Tuesday, November 29, 2016

WINNERS: The American Prize in Voice (women in opera)

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Vocal Performance (women in opera and operetta), 2016—The Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award, in professional, college/university and high school divisions. Congratulations!

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com

The American Prize in Vocal Performance—Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award honors the memory of the greatest Wagnerian baritone of his age, Friedrich Schorr, who commanded the operatic stage between the world wars, and his wife, Virginia Schorr, who taught studio voice at the Manhattan School of Music and the Hartt School of Music for nearly fifty years. The Prize recognizes and rewards the best performances by classically trained vocalists in America in 2016, based on submitted recordings.

The American Prize in Vocal Performance (women in opera and operetta), 2016
The Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
(professional division)

The American Prize winner:
SAMANTHA BRITT
New York NY
SAMANTHA BRITT
Samantha Britt expressively performs Art Songs and Opera around the world. Samantha recently portrayed tempestuous Carla in the World Premiere of A Certain Quiet (Elisha), and soft-hearted Leslie in Companionship, by Rachel Peters, at The Virginia Arts Festival. The Huffington Post described Samantha in Rappaccini’s Daughter (Cohen/Abrams) as “compellingly poignant…with lovely floated tones and plangent high notes.” As Mag in Ballymore (Wargo) at Chelsea Opera, Opera News called her “sparkling and playful… fully capturing the audience’s love and empathy”. Samantha has performed Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with San Antonio Opera, Mabel in Pirates of Penzance, Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, and Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, and Adina in L’elisir d’amore. A New England Regional Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Samantha earned her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and her MM from Manhattan School of Music. www.samanthabritt.com.


2nd PLACE:
JESSICA SATAVA
Baltimore MD
JESSICA SATAVA
“Soprano Jessica Satava lent great beauty and intensity of feeling to her performance.” (The Baltimore Sun, 2015) Ms. Satava has appeared as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, La Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro, Musetta in La bohème, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Inez in Il Trovatore, Voce dal Cielo in Don Carlo, Julie in Carousel, Laurey in Oklahoma!, and as Mimí and Micaëla in concert performances of La bohème and Carmen.  While at Peabody Conservatory, she performed the roles of Nella in Gianni Schicchi, and Polly in The Threepenny Opera. Ms. Satava was the soprano soloist in Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, Rutter’s Requiem, Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem, Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem, Schubert’s Mass in G, Bruckner’s Te Deum, Handel’s Messiah, Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Mozart’s Requiem and Bach’s St. John Passion and Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1. Please visit www.jessicasatava.com


3rd PLACE:
MANNA KNJOI
Stallings NC
MANNA KNJOI
Manna KnJoi embodies the quality and natural endowment to conquer a wide range of repertoire from Mozart to verismo to modern works for the concert and opera stage. Most recently, Ms. KnJoi made her international debut as Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte at the Tuscia Opera Festival in Viterbo, Italy and appeared at Lincoln Center in concert with Opera Ebony of New York. This season also brought her world premier performance in the role of Essie Robeson in Adolphus Hailstork’s new biopic opera Robeson: The Opera with Trilogy Opera Company at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  Previous season have seen Manna Knjoi in debuts as Pamina in The Magic Flute with the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with New York Lyric Opera at Carnegie Hall, Micaëla in Carmen at Lincoln Center, the title role in Suor Angelica and the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors with the California Opera. Manna KnJoi has received numerous award recognitions from: Paris Opera Awards, The Benjamin Mathews competition, and Opera Birmingham, the Elaine Malbin Vocal Competition, Mid-South District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Palm Springs Opera Guild, and the National Society of Arts and Letters. When Manna sang for Marilyn Horne, the legendary mezzo-soprano pronounced her voice, “An incredible instrument.”


FINALIST / HONORABLE MENTION:
KISMA JORDAN
Detroit MI
KISMA JORDAN
Recognized by The New York Times for her “shimmering soprano voice” and soul-stirring  communicative ability, Kisma has proven to be a vocal powerhouse of great versatility.  The Baltimore Sun praised excitedly, “Kisma Jordan steals the show, vocally…with her truly lovely soprano. She sounds wonderful in the house, the tone ripe and well-supported, the phrasing lively, the diction superb.  I can't prove any great powers of prognostication, but I sure do feel there's a good chance we could all be hearing more from this singer in time.”

The Detroit, Michigan native is a recipient of the 2014 Kresge Artist Fellowship.  For the 2015-16 season Kisma presented her fusion project Beyond Classical to Detroit Performs Live from Carr Center, then appeared with Annapolis Opera in Angels & Demons a concert showcasing the saints and sinners of the operatic repertoire.  She presented recitals of songs and arias as part of Music at St. Paul’s Flint Concert Series, then headlined with Black Women Rock 2016.



FINALIST / HONORABLE MENTION:
LINDSEY MCKEE
Tulsa OK
LINDSEY MCKEE
A graduate of the GuildHall School of Music in London, Lindsey has a diverse career,which includes Opera, Oratorio and Musical Theatre. She has performed all over the world,making her London debut singing the role of 'Mary' in Elgar's The Kingdom, and in recital at The Leighton House. She has been heard in recital in South Africa on the SABC.She has performed with orchestras and opera companies across the USA, including The St.Louis Symphony(Sheldon Series), The Saint Louis Philharmonic,The Asheville Symphony,and The Kansas City Symphony (Lacy Requiem World Premiere). Recent Engagements include Three Songs for Soprano, Oswaldo Golijov,and Henrick Gorecki's Third Symphony.


FINALIST / HONORABLE MENTION:
RACHELE SCHMIEGE
Jamaica Plain MA
RACHELE SCHMIEGE
RACHELE SCHMIEGE has been praised for her “incredibly crystalline voice” and “absolutely thrilling” portrayals. This season, she appears as Lucette in Cendrillon with Resonance Works and Soprano II in Hydrogen Jukebox with Nashville Opera. On the concert stage, Ms. Schmiege will be singing Soprano solos in Ein Deutsches Requiem, Brahms (Chatham Chorale) and Messa da Requiem, Verdi (Midcoast Symphony). Recent appearances include: Elle, La Voix Humaine and Amy, Little Women (Opera on the James); Violetta, La Traviata (Hubbard Hall Opera Theater); Gilda, Rigoletto (Cape Cod Opera Outreach); Valencienne, The Merry Widow (Opera Providence); Dortchen Wilde, The Brother’s Grimm (Nashville Opera, US premiere).  Recent concert appearances include: Soprano soloist, Requiem, Verdi (Cape Cod Symphony and Pioneer Valley Symphony); Mass in C minor, Mozart (Newburyport Chorale Society); Magnificat, Bach (Akron Symphony Chorus); Requiem and Exultate Jubilate, Mozart (Chatham Chorale); new work in collaboration with composer Mohammad Fairouz.  For more information, visit: www.racheleschmiege.com


The American Prize in Vocal Performance (women in opera and operetta), 2016
The Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
(college/university division)

The American Prize winner:
NATALIE LOGAN
Dallas TX
NATALIE LOGAN
Natalie Logan, soprano, is a native of Dallas, Texas. Her full operatic roles include Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro,  Contoller in Flight, Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress, Clorinda in La cenerentola, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Flora in The Turn of the Screw. She has performed with The Dallas Opera, The Boston Conservatory, Louisiana State University, Opera in the Ozarks, Chicago Summer Opera, Opéra Louisiane, First United Methodist Church in Cedar Hill, Texas, and St. Josheph’s Cathedral in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Ms. Logan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Louisiana State University (May 2014) under the tutelage of Robert Grayson and earned her Master of Music degree in Voice Performance at The Boston Conservatory (May 2016) under the tutelage of Patty Thom.


2nd PLACE (there was a tie):
BEIBEI GUAN
Fresh Meadow NY
BEIBEI GUAN
Praised for her "Intense focus, riveting delivery, beautiful singing" by New York Times, Chinese soprano Beibei Guan recently won Marcello Giordani Foundation 5th International Vocal Competition, Orpheus National Vocal Competition, New York Lyric Opera Theatre National Vocal competition. Ms. Guan has most recently performed the role of La Donna in Rinaldo; Countess in Le nozze di; Nancy in Albert; Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi; the cover role of Liù in Turandot; Pamina in Die Zauberflöte; Mimì in La Bohème. Ms Guan sang in the U.S. Premier of "Sonic Blossom" by the renowned artist, Lee Mingwei, in Museum of Fine Arts Boston. In fall, 2015, Ms. Guan was invited again to sing in Metropolitan Museum of Arts, NYC for "Sonic Blossom New York Premier", which later received the award of "The Best Classical Event of 2015" by New York Times. Ms. Guan completed her Master of Music and Graduate Performance Diploma in Vocal performance from The Boston Conservatory, under the tutelage of Kathryn Wright.


2nd PLACE (there was a tie):
ELIZABETH MORAN
New York NY
ELIZABETH MORAN
Elizabeth Moran most recently performed as Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. She also recently sung the roles of Suor Genovieffa and Morgana with New York Lyric Opera. Ms. Moran has performed Juliette with the Martina Arroyo Foundation. She sang Queen of the Night and Polissena (cover) with Manhattan Opera Studio and was a young artist with La Lingua Della Lirica, performing in scenes as Angelica in Orlando, Norina in Don Pasquale, Cunegonde in Candide and Lisette in La Rondine. As a studio artist with Anchorage Opera, Ms. Moran performed in Eugene Onegin, Pagliacci, Suor Angelica and Don Carlos, and she was featured in solo recitals throughout Alaska. Other roles include Laetitia, Zerlina, Rosina, and Adina. Ms. Moran is a frequent soloist with the Baldwin Festival Chorus and the Central Jersey Symphony Orchestra. She currently resides in New York City. www.elizabeth-moran.com
 

3rd PLACE:
ALYSSA BRODE
Los Angeles CA
ALYSSA BRODE
Alyssa Brode is a Philadelphia-born, Los Angeles-based soprano whose performance experience and training span both coasts. Her opera credits include La Fée (Massenet's Cendrillon), Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Amor (Orfeo ed Euridice) and First Lady (Die Zauberflöte). Alyssa holds a Master of Music in voice performance from California State University, Northridge and a Bachelor of Music from Westminster Choir College where, as a member of the renowned Westminster Symphonic Choir, she had the privilege of performing symphonic masterworks with some of the world's most prominent conductors (Pierre Boulez, Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel) and orchestras (New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin). Alyssa is a recipient of the Robert Barbera Scholarship in Voice, the Village Voices Scholarship and the Rachel Ketchie Memorial Award as well as being a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda music honor society. Visit alyssabrode.com for more information.


FINALIST / HONORABLE MENTION:
KSENIA BERESTOVSKAYA
Boston MA
KSENIA BERESTOVSKAYA
Growing up in her native Omsk, Russia, mezzo-soprano Ksenia Berestovskaya remembers a childhood punctuated by her family’s deep respect of science and poetry. After exploring jazz and popular music with working bands, she tried performing Tchaikovsky’s “Polina’s” aria and a love of opera began. Soon after, she left to pursue her musical dreams in the United States. The recipient of several merit-based scholarships, including the Sylvia C. Segal Voice Scholarship, Ksenia completed her Bachelor’s in Vocal Music at the University of Tennessee and her Master’s in Music at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA Ksenia has performed in Russia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and across the United States. Her most recent opera roles include Prince Orlofsky in Die Fliedermaus and Principessa in Suor Angelica with New England Conservatory’s Opera Theatre.


FINALIST / HONORABLE MENTION:
SAMANTHA SCHMID
Boston MA
SAMANTHA SCHMID
Samantha Schmid, lyric soprano—dedicates herself to exploring culture and communication. This season, Schmid makes her debut with Juventas New Music Ensemble as Constance in the premiere of Leo Hurley’s The Body Politic. She also appears as Donna Elvira with Opera in the Ozarks. A champion of contemporary and Slavic music, Schmid has recently performed with Russian Opera Workshop, Lowell House Opera, and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. Previous engagements include Tina (Flight), Iolanta (Iolanta), Liza (The Queen of Spades), Iphigénie (Iphigénie en Tauride), The Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen), and Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte). Recognition for her artistry includes inauguration into the Pi Kappa Lambda national music honor society and multiple awards from NATS. A student of Dr. Kerry Deal, Schmid recently received her Professional Studies Certificate and M.M. in vocal performance from The Boston Conservatory. She also holds a B.A. from Webster University. For more information, visit www.samanthaschmid.com.


The American Prize in Vocal Performance (women in opera and operetta), 2016
The Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
(high school division)

The American Prize winner:
ALEXANDRA TAYLOR
Naples FL
ALEXANDRA TAYLOR
Alexandra Taylor,soprano, is from Naples, Florida. She is a 18 year old high school senior at Barron Collier High School and is a member of the school choir.   She has taken private voice lessons since the age of 15. She has been involved with Opera Naples in the children’s and adult choirs since she was 12 years old.  The productions that she has participated in with Opera Naples are as follows:  Carmen, A Mid-Summer’s Night Dream, La Boheme, Pirates of Penzance, Il Pagliacci, Rudigore, Patience and Tosca. She has performed as a soloist in many of the Opera Naples concerts. In 2015, she was a winner of the Naples Music Club Vocal Competition.  In February 2016, she was a 1st place winner of the Tampa Bay Chapter NATS Vocal Auditions in the Upper High School Category for Classical Music.


2nd PLACE:
CAITLIN CHISHAM
Holts Summit MO
CAITLIN CHISHAM
Caitlin Chisham is 14 years old and a 8th Grader at Fatima Junior High. Last spring, she won 3rd Place in the Hal Leonard National Art Song Competition Ages 12 and Under Category.  She has performed with the American Choral Directors’ Association National Boychoir and Community Youth Honor Choir in Dallas, TX as well as the Missouri Choral Directors’ Association State 4-6 Grade Honor Choir in Jefferson City, MO. She has also sung in the Southwestern American Choral Directors’ Regional 4-6 Grade Honor Choir in Little Rock, AR as well as in Kansas City, MO. Most recently, Caitlin was a guest soloist with the Columbia College Choir's rendition Dan Forrest's "Requiem"  under the direction of Nollie Moore.  Caitlin sang the lead role of Amahl in Gian Carlos Menotti’s opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” in December of 2014 with the Show Me Opera and Columbia Civic Orchestra under the direction of Christine Seitz and Dr. Julian Freund. Caitlin was also a featured singer in the Missouri Symphony’s “Symphony of Toys” concert in December of 2013 under the direction of Maestro Kirk Trevor. Caitlin is a member of the Missouri Symphony Society Children's Chorus and Junior Sinfonia.  Caitlin is a voice student of Dr. Michael Straw of Columbia, an oboe student of Dr. Allison Robuck of Columbia  and piano student of Gretchen Huedepohl of Jefferson City. Caitlin Chisham recently won 1st Place with the New York Lyric Opera Junior Division Vocal Competition.


3rd PLACE:
LILITH SARKAR
Los Altos CA
LILITH SARKAR
Lilith Sarkar is a senior at Homestead High School in Cupertino, CA. Most recently, she received the Leon Winters Scholarship Award. She participated in the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival as a young artist, where she performed in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and in the Festival’s Liederabend recital. In 2015, Lilith received honorable mention for the Martha Marcks Mack Vocal Award, was the Western Regional winner of the Joyce Walsh Vocal Award, and was a semi-finalist in the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition. She is active in her community, performing concerts at senior centers and giving voice lessons to young children. Lilith plans to attend conservatory and pursue a career in opera. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the Oberlin in Italy summer program in 2016! Lilith studies with Iris Fraser (Palo Alto, CA) and coaches with Russell Norman (Palo Alto, CA) and Robert Ashens (Eugene, OR).


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Congratulations!

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