For over 30 years, Annapolis Opera’s Vocal Competition has given opera students and young professionals in the Mid-Atlantic region the opportunity to hone their craft by performing for a blue-ribbon panel of judges comprised of respected music educators and opera performers. It also gives Artistic Director Ronald J. Gretz a chance to discover new talent for upcoming Annapolis Opera productions. The competition is fierce, with the eight finalists selected from more than 100 outstanding applicants! Prizes total more than $10,000, with each finalist receiving from $1,000 to $5,000.
Held at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, the competition spans a weekend, with both semi-finals and finals open to the public, and is FREE, due to a generous grant from The Helena Foundation, Jim and Sylvia Earl.
Semi-Finals: Saturday, April 4, 2020 | 10 AM
Finals: Sunday, April 5, 2020 | 3 PM
Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts | 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD
Congratulations to the winners of the 31st Annual Vocal Competition!
1st Prize: The Marie E. Crump Award & The Director/Conductor Award
Audience Choice: The Felix Rosario/Victoria Waidner Memorial Award & The Richard Krimm Award
Joshua Conyers, baritone
Baritone Joshua Conyers is a member of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, where his responsibilities include Giorgio Germont in La Traviata, British Major in Silent Night, Donkey in The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me, Jason 75 Miles, and Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin. In 2019, he will be returning as a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera performing Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess: A Concert of Songs and Ramiro in L’heure Espagnole with the National Orchestral Institute. For the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Mr. Conyers fulfilled his residency as a Benenson Young Artist at Palm Beach Opera, performing Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Marullo in Rigoletto, Sciarrone in Tosca, and Captain in Candide.
2nd Prize: The Hughes Award
Rebecca Achtenberg, soprano
Soprano Rebecca Achtenberg is a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, with a double degree in Voice Performance and Comparative Literature. She received a master’s degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College. Upcoming engagements include Rosario in Goyescas with Hub City Opera, Lia in l’Enfant Prodigue with Garden State Opera, and Annina in La Traviata with New Rochelle Opera. Past performances include Older Alyce in Glory Denied with Tri-Cities Opera, High Priestess in Aida with Boheme Opera of New Jersey, First Lady in Die Zauberflöte with CoOPERAative Opera, Marenka in Bartered Bride and La Princesse in l‘Enfant et les Sortilèges, both with Westminster Opera Theater.
3rd Prize: The Todd Duncan Award & The Carrie Kellogg Ray Award
Kelsey Robertson, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Kelsey Roberston was most-recently a Metropolitan Opera National Council District Winner in Denver, Colorado. In the 2017-18 season, she completed her second year as an Apprentice Artist with Palm Beach Opera, covering the role of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and performing the role of the Shepherd Boy in Tosca. In 2017, Ms. Robertson made her New York City Opera debut in the role of Fuego in Los Elementos. In the 2016-17 season, she made her debut as an Apprentice Artist with Palm Beach Opera covering the roles of Giovanna and Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto and performing the role of Kate in the family performance of Pirates of Penzance. Originally from New Jersey, Ms. Robertson holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music.
Encouragement Prize: The Donna F. Durkan Award
Rachel Blaustein, soprano
Soprano Rachel Blaustein is quickly gaining recognition for her riveting stage presence and innate musicality as she brings life to repertoire ranging from Handel and Mozart to Janáček and Glass. Previously this season, she won an encouragement award from the 2019 Central Region Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and won the Audience Choice Award in the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition. Additionally, she was named a Finalist in the 2019 Opera Ithaca Edward M. Murray International Competition of Voice and is also a Finalist for the 2018-19 Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Award. She has been a young artist with Florentine Opera, Kentucky Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, and Chautauqua Opera. She holds degrees from The Peabody Conservatory and Hofstra University.
Encouragement Prize: The Patricia A. Edwards Award
Mandy Brown, soprano
Soprano Mandy Brown’s operatic highlights include Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro and Charlene in Service Provider with Washington National Opera, Nannetta in Falstaff with Chautauqua Opera, Lady With A Hand Mirror in Postcard From Morocco, Love Simpson in Cold Sassy Tree, the title role in Amelia al Ballo, Rose Maurrant in Street Scene, Despina in Così Fan Tutte, Beth March in Little Women, and Soeur Constance in Les Dialogues des Carmélites. In 2017, 2015, 2014, and 2013, Mandy was a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan National Council Auditions. Additionally, in 2017 she was a Demi-Finalist at the 25mme International Concours de Chant in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Other awards include the 2015 Carolyn Bailey & Dominick Argento Vocal Competition – 2nd place, and the 2014 NATSAA Young Artist Performance – Mid Atlantic Regionals, 2nd place.
Encouragement Prize: The Cheryl and Richard Hack Award
Min Sang Kim, countertenor
Countertenor Min Sang Kim was recently named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Capitol District and debuted at the Carnegie Hall as a Grand Prize winner of Concert Artists International Music Competition. His operatic roles include Nerone (Agrippina), Giulio Cesare/Tolomeo (Giulio Cesare), Ottone/Valetto (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Endimione (La Calisto), Oberon (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and Madame de la Haltière (Cendrillon). He has performed with New York Lyric Opera, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Aspen Opera Center, Peabody Opera, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Washington Bach Consort, and American Bach Soloists. Min Sang completed his studies at the Juilliard School and New England Conservatory and is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the Peabody Institute.
Encouragement Prize: The Melanie and Michael Teems Award
Dana MacIntosh, soprano
Soprano Dana MacIntosh, lauded for her confidence and flair on stage, made her professional debut with Opera Delaware in 2018 as Nella in Gianni Schicchi and Buoso’s Ghost under the baton of composer Michael Ching. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in voice from the University of Delaware and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Previous performances include Marguerite in Faust with Delaware Valley Opera Company, Erste Dame in “Lady Parts” of Magic Flute with Potomac Vocal Institute, and Ann Putnam in The Crucible with Miami Summer Music Festival, in addition to Musetta in La Bohème, Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Sister Mathilde in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Anna Gomez in The Consul. She returns to Opera Delaware as a Young Artist in 2019 to sing Kitty Hart in Dead Man Walking.
Encouragement Prize: The William W. Watkins Award
Anastasiia Sidorova, mezzo-soprano
Russian Mezzo-soprano Anastasiia Sidorova currently studies at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music under Mikael Eliasen and Patricia McCaffrey. In 2016, she was selected as an Emerging Artist at Opera Philadelphia, where she made her professional debut as Roggiero in Tancredi and covered the role of Dodo in Breaking the Waves. In the 2017-18 season, Anastasiia returned to Opera Philadelphia for a second year to perform Dritte Dame in Die Zauberflöte and Mércèdes in Carmen. In 2018, she joined the Wolf Trap Studio Artist program as Giovanna in Rigoletto, and covered Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette. Ms. Sidorova was 1st prize winner in the university division of the Classical Singer competition in Chicago, and the encouragement award winner in the Gerda Lissner Lieder/Song competition.
Vocal Competition Grand Prize Winners
2019: Joshua Conyers, baritone
2018: Kylena Parks, soprano
2016: Galeano Salas, tenor
2015: Diane Kalinowski, soprano
2014: Huanhuan Ma, soprano
2013: Halim Shon, tenor
2012: Sarah Mesko, mezzo-soprano
2011: Zach Borichevsky, tenor
2010: Rolando Sanz, tenor
2009: Aaron Agulay, baritone
2008: Jay Jung, baritone
2007: Colleen Daly, soprano
2006: Eun Hee Kim, soprano
2005: Lori Lind, soprano
2004: Sheri Jackson, soprano
2003: Dongwon Shin, tenor
2002: Kwang-Kyu Lee, bass
2001: Tianxu Zhou, baritone
2000: Angela Fout, soprano
1999: Daesan No, baritone
1998: Hyun Min Lee, soprano
1997: Charles Reid, tenor
1996: Michael Ford, tenor
1995: Taewon Yi Kim, mezzo-soprano
1994: Jennifer Post, soprano
1993: John Weber, tenor
1992: Reginald Allen, baritone
1990: Deborah Arnold, soprano
1989: Marcia Plait Treece, mezzo-soprano
1988: Grant Young, baritone