September 7, 2011: The Lotte Lenya Competition, celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2012, seeks exceptionally talented young singer/actors who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of musical theater styles for the 2012 competition. Contestants will compete for top prizes of $15,000, $10,000 and $7,500; additional special prizes will be awarded.
Established in 1998 by the Kurt Weill Foundation in honor of Weill's wife and celebrated interpreter, Lotte Lenya, the Lenya Competition presents a unique opportunity for singer/actors ages 19-30 to demonstrate their artistry in diverse repertoire, from opera and operetta to contemporary Broadway scores, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. More than a vocal competition, the Lenya Competition is a theater singing contest that emphasizes wide-ranging repertoire and the acting of songs and arias within a dramatic context. Previous winners have gone on to play leading roles on Broadway, in regional theaters and international tours, and in major opera houses in the United States and Europe.
A panel of distinguished musical theater and opera professionals will judge the competition. Past judges include Rob Berman, André Bishop, William Bolcom, Theodore S. Chapin, Victoria Clark, Mark Cuddy, Jonathan Eaton, Alvin Epstein, James Holmes, Welz Kauffman, Michael Kaufmann, Rebecca Luker, John Mauceri, Timothy Nolen, Elmar Ottenthal, Harold Prince, Angelina Réaux, Julius Rudel, Ted Sperling, Eric Stern, Teresa Stratas, Lisa Vroman, and Stanley Walden.
Contestants must prepare a program of four selections: an aria from the opera or operetta repertoire; two songs from the American musical theater repertoire (one pre-1968 and one from 1968 or later); and a theatrical selection by Kurt Weill. Detailed guidelines may be found here. Contestants will be judged on their ability to interpret text and portray a character, along with stage presence, beauty of voice, and secure vocal technique.
The 2012 Lotte Lenya Competition is open to artists ages 19-30 who were born after 31 December 1981 and before 1 January 1993. Each contestant must submit a preliminary video audition on DVD by 31 January 2012. After DVD submissions have been reviewed, some contestants will be invited to audition live in a round of semi-finals in New York City on 9-10 March 2012. Competition finals will be held on 21 April 2012, at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, USA. Finalists will each receive an award of $500, plus a stipend to offset travel costs to the finals in Rochester.