The 2021 Lotte Lenya Competition received a staggering 500 applications, shattering the previous record, with submissions from twenty-nine countries and thirty-nine U.S. states. Each applicant submitted a video performance of four contrasting song selections including musical theater, opera, and Kurt Weill repertoire. Kim H. Kowalke, President and CEO of the Kurt Weill Foundation, is pleased to announce the semifinalists for the 2021 Competition.

Gan-ya Ben-gur Akselrod (Israel, 33)
Julie Benko (USA, 31)
Adelaide Boedecker (USA, 32)
Avery Boettcher (USA, 28)
Angela Bonello (USA, 21)
Benjamin Camenzuli (Canada, 28)
Max Chernin (USA, 30)
Joshua Conyers (USA, 32)
Tychiko Cox (Bahamas, 32)
Blake Denson (USA, 25)
Monica Dewey (USA, 31)
Taylor-Alexis DuPont (USA, 30)
Charles Eaton (USA, 30)
Nicole Fernandez-Coffaro (USA, 28)
Kaden Forsberg (Canada, 29)
Daniella Friesen (Canada, 32)
Katrina Galka (USA, 31)
Dylan Glenn (USA, 27)
Richard Glöckner (Germany, 26)
Sarah Goodman (USA, 26)
Matthew Hill (USA, 30)
Rebekah Howell (USA, 29)
Helen Zhibing Huang (China, 28)
Lauren Joyanne Morris (United Kingdom, 30)
Victoria Okafor (USA, 25)
Andrew Polec (USA, 32)
Katherine Riddle (USA, 29)
Kaileigh Riess (USA, 26)
Luke Sikora (USA, 32)
Sacha Smith (Canada, 26)
Ryan Wolfe (USA, 24)

Beyond the semifinalists, eight applicants received Emerging Talent Awards with a cash prize of $500 each: Haley Dortch (USA, 19), Nicole Goldstein (USA, 23), Lydia Graham (USA, 22), Brandon Roth (USA, 22), Eric Sebek (USA, 19), Ruby Shadley (USA, 23), Ayaka Shimada (Japan, 22) and David Young (USA, 22). The recipient of the Grace Keagy Award for Outstanding Vocal Talent in the amount of $500 is Katherine Beck (USA, 30).

The semifinal round will take place via video audition and online coaching sessions in mid-April. For the first time in the competition’s 23-year history, two previous top prizewinners will return as judges: Broadway mainstay Analisa Leaming (2007) and opera and musical theater globetrotter Zachary James (2009) will join Broadway and opera star and four-time Lenya Competition judge Lisa Vroman to complete the trio of semifinal coach/adjudicators. The semifinalists will compete for a spot in the 2021 finals, which will take place live and in-person on May 29, or, should circumstances not allow for that date, in late August, in either Rochester, NY or New York City. Leading artists from theater, opera, television, and film compose the star-studded panel of finals judges: Tony Award-winning actress, singer, and director Victoria Clark, renowned Broadway music director and conductor Andy Einhorn, and Obie Award-winning actress and singer, Mary Beth Peil, who launched her career as the winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. The final round will be live-streamed on the Lenya Competition website and available as a broadcast on OperaVision shortly after the finals date.

In addition to the top prizes of $20,000, $15,000, and $10,000, discretionary awards ranging from $3,500 to $5,000 recognize outstanding finals performances of individual numbers or particular aspects of performances. Also this year, finals judges may choose to bestow the inaugural Rebecca Luker Award, for an outstanding performance of a selection from the Golden Age of American musical theater. The award was established by the Kurt Weill Foundation in honor of Broadway star and six-time Lenya Competition judge Rebecca Luker¸ who passed away late last year due to complications caused by ALS. All semifinalists who do not advance to the finals will receive an award of $500. Total prizes will exceed $75,000.