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2010 Lotte Lenya Competition Encourages Young Talent

March 24, 2010. Following the first round of auditions for the 2010 Lotte Lenya Competition, the Kurt Weill Foundation has presented Young Talent Awards to eight impressive young singer-actors, ages 19-23. Out of 230 auditions this year--the largest pool in the history of the competition--regional judges selected sixteen finalists. The Young Talent Awards encourage non-finalists who are early in their careers but show exceptional promise to enter the competition again in the future.

The 2010 Young Talent Award recipients are:

  • Krista Buccellato, 21, Boston, MA
  • Margaret Dietrich, 20, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Lora Lee Gayer, 21, Naples, FL
  • Blair Goldberg, 20, New York, NY
  • Joseph Mikolaj, 23, New Haven, CT
  • Annie J. Rago, 19, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Adam R. Richardson, 22, New York, NY
  • Daniel Schwait, 20, New York, NY

These promising young performers are current students or recent graduates of some of the top opera, musical theater, and vocal performance programs in the country: The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University, New York University, Yale University, Emerson College, and Oklahoma City University.

In addition, the Grace Keagy Award for Outstanding Vocal Promise was awarded to Julia Teitel, 26, of Malden, Massachussetts, a 2008 graduate of Eastman School of Music. The award honors singer-actress Grace Keagy (1921-2009), a past judge for the competition and a great supporter, who played Mrs. Peachum in The Threepenny Opera on several occasions and the Widow Begbick in the Yale Repertory Theatre's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.

Held annually by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, the Lotte Lenya Competition recognizes talented young singer-actors, aged 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire. In addition to singing an aria and a song from the American musical theater, contestants must prepare two contrasting songs by Kurt Weill, Lenya's husband and one of the most versatile and influential theater composers of the 20th century (The Threepenny Opera, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Street Scene, Lady in the Dark).

Legendary soprano Teresa Stratas has judged the competition nine times. Reflecting upon the importance of a competition that focuses on the combination of singing and acting, she notes, "This is the only competition that requires contestants to prepare so many kinds of songs, and then take what the judges give them and immediately put it to work. What a terrific idea that honors the singing and Lenya both."

If you'd like more information about this topic, please contact Kate Chisholm at (212) 505-5240 or kchisholm@kwf.org.