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The Lotte Lenya Competition

  • The 2022 Competition is open to singer/actors of all nationalities, ages 19–32 (born after 6 May 1989 and before 20 January 2003).

    First, Second, and Third Prizewinners from previous years are ineligible to compete in subsequent competitions. Winners of discretionary awards (Lys Symonette, Carolyn Weber, Marc Blitzstein, and Kurt Weill Awards) may compete again so long as they select repertoire different from what they were previously recognized for.

  • Preliminary Auditions
    • Each contestant must upload a preliminary video audition, headshot, résumé, and proof of age (driver’s license, passport, or other government ID) with their online application form.
    • Audition videos must include all four required repertoire selections.
    • Deadline: 19 January 2022.

    For tips on making an audition video, click here.

    Semifinals

    10, 11 March 2022
    New York, New York USA

    Finals

    6 May 2022
    New York, New York USA

  • Contestants must perform a program that contains four selections, one from each category outlined below. The total length of the program must not exceed 15 minutes. This may necessitate judicious internal cuts, but contestants must be prepared to sing the number unabridged if so requested by the judges.

    • one theatrical selection (any genre) by Kurt Weill
      Weill selection(s) must be sung in their original theatrical versions and language. However, in this category only, authorized English translations for selections from The Threepenny Opera (English lyrics by Marc Blitzstein or Michael Feingold) and Happy End (English lyrics by Michael Feingold) will also be permitted.
    • one song from a musical written before 1968
      Contestants must perform the stage version of the song as it is contained in the piano-vocal score of the show (not in “selections” format, or from a film or popular adaptation of the work). Musical theater selections must be sung in English.Contestants may also select a Weill song written for Broadway as their pre-1968 musical theater selection. Note, however, that multiple Weill selections should be contrasting (in genre, style, and/or language).
    • one song from a musical written in/after 1968
      Contestants must perform the stage version of the song as it is contained in the piano-vocal score of the show (not in “selections” format, or from a film or popular adaptation of the work). Musical theater selections must be sung in English.
    • one selection from an opera or operetta
      The opera/operetta selection must be sung in its original musical version, key, and language. Contestants may also choose a selection from an opera/operetta by Weill for this category. Again, please note that multiple Weill selections should be contrasting.

    Contestants are encouraged to choose contrasting selections, which may be performed in any order. To effectively demonstrate that you are a multi-dimensional performer, in constructing your program consider the mood, tempo, length, vocal range, musical style, and characters being portrayed. The program must be performed from memory.

    Bear in mind that the intention behind requiring two musical theater selections, one written before 1968 and one written in or after, is to encourage performances that demonstrate the stylistic differences found throughout the history of musical theater. Pairing a selection from a musical from the 1920s with one that imitates that style but written after 1968 does not illustrate the diversity celebrated by the Lenya Competition, and should be avoided. A musical such as The Drowsy Chaperone might postdate 1968, but as it is largely written “in the style” of a musical from an earlier period, it does not really afford a contestant the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to perform in a post-1968 style of musical theater.

  • Judges score each of the four selections on a scale from 1 to 10, with a “10” being “as perfect as one could reasonably expect to experience the number.” Additionally, there is a fifth category, also scored 1 to 10, called “Overall Impact,” which includes consideration of diversity of repertoire and vocal production, level of difficulty and risk-taking, and range of style, languages, and characterization. Each contestant therefore can achieve a maximum score of 50 from each judge. Prizewinners almost invariably receive scores averaging an “8” or above for all four selections and also score high in the “overall impact” category.

    • $20,000 First Prize
    • $15,000 Second Prize
    • $10,000 Third Prize
    Discretionary Awards:
    • $5,000 Kurt Weill Award: for outstanding performance of at least two contrasting selections by Kurt Weill, one in English, one in French or German.
    • $3,500 Lys Symonette Award: given in recognition of various aspects of individual performance such as outstanding performance of a single number, extraordinary achievement and/or promise, and outstanding talent.
    • $3,500 Carolyn Weber Award: given in recognition of outstanding creativity in the design of a diverse program and exceptional sensitivity to text/music relationships.
    • $3,500 Rebecca Luker Award: given for an outstanding performance from a pre-1968 musical.

    Additional awards are available to non-finalists: Grace Keagy Awards for Outstanding Vocal Promise and Emerging Talent Awards, each in the amount of $500.

    Please note that judges may decide not to award all prizes listed here in any given year.

  • The semifinal and final rounds of the Lenya Competition are judged by two different sets of individuals. Semifinalists are adjudicated and coached by a single “adjudicator/coach” on a given day (semifinals typically span two days, thus two semifinal judges), while finalists perform for and are evaluated by a three-person jury comprising of musical theater and opera experts with contrasting backgrounds and perspectives.

    Finals Judges for past Lenya Competitions have included world-renowned soprano and actress Teresa Stratas; legendary director and producer Harold Prince; conductors Julius Rudel, James Holmes, Andy Einhorn, John Mauceri, Rob Berman, Adam Benzwi, and Eric Stern; director/conductor Ted Sperling; Broadway and opera performers Victoria Clark, Patricia Racette, Angelina Réaux, Rebecca Luker, Timothy Nolen, Judy Kaye, Lisa Vroman, Judy Blazer; producers Welz Kauffman (Ravinia Festival), André Bishop (Lincoln Center Theater), Theodore S. Chapin (Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization), and Michael Kaufmann (Kurt Weill Fest); actor/director Alvin Epstein; directors Jonathan Eaton, Elmar Ottenthal, and Mark Cuddy; composer William Bolcom.

    Past Semifinal Coach/Adjudicators have included Rebecca Luker, Jeanine Tesori, Andy Einhorn, Victoria Clark, Ted Sperling, Lisa Vroman, and Judy Blazer. In 2021, two Lenya Competition top prizewinners returned to coach and judge the semifinal round: Analisa Leaming (2007) and Zachary James (2009.)

  • Now accepting applications for the 2022 Competition!


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