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The 2010 Lotte Lenya Competition Is Now Underway

Applications for the 2010 Lotte Lenya Competition are now in. Of this year's 220 applicants, nearly 20% live in countries outside the U.S, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the U.K. This represents a significant increase in the number of international participants, and is a direct result of the Kurt Weill Foundation's efforts this year to internationalize the competition. Last year's first-prize winner was Alen Hodzovic of Berlin.

The Lotte Lenya Competition is a one-of-a-kind, international contest that recognizes talented young singer/actors who are dramatically and musically convincing in repertoire ranging from opera/operetta to contemporary Broadway scores, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. Emphasis is placed on the acting of songs and arias within a dramatic context. Prizes of $15,000, $10,000, and $7,500 will be awarded.

Winners have gone on to appear on Broadway, in major opera houses and festivals, international tours, and cabaret. The competition is open to singer/actors aged 19-32.

The Competition honors the legacy of legendary singer/actress Lotte Lenya (1898-1981), who was one of the foremost interpreters of the work of her husband, Kurt Weill. Lenya rose to stardom when she played Jenny in Weill, Bertolt Brecht, and Elisabeth Hauptmann's smash hit, Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) in Berlin in 1928. Thereafter, she enjoyed an active stage, recording, and film career. In addition to playing featured roles in several Weill works, Lotte Lenya is also remembered for her portrayal of Rosa Klebb in From Russia With Love and of Fräulein Schneider in Cabaret on Broadway.

2010 Lenya Competition contestants will audition live in Rochester, NY, on 20 February or in New York City, 12-14 March 2010; or, they have the option to submit their audition by DVD. All contestants will prepare one aria from the operatic or operetta repertoire, one selection from the American musical theater repertoire, and two musically and dramatically contrasting theatrical selections by Kurt Weill. Regional judges will select finalists to go on to the next round of the competition. Finalists will be announced on 16 March 2010.

Finalists will compete on 17 April at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, starting with an afternoon competition and culminating in an evening public performance. The panel of judges will consist of distinguished musical theater and opera professionals. Past judges have included international opera star Teresa Stratas, famed Broadway producer and director Harold Prince, Lincoln Center Theater's artistic director André Bishop, and Tony Award-winning singing actress Victoria Clark. Winners of the competition will be announced at the conclusion of the evening performance.

About the Lenya Competition

Peabody Award winner Michael Lasser's profile of the Competition from the Spring 2009 Kurt Weill Newsletter