Thirty-two singers selected as semifinalists; record number of audition videos received.

February 15, 2017: Kim H. Kowalke, President and CEO of the Kurt Weill Foundation, has announced the semifinalists for the 20th annual Lotte Lenya Competition. The Foundation received 266 audition videos, the most in the Competition’s history, from singer/actors ages 19-32, hailing from thirty-one US states and sixteen countries on five continents. From that pool, thirty-two semifinalists from the U.S., Canada, France, Israel, Luxembourg, and Mexico have been selected to perform at the semifinals at the Manhattan School of Music on 9 and 10 March.

Meroë Adeeb
Carolyn Bacon
Curtis Bannister
Gan-ya Ben-gur Akselrod
Daniel Berryman
Felipe Bombonato
Samantha Bruce
Kristen Choi
Jil Clesse
Kellie Cundiff
Molly Dunn
Benjamin Dutton
Jasmine Habersham
Michael Hewitt
Maurio Hines
Philip Kalmanovitch
Charlotte Knight
Reilly Nelson
Lindsay O’Neil
Marie Oppert
Tony Potts
Taylor Raven
Katherine Riddle
Lisa Rogali
Mackenzie Rogers
Laura Sanders
Aaron Sheppard
Bradley Smoak
Elise Spurlock
Travis Taylor
Paulina Villarreal
Anson Woodin

This year’s semifinals judges are veteran Broadway performer Judy Blazer and Tony Award-winning music director Ted Sperling. Each contestant will perform a fifteen-minute program of repertoire from the operatic, golden age, and contemporary musical theater stages, and the music of Kurt Weill, and then receive a fifteen-minute coaching session with that day’s judge. The top-rated performers will then proceed to the Competition finals, where they will sing for another star-studded jury composed of renowned stage director Anne Bogart, Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley, and Broadway music director, conductor, and orchestrator Rob Berman. Finals take place on 22 April at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY and are open to the public.

In addition to the semifinalists, six contestants were recognized with Emerging Talent Awards of $500 each: Annette Berning, Tucker Breder, Kalyn Schnable, Juliane Stolzenbach Ramos, Trevor Vanderzee, and Danielle Bavli. Jennifer Witton of London, UK, received the Grace Keagy Award of $500 for Outstanding Vocal Promise. All semifinalists receive a cash award of $500. Those who move on to the finals will receive a minimum of $1,000, with individual discretionary awards of $3,500 and $5,000, and top prizes increased this year to $20,000, $15,000, and $10,000. Total prizes will exceed $75,000.

More than a vocal competition, the Lotte Lenya Competition recognizes talented young singer/actors who are dramatically and musically convincing in wide-ranging theatrical repertoire, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. Past prizewinners have gone on to appear on major theater, opera, and concert stages around the world. Don’t miss the competition described by Opera News as “target[ing] today’s total-package talents, unearthing up-and-coming singers who are ready for their close-ups.”

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If you’d like more information about this topic, please contact Elizabeth Blaufox at the Kurt Weill Foundation: (212) 505-5240 x210 or