Monday, July 8, 2013

Announcing VOCAL WINNERS, runners-up: opera: women, 2013

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up of The American Prize in Voice—Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award: Opera Division (women), 2013. 

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog.  

Please make us aware of any misprints:

(We are currently awaiting an acceptance in the professional category.) 

The American Prize in Voice—Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award: Opera Division (women), 2013, PROFESSIONAL:  

The American Prize winner:
Suzanne Vinnik   (New York, NY)
Suzanne Vinnik
During the 2012-2013 season this exciting 26-year-old soprano makes her highly anticipated debut with Florida Grand Opera in La traviata as Violetta Valéry under the baton of Maestro Ramon Tebar. She opened the season with a performance in Washington D.C. for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's (CHCI) 35th Awards, where she followed US Vice President Joe Biden. Upcoming engagements include a concert with legendary tenor Marcello Giordani with Vero Beach Opera, concerts with the Marcello Giordani Foundation at Merkin Concert Hall and Opera America and Mahler's Symphony No. 4 with Rouge Valley Symphony. Various highlights include Micaela in Carmen with Lyric Opera Virginia, Musetta in La boheme with Lorin Maazel's Castleton Festival, Nevada Opera Theatre, and Opera North, Leila in Les pêcheurs de perles and Gretel in Hansel und Gretel, both with Pittsburgh Opera. She is the recipient of numerous awards most notably from Georg Solti Foundation, The American Prize, Sullivan Foundation, Gerda Lissner, Opera Index, George London, Palm Beach Opera, Queen Sonja International Music Competition among others. Please visit for more information on this artist.

Among judges' comments: "...a rich voice of incredible clarity and beauty…..perfect for the repertoire submitted."

2nd Place: 
Josefien Stoppelenburg   (Evanston, IL)

Josefien Stoppelenb
Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano, performs frequently as soloist in the United States, the Netherlands, and Germany. In Chicago she has performed with Baroque Band, the Apollo Chorus, the Newberry Consort, Handel Week Festival, Fulcrum Point, Ars Musica, Music of the Baroque and the Chicago Bar Association Symphony. From 2005 until 2007 Josefien was part of the Young Opera Ensemble of Cologne. Her operatic roles include Serpina (La Serva Padrona), Amor (Orfeo ed Euridice) and Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), and Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine. She sang Aci in the Haymarket Opera Company’s acclaimed premiere of Handel’s Aci, Galatea e Polifemo and Tirsi in Clori, Tirsi e Fileno. Recent engagements include Bach/Pergolesi Stabat Mater (with Camerata Amsterdam), Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Stabat Mater, Handel's La Resurrezione and Dixit Dominus (Baroque Band), Faure Requiem with Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, and the world premiere of Jacob TV’s The News, a multi-media reality opera, in Pittsburgh. Josefien won The American Prize Chicago Oratorio Award earlier this season. See also

Among judges' comments: "You are vocally superb in this genre.  Both the Latin and the German are clear and accurate. Beautiful performances!"  

3rd Place:
Arietha Lockhart   (Decatur GA)
Arietha Lockhart
Arietha Lockhart was the voice of the White Butterfly during the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. A favorite soloist of conductor Robert Shaw, she frequently performs works by contemporary American composers as well as music of international masters in recitals and concerts. Recent performances include works by Handel, Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. Her roles include Zerbinetta (Ariadne), Queen of the Night (Magic Flute) Mama King in the contemporary opera (I Dream) about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by composer Douglas Tappin. Her prizes and honors include: an Aspen Music Festival fellowship, 2nd place in the first Competition sponsored by Classical Singer Magazine, The National Opera Association Competition’s Legacy Award, 2nd place in The Center for Contemporary Opera International, the Friedrich Shorr Memorial Prize in Voice, Super Finalist in American Opera Idol Competition, 3rd place in the Oratorio Society of New York competition, and winner of the Meistersinger Competition in Graz, Austria.  Website:

Among judges' comments: "Lovely, light coloratura. Good sense of variety of styles in submitted selections..."

The American Prize in Voice—Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award: Opera Division (women), 2013, COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY:

The American Prize winner:
Lilla Heinrich Szász   (Princeton, NJ)
Lilla Heinrich Szász

24 year old soprano Lilla Heinrich Szász has won critical acclaim for her “appealing sound, agile coloratura and oversize wit” (The New York Times) and
has performed to great acclaim in both operatic and concert repertoire across the U.S and Europe. She is a masters student at Juilliard, where she received her Bachelors and is a recent winner of the Juilliard Honors Recital.  Operatic highlights include Lucinde (MET + Juilliard collaboration of Gluck's Armide), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), Helena (Midsummer Night's Dream), Laetitia (Old Maid and the Thief), Geraldine (Hand of Bridge) and has fully covered the roles of Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Zhou (Kommilitonen! U.S. premier) and Drusilla (L'incoronazione di Poppea). She has also worked with renowned artists Richard Bonynge, Alan Gilbert, William Christie, Ken Noda, Graham Johnson, Warren Jones and performed in Marilyn Horne's Foundation Festival at Carnegie Hall.

Among judges' comments: "The instrument is round and supple, overall, with a wonderful attention to musicality."  

2nd Place:
Vanessa Naghdi    (Manassas, VA) 
Vanessa Naghdi

Lyric coloratura soprano Vanessa Naghdi received her Bachelor of Music degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her opera and musical theater credits include Amelia Goes to the Ball (Amelia), Hansel and Gretel (Dew Fairy), Suor Angelica (Lay Sister), Die Fledermaus, and most recently, Camelot with Virginia Opera. Vanessa has also performed opera in Europe, including in Die Jungfrau von Orléans (Solo Angel) and Suor Angelica (Genevieffa) with the Mittelsächsisches Theater, and in recital, including in “An Evening of Mörike Lieder.”  She has performed with the Crittenden Opera Studio and Buck Hill-Skytop Music Festival. In 2011, Ms. Naghdi was awarded both the Summer Studies Grant and Friends of Opera Scholarship from VCU’s Department of Music and was the First Place winner in the VA NATS Competition. She is a current student of Elizabeth K. Vrenios and will be attending graduate school for voice in the fall of 2013.

Among judges' comments: "...a lovely voice with plenty of color and a control that communicates skillful expression."

3rd Place:
Diana Yodzis    (Matthews, NC)
Diana Yodzis

Diana Yodzis, mezzo-soprano, is an active performer in Opera, musical theater and concert works. Roles include Hansel, Hansel and Gretel, Mother, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Laurie, Oklahoma!, Announcer, Gallantry, and more.  A senior at UNCG, Ms. Yodzis will be starting graduate studies in the fall after spending her summer at Warren Jones and Marilyn Horne's prestigious young artist program at The Music Academy of the West, where she will sing the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte.  Diana is a frequent award winner in competitions including National MTNA (Finalist, 2013), NC Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Encouragement Award, 2013), NCNATS (1st place, 2009-2013) and others.  Ms. Yodzis is an Alyse Smith Cooper Music Scholarship recipient at UNCG under the tutelage of Dr. Nancy Walker.

Among judges' comments: "a rich, round instrument that is consistently powerful and luxurious throughout the voice."

The American Prize in Voice—Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award: Opera Division (women), 2013, HIGH SCHOOL: 

The American Prize winner:
Emily Pogorelc   (Whitefish Bay, WI)
Emily Pogorelc
Emily Pogorelc is 16 years old and a junior at Whitefish Bay High School in Wisconsin. She has been studying voice since the age of 9 and currently studies with Julia Faulkner. In the past year, she was awarded first place at the Classical Singer Magazine Competition, Music Teachers National Association Competition, the Schmidt Competition and the Walgreen's National Concerto Competition as well as winning first place at Wisconsin NATS. This year, Emily won a place in the Florentine Opera High School Master Class Competition. Emily has performed with the Florentine Opera, Skylight Opera and Opera a la Carte and attended Walnut Hill's summer intensive program in 2012.

Among judges' comments: "...brings power and flexibility to her performance while maintaining a sense of delicacy to softer selections."

2nd Place:
Hayley Boggs    (Oakland, MI)
Hayley Boggs
Hayley has been receiving vocal instruction for six years and is currently studying under Martha Sheil at the University of Michigan. She has been involved in over twenty community theatre productions, but her passion is opera. She won first place in the Hal Leonard Art Song competition and placed third in their Musical Theatre Division. She made it to semifinals in the Classical Singer Competition. Also, she was a vocal soloist at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival in 2012.

Among judges' comments: "a round, ringing quality.  She shows much promise...and dramatically interprets her selections with conviction and energy."

3rd Place:
Emily Perry    (Powell, OH)
Emily Perry

Emily Perry, 16, is a sophomore at Olentangy Liberty High School and a member of several of its choirs.  Additionally, Emily is a member of the Columbus International Children's Choir and a private student of Yvonne Shapiro-Mazo.  When not pursuing her love for singing, Emily enjoys working with autistic children, reading, spending time with her family and friends, working on mission trips, and writing.  Emily resides in Powell, Ohio with her mother, father, and brother.

Among judges' comments: "a strong upper range with good support...gesture is effective when used in the context of the aria's message..." 

Congratulations to winners and runners-up.

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