Douglas Carpenter, baritone, of New York, won the $15,000 First Prize in the finals of the 15th anniversary Lotte Lenya Competition, held on April 13, 2013, at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. Maren Weinberger, soprano, of New York, received the Second Prize of $10,000, and two Third Prizes of $7,500 each were awarded to Alison Arnopp, soprano, of County Cork, Ireland, and Lauren Roesner, soprano, of Cincinnati. Founded in 1998 to celebrate the centenary of Lenya's birth, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theater singing contest that recognizes talented young singer/actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire.
Carpenter impressed the judges with a dynamic program that included "Pierrot's Tanzlied" from Korngold's Die tote Stadt and "Molasses to Rum" from the Sherman Edwards musical 1776. The other prize winners also presented exceptionally compelling performances of repertoire ranging from Donizetti and Gilbert & Sullivan to Weill, Loesser, Bernstein, Michael John LaChiusa, and Jeff Blumenkrantz.
This year's panel of judges included acclaimed soprano and 2010 Opera News Award winner Patricia Racette, British opera and musical theater conductor James Holmes, and Theodore S. Chapin, President of Rodgers & Hammerstein and Vice-Chairman of the American Theater Wing.
Chapin, who has judged the Competition eight times, said, "The Lenya Competition was founded to address a need for performers who can both sing and act. In the spirit of Kurt Weill, it bridges the gap between musical theater and a more serious kind of sung-through theater. It's the perfect way to do it, and it's been a wonderfully successful program."
The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, which sponsors the competition, distributed a record $61,500 in prizes this year. In addition to the top prizes, judges presented two Lys Symonette Awards of $3,000 each, named in honor of Kurt Weill's musical assistant on Broadway. For Outstanding Performance of an Individual Number, the awards went to soprano Rachel Kara Cordeiro-Pérez of Brooklyn, New York, for her performance of Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Breathe" from In the Heights, and to mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson of Sandy, Utah, for her performance of "Alto's Lament" by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich. The remaining six finalists each received an award of $1,000: Daniel Berryman, tenor, of New York; Christian Ketter, tenor, of Chicago; Mingjie Lei, tenor, of Hengyang, China; Erin Mackey, soprano, of Astoria, New York; Heather Phillips, soprano, of Philadelphia; and Christy Sullivan, mezzo-soprano, of Sydney, Australia.
Each contestant presented a diverse program that included an aria from the opera or operetta repertoire; two songs from the American musical theater repertoire (one from the pre-1968 "Golden Age" and one from 1968 or later); and a theatrical selection by Kurt Weill. After a preliminary round of auditions, twenty-four semi-finalists from five continents auditioned in New York for adjudicator/coaches Jeanine Tesori and Rebecca Luker, who then selected the twelve finalists.
The Lenya Competition celebrated its 15th Anniversary this year. Since its inception, the Kurt Weill Foundation has awarded more than $500,000 to exceptionally talented young singer-actors, many of whom are enjoying prominent careers in musical theater, opera, and sometimes both. In the past year alone, previous winners' credits include performances on Broadway (Kyle Barisich, Morgan James); in national and international tours (Richard Todd Adams, Maria Failla, Zachary James, Ariela Morgenstern); at regional theaters such as Baltimore Centerstage, Westport Country Playhouse, and Portland Center Stage (Erik Liberman), The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park (Cooper Grodin), and Classic Stage Company (Amy Justman); and on major opera stages including the Metropolitan Opera (Paul Corona, Ginger Costa-Jackson), Los Angeles Opera (Rodell Rosel, Liam Bonner), Lyric Opera of Chicago (Rodell Rosel, Lucas Meachem), Florida Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Oper Leipzig (Jonathan Michie), Houston Grand Opera (Liam Bonner), New York City Opera (Lauren Worsham, Jennifer Goode Cooper), Glimmerglass Festival (Noah Stewart, Ginger Costa-Jackson), English National Opera and Teatro Real Madrid (Zachary James), Hamburg Staatsoper and Festival d'Aix-en-Provence (Rebecca Jo Loeb), and Oper Frankfurt (Elizabeth Reiter).
Video of 2013 prizewinners' performances
Originally posted: 16 April 2013