regional winners were chosen from over 1,000 singers who participated in the auditions held in 40 districts and 12 regions throughout the United States and Canada. 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 semi-finalists, ranging in age from 23 to 30, arrive at the Met on April 20 to rehearse for the semi-finals competition on April 22. The winners of this event will go on to sing in the Grand Finals Concert on Sunday, April 29 at 3 p.m. hosted mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. Each finalist will sing two arias with conductor Bertrand de Billy and the Met Orchestra. Tenor Bryan Hymel will perform during the judges’ deliberations once the auditions part of the program is over.

The finalists who advance will have a week of preparation with Met musical and dramatic coaches to prepare for the Grand Finals Concert. At the end of the concert, winners will be announced, each of whom will receive an individual cash prize of $15,000 and career-making exposure.

Tickets for the Grand Finals Concert are on sale now and may be purchased at the Met Box Office, by phone at 212-362-6000, or online at www.metopera.org.

About the Semi-Finalists

The 2018 semi-finalists include 25 aspiring opera singers representing various regions around the United States. This year, there are ten sopranos, four mezzo-sopranos, one contralto, four tenors, four baritones, and two bass-baritones.

The ten soprano semi-finalists, along with the regions they will represent in the competition and their hometowns are: Danielle Beckvermit (Eastern Region: Kingston, NY); Monica Dewey (Gulf Coast Region: Atlanta, Georgia); Jessica Faselt (Upper Midwest Region: Iowa City, IA); Joanna Latini (Central Region: Hamilton, NJ); Madison Leonard (Middle Atlantic Region: Coeur d’Alene, ID); Julia Metzler (Western Region: Glendale, CA); Emily Misch (Eastern Region: Santa Monica, CA); Marlen Nahhas (Midwest Region: Houston, TX); Erica Petrocelli (New England Region: East Greenwich, RI); and Ariana Wehr (Gulf Coast Region: Batesville, IN).

The four mezzo-sopranos competing in the semi-finals are Ashley Dixon (Northwest Region: Peachtree, GA); Megan Grey (Upper Midwest Region: Cedar Falls, IA); Gretchen Krupp (Central Region: Manassas, VA); and Hongni Wu (Eastern Region: Jingdezhen, China).

The one contralto semi-finalist is Lauren Decker (Upper Midwest Region: Milwaukee, WI).

The four tenor semi-finalists are Joshua Blue (Middle Atlantic Region: Cuckfield, England); Terrence Chin-Loy (Central Region: Coral Springs, FL); Brandon Russell (Southeast Region: Springfield, MO); and Carlos Santelli (Western Region: Orlando, FL).

The four baritone semi-finalists are Alan Cline (Great Lakes Region: Wellsburg, WV); Jacob Scharfman (Eastern Region: Boston, MA); Ethan Simpson (Middle Atlantic Region: Kansas City, MO); and Xiaomeng Zhang (New England Region: Wenzhou, China).

Two bass-baritones round out the list: Matthew Stump (Midwest Region: Goshen, MO) and Brad Walker (Rocky Mountain Region: Lake Zurich, IL).

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