Finals for the tenth annual Lotte Lenya Competition will be held on Saturday, April 21, at Kilbourn Hall at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. The first round will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. The contestants, who are singing actors from around the world, will perform their entire 13-minute program in the first round. The evening concert begins at 8 p.m., after which winners will be announced. Both portions of the competition are free and open to the public. Two Eastman students will be among those competing for prizes that will exceed $15,000.
The Lenya Competition has grown into an internationally recognized theatre singing competition since its founding in 1998 by Kim Kowalke, the Richard L. Turner Professor in Humanities at the University of Rochester and president of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. Among this year's finalists are a grand prize winner of the 2006 Metropolitan Opera auditions, a cast member of Opera Boston's Mahagonny, and a featured player in last year's Broadway revival of The Threepenny Opera.
Past winners have gone on to careers in opera and musical theatre. Eastman graduate student Jonathan Michie, winner of the 2005 competition, will be showcased in a Weill concert at the 2007 Spoleto Festival USA, and 2004 winners Amy Justman and Richard Todd Adams are featured in the Broadway production of Company and The Pirate Queen.
Judging this year's finals are world-renowned soprano Teresa Stratas, conductor and director Ted Sperling, and Theodore S. Chapin, president of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization.
The 14 finalists, hailing originally from as far as Australia and Trinidad and Tobago, were chosen from regional competitions and video submissions. Finalists include Sharon O'Connell Campbell, mezzo-soprano, of Lawrence, Kan.; Leena Chopra, soprano, New York City; Paul Corona, bass, Chicago; Julia Cramer, soprano, Rochester; Jeanine De Bique, soprano, New York City; Cooper Grodin, tenor, New York City; Christopher Herbert, tenor, New York City; Analisa Leaming, soprano, Rochester; Kendall Lima, soprano, New York City; Elizabeth Mitchell, soprano, Ann Arbor, Mich.; James Benjamin Rodgers, tenor, New York City; Brian Charles Rooney, tenor/sopranist, New York City; Tyler Simpson, bass-baritone, Lawrence, Kan.; and Hayley Thompson-King, mezzo-soprano, New York City.
Each finalist must present a 13-minute program, including an opera/operetta aria, an America musical theatre number, and two contrasting Kurt Weill selections. Further information on the Lenya Competition can be found at www.kwf.org/pages/llcs/llcstop.html.