Three winners were selected in the 2004 Lotte Lenya Competition for Singers at the end of day-long final auditions on Saturday, 27 March, at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. Breaking with tradition, the judges chose to award three prizes of $6,000 each to Richard Todd Adams, tenor, 29; Amy Justman, soprano, 25; and Misty Ann Sturm, soprano, 26, instead of ranking the prizewinners. All three are New York metropolitan area residents. The winners will be presented in concert at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts, New York City, on 3 June at 6:00 pm.
The 2004 competition finals were judged by a team of distinguished opera/musical theater professionals: Theodore Chapin, President of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization and longtime Tony-Award nominator; Angelina Réaux, opera singer and musical theater actress featured in many international productions and recordings of Weill's works; and Alvin Epstein, actor and cabaret artist with a 50-year career on and off-Broadway. The judges heard each contestant perform an aria from the opera/operetta repertoire, two contrasting theatrical selections by Kurt Weill, and a selection from the Broadway musical theater repertoire by a composer other than Weill.
Twelve competition finalists were selected from 100 contestants at regional auditions held in New York City, Rochester, and Chicago by regional judges Joyce Castle, Judy Kaye, Charlie Scatamacchia, and Welz Kauffman. In addition to the winners listed above, finalists were sopranos Raquel Adorno, 22 (Urbana, IL), Victoria Baker (Greenwich, CT), and Re'ut Ben-Ze'ev, 32 (Forest Hills, NY); mezzo-sopranos Audrey Babcock, 24 (New York, NY), Alta M. Boover, 25 (New York, NY), and Rebecca Jo Loeb, 21 (Ann Arbor, MI); and baritones Jesse Blumberg, 24 (New York, NY), Andrew Garland, 26 (Cincinnati, OH), and Oliver Henderson, 28 (Greenville, NC).
Kurt Weill was renowned for his ability to compose idiomatically in many musical styles, and his works have been heard on the Broadway stage, in opera houses, in concert halls, and in Hollywood films. In honor of Weill's wife and foremost interpreter, Lotte Lenya, in 1998 the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music established an annual Lotte Lenya Competition for Singers to recognize versatile young artists who are dramatically and musically convincing in contrasting styles of music by Weill and other stage composers.
In the six years since it was inaugurated, the Lotte Lenya Competition has grown into an international contest. Winners from past years have gone on to appear in roles at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Canadian Opera Company, the Houston Grand Opera, in Baz Luhrmann's Broadway Boheme, and in the current national touring companies of Oliver and The Sound of Music, among others.
More information about the Lenya Competition.