Saturday, March 31, 2012

CHICAGO OPERA AWARD winners announced

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winners of the CHICAGO OPERA AWARD for 2012.

From a field of very strong contenders, Maestro David Katz has selected three vocalists to solo with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at their spring opera/operetta favorites concert on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at 7:30 pm at St James Epsicopal Cathedral, north of the Loop. Each will receive a $500 fee for their performance. For tickets, follow this link.

The winners are:
CHRISTINE STEYER, soprano, who will sing arias by Puccini and Lehar.
WILLIAM BENNETT, tenor, who will sing solos by Donizetti and Romberg.
ANDREW BAWDEN, bartione, who will perform arias from Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro.

All three soloists will join chorus and orchestra in selections from Copland's opera, The Tender Land.

Winners of the CHICAGO OPERA AWARD were chosen separately from all other judging for The American Prize in Voice—Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Awards. The selection of Chicago Opera Award winners has no bearing on final results in the other competitions. Finalists in the opera and art song divisions of The American Prize contests will be announced later. Please "friend" the competition's Facebook page to learn exactly when those announcements will be made.


Steyer was the 2011 winner of The American Prize in Art Song, the Mercer Award and was a Bronze Medal winner at American Traditions Competition.  She has performed with opera houses including Lyric Opera of Chicago and has received critical acclaim for Violetta, Butterfly and the Marschallin.  Recently, Christine gave recitals with Philip Morehead.  She can be heard on Caroline Myss' Voices of the Sacred.  Ms. Steyer has performed for 15,000 schoolchildren with Bellissima Opera Outreach, an organization she founded.

For his 2011 debut with Light Opera Works in the demanding title role of the Student Prince, the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones praised “the gorgeously voiced young tenor William Bennett.” William Bennett has also performed solo operatic roles with Chicago Symphony Kraft Series, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Opera in the Neighborhoods program, Chicago Opera Theater Young Artist Program, Ash Lawn Opera, Sugar Creek Symphony & Song, Cedar Rapids Opera, Elgin Opera and DuPage Opera Theater.

Originally from Springfield, Illinois, and now living in Virginia, Andrew Bawden, a doctoral student studying with Professor Kevin McMillan, is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Urbana Center for Alexander Technique, and the Eastman School of Music. In 2007, he was the first place winner and audience favorite winner of the Rochester Classical Idol Competition. Recent credits include roles with Opera Vivente, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Hubbard Hall Opera Theater and Tri-Cities Opera.

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