Congratulations to soprano Janai Brugger, a member of the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program, who was a winner at the 2012 National Council Auditions held Sunday, March 18 at the Metropolitan Opera. A second-year artist in the program, she will sing Musetta for three performances (May 12, 20, 23) of LA Opera’s upcoming production of La Boheme. On May 12, the Auditions Final Concert will be broadcast via Classical KUSC 91.5fm.
Janai is one of only five winners at this yearâ€™s highly competitive National Council Auditions final. Other winners include Anthony Clark Evans, a baritone from Owensboro, KY; Matthew Grills, a tenor from Newtown, CT; Margaret Mezzacappa, a mezzo-soprano from Euclid, OH; and Andrey Nemzer, a countertenor from Moscow, Russia. The winners were selected from nine finalists who performed arias with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Davis. Each winner receives a cash prize of $15,000 as well as invaluable career exposure: the audience for the auditions includes influential opera executives, artist managers and music critics.
Nearly 1,500 singers between the ages of 20 and 30 participated in this yearâ€™s auditions, which are held annually in 41 districts and 14 regions throughout the United States and Canada and are sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council. Given the reach of the auditions, the number of applicants, and the long tradition associated with them, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are considered the most prestigious competition in North America for singers seeking to launch an operatic career.
Some of the biggest stars in opera received their first major recognition as National Council winners. Past winners of the Met Auditions include RenÃ©e Fleming, Hei-Kyung Hong, Angela Meade, Sondra Radvanovsky, Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Stephanie Blythe, Dolora Zajick, Alek Shrader, Nathan Gunn, Lawrence Brownlee, Eric Owens, Thomas Hampson and Samuel Ramey. In 2007, the National Council Audition process was captured in an acclaimed documentary, The Audition, which was shown on PBS and released on DVD.