The 25th Anniversary Lenya Competition returned to its original home at Kilbourn Hall in Rochester, New York. Before an enthusiastic and appreciative audience, the eminent jury (Dame Josephine Barstow CBE, DBE; Ted Chapin; James Holmes; Kyle Scatliffe) awarded the following prizes.
Nyla Watson - First Prize
Nyla Watson is a Cleveland-born NYC-based actor, singer and coach currently on tour with Hadestown (Fate 2 and Persephone). She is a 2019 Lenya Competition award-winner, and recorded “But You’ll Be Fine” for the LLC Songbook series. She has appeared on Broadway in Waitress and Off-Broadway in Black No More and Gigantic. National Tours include Wicked and The Color Purple. Notable concerts: ShowBoat: Live at Lincoln Center, Oklahoma! at 75, and “Broadway Sings Whitney Houston.” She attributes her success to her Christian faith, her parents, her education, and her professional and personal influences. Nyla is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace and NYU Steinhardt. www.queennyla.com, @brandnewnyla. Acts 4:7-12.
Ryan Johnson - First Prize
Ryan Johnson’s performing experience spans opera and music theater. He recently appeared at the Opera Saratoga as Ira in Lembit Beecher’s Sky on Swings. In 2023, Ryan will debut at Glimmerglass as the Grand Inquisitor and Governor in Candide. He has been a finalist in the George London Foundation Competition and a district winner for the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions. As a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Ryan performed the role of Borsa in Rigoletto and covered Nero in The Coronation of Poppea and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi. He holds an MM from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a BM from Texas Tech.
Taylor-Alexis DuPont - First Prize
Hailing from Orlando, Taylor-Alexis DuPont received her MM in Voice from Peabody Conservatory. She was in the ensemble of the Met’s Grammy -winning Porgy and Bess in 2019-202 and then sang Moth in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Santa Fe Opera. She debuted as a soloist with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in El Amor Brujo. and won the inaugural Rebecca Luker Award in 2021. In 2023 she debuted with Washington National Opera as Pheobe in The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson and with Virginia Opera as Flora in La Traviata. She will be play Audrey in the world premiere of The Rip Van Winkles at Glimmerglass this summer.
Jeremiah Sanders - Kurt Weill Award
Described as “a hulk with a robust voice,” Jeremiah Sanders is currently a Resident Artist with Minnesota Opera. He has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony, Lima Symphony, Lakes Area Music Festival, Opera Saratoga, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Union Avenue Opera. Sanders has also won several national and international voice competitions. The baritone is currently a doctoral candidate at Indiana University after previously earning a Vocology Certificate and Performer’s Diploma in Voice from Indiana, a MM in Vocal Performance from Butler University, and a BA from Manchester University.
Celeste Rose - Rebecca Luker Award
Originally from California, Celeste Rose received her BFA in Musical Theatre from Ithaca College, and has since called NYC home. Off-Broadway she has appeared in We Are The Tigers and The York Theatre Company’s Unexpected Joy, as well as on the original cast recordings of both. Regionally, Celeste has performed in A Connecticut Christmas Carol and the world premiere of Passing Through (Goodspeed Opera House); Freaky Friday and the world premiere of Bernice Bobs Her Hair (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma); Sister Act (Ogunquit Playhouse and The Gateway Playhouse); and Titanic (Westchester Broadway Theatre). www.CelesteRose.com, @_Celeste_Rose