Nine Young Opera Singers Advance to the Final Round of
America’s Most Prestigious Vocal Competition,
the Met’s National Council Auditions
New York, NY – Following yesterday’s highly competitive semi-final competition, nine young singers will advance to the final phase of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2016 National Council Auditions, America’s most prestigious vocal competition. The selected finalists, chosen by a panel of experts from the classical music industry, will compete on the Met stage on Sunday, March 13 at 3 p.m. The winners will receive individual cash prizes of $15,000 and the prestigious—and potentially career-launching—title of National Council Auditions Winner. The Grand Finals Concert will feature Antony Walker conducting the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as each finalist performs two arias.
The 2016 finalists, the regions they represent in the competition, and their hometowns are: Yelena Dyachek, 24, soprano, (Western Region: Sacramento, CA); Lauren Feider, 23, soprano, (Southeast Region: New Holstein, WI); Emily D’Angelo, 21, mezzo-soprano, (Great Lakes Region: Toronto, Canada); Jakub Józef Orliński, 25, countertenor (New England Region: Warsaw, Poland, currently living in New York, NY); tenor Jonas Hacker, 27 (Middle Atlantic Region: Lake Delton, WI); Theo Hoffman, 22, baritone (Eastern Region: New York, NY); Sol Jin, 30, baritone (Eastern Region: South Korea, currently living in Fort Lee, NJ); Sean Michael Plumb, 24, baritone (Gulf Coast Region: Philadelphia, PA); and Brian Vu, 26, baritone (Southeast Region: Los Angeles, CA) round out the list of contestants competing on Sunday.
The concert will be hosted by Deborah Voigt, a former National Council winner. Past National Council Auditions winner and bass-baritone Eric Owens will be the guest artist and perform during the judges’ deliberations once the auditions part of the program is complete. Tickets for the Grand Finals Concert may be purchased at the Met Box Office, by phone at 212-362-6000, or online at metopera.org.
The Met Auditions, currently in their 63rd year, are a major stepping stone to a career as an opera singer. Over 100 singers on the Met roster this season have participated in the Auditions, which were crucial in introducing many of today’s best-known stars, such as Lawrence Brownlee, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Sondra Radvanovsky, and Frederica von Stade. In 2007, the National Council Audition process was captured in an acclaimed documentary, The Audition, which was released on DVD and aired on PBS.
The finalists were chosen from nearly 1,500 singers who participated in auditions held in 42 districts and 13 regions throughout the United States and Canada, sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council and administered by National Council members and hundreds of volunteers from across the country. Given the reach of the auditions, the number of applicants, and the program’s long tradition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are considered the most prestigious in North America for singers seeking to launch an operatic career. This year’s Grand Finals concert will be dedicated to the memory of James S. Marcus, who was a distinguished member of the Met’s Board of Directors for more than four decades and passed away in 2015.
Full Bios – 2016 National Council Finalists
EMILY D’ANGELO (Mezzo-Soprano)
The winner of both First Prize and the Audience Choice Award at the 2015 annual Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Competition, Italian-Canadian mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo will join the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio for their 2016/2017 season. In recital Emily has presented in venues including the COC Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre (2016), the Toronto Arts & Letters Club (2015), and WFMT Classical Radio Station, Chicago (2015). She made her solo debut with the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014. Emily will make her European debut in 2016 at the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi under the baton of Maestro James Conlon. Roles with the COC will include Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte, and covering the title role in Handel’s Ariodante. Previous credits include Sesto in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Annio in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, and Berta in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Emily won First Prize at the 2016 American National Opera Association’s Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition, and was awarded Second Prize at the 2015 OREL Foundation Ziering-Conlon Competition in Los Angeles. She has received Encouragement Awards as a Finalist in both the George London Foundation Competition (2016) and the Gerda Lissner/Liederkranz Foundation Competition (2015). Emily was a fellow at the Ravinia Steans Institute in Chicago in 2015, and will return as a fellow for their 2016 season. In 2016 she was invited by the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall to participate in “The Song Continues” workshop with Marilyn Horne. An avid recitalist, Emily has presented several recitals in the 2015/2016 season with repertoire ranging from Frauenliebe und –leben to Poèmes pour Mi.
Emily is currently completing her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Toronto, studying under soprano Elizabeth McDonald, and is a student of New York City voice teacher Patricia McCaffrey.
YELENA DYACHEK (Soprano)
Yelena Dyachek, Ukrainian-American soprano is a student at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where she received her MM degree and is currently completing a Graduate Certificate under the tutelage of Elizabeth Hynes. At USC she has performed Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito, the title role in Iphigénie en Tauride, and Madama Cortese in Il viaggio a Reims. With the Aspen Opera Theater Center, she performed Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and Tatyana in Eugene Onegin. While an undergraduate student at University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music, Dyachek appeared in a National Opera Association Award–winning production of The Merry Wives of Windsor as Mrs. Ford, Pamina in The Magic Flute, and Mrs. Peachum in The Threepenny Opera. In February, Dyachek won the Ana María Martínez Encouragement Award at the Eleanor McCollum Competition in Houston, Texas. She has also received prizes in the National Mondavi Young Artist’s Competition, Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition, and the Pacific Musical Society Competition. Upcoming roles include the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos at USC and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte at the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco.
LAUREN FEIDER (Soprano)
Lauren Feider, soprano, is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in vocal performance at Florida State University, where she is a student of Shirley Close. She recently performed with the Florida State University Symphony Orchestra conducted by Douglas Fisher and Alexander Jiménez, singing scenes from Der Rosenkavalier (Marschallin) and Faust (Marguerite). She will perform the role of Ottavia in L’incoronazione di Poppea with the Florida State Opera in March, and the soprano solos in Brahms’s Deutsches Requiem with the Florida State Chamber Choir and Elgar’s Une voix dans le désert with the Florida State University Symphony Orchestra in April. Ms. Feider is a graduate assistant at Florida State, and is the recipient of the Edith S. Joel scholarship in opera. In February 2016, she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Southeast Regional competition in Atlanta.
Previous to her graduate studies, Ms. Feider earned Bachelor’s degrees in vocal performance and music education from the University of Minnesota, where she performed the role of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She also appeared as Angelo Custode in Emilio de’ Cavalieri’s La Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo with the Gregorian Singers Baroque Opera in Minneapolis.
This summer, Ms. Feider will sing with the Aspen Opera Center at the Aspen Music Festival and School. She previously attended the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, where she received the Career Encouragement Award, and the Summer Music Academy in Siena, Italy where she studied with Michael Chance and Lynne Dawson.
JONAS HACKER (Tenor)
Past: Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Annapolis Opera; Prunier in La rondine, Oberlin in Italy; tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah (Part 1), The Philadelphia Orchestra; Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress, University of Michigan; Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Seagle Music Colony; Tamino in The Magic Flute, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire; B.M., University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire; M.M., University of Michigan. Future: Continues at Academy of Vocal Arts.
THEO HOFFMAN (Baritone)
Praised by the New York Times for his “concentrated and rich” baritone, Theo Hoffman spent summer 2015 at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in the company’s prestigious Mozart Residency. This season he made his debut with Atlanta Opera as Schaunard in La Bohème and returns to The Juilliard School for his Master of Music degree under the mentorship of Sanford Sylvan. There he sings his first performances of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Le Directeur in Les Mamelles de Tiresias, and covers the title role in Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis. Additionally, he will join Arizona Musicfest as the baritone soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana and will join the renowned Marlboro Music Festival for their 2016 season. Last season, Mr. Hoffman joined the Cecilia Chorus of New York for Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, marking his Carnegie Hall debut and sang Carmina Burana as a guest artist at Vassar College. Additionally, he debuted with the Portland Symphony Orchestra as Jailer, First Officer, and Second Commissioner in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites.
Mr. Hoffman completed his Bachelor of Music degree at The Juilliard School, where he was the winner of the 2015 Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital and was presented in recital at Alice Tully Hall. Additionally at Juilliard, he performed Bob in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief, the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Lunardo in Le Donne Curiose, and covered Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia. He made his professional debut with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Thierry in Dialogues des Carmélites, where he has also covered Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Tomeš in Smetana’s The Kiss, and Major-General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance while a Gerdine Young Artist. He will return to St. Louis in 2017 to sing the leading role in an American premier.
A fast-rising recitalist, Mr. Hoffman made his debut with the New York Festival of Song in 2013 in its Ports of Call program at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts and later performed at Carnegie Hall with the organization in its 2014 spring gala commemorating Leonard Bernstein. Since then, he has joined NYFOS for their After Hours and NYFOS Next series, as well as Craigslistlieder and Other Love Songs, and Great American Songwriting Teams at Juilliard. Also in 2014, he made his Alice Tully Hall debut in Juilliard Songfest, at which he performed Britten’s Songs and Proverbs of William Blake with Brian Zeger. Honored as a SongFest Stern Fellow, his performances included joining Martin Katz for Ravel’s Don Quichotte a Dulcinée and a recital curated by John Musto that included the composer’s The Brief Light at The Colburn School in Los Angeles. His other recital and chamber music credits include Barber’s Dover Beach with Juilliard ChamberFest as well as performances on Juilliard’s Songbook series, for Schubert & Co, as well as performances at the Chautauqua Institution and the Eastman School of Music. Mr. Hoffman is a 2015 third prize-winner in the Gerda Lissner Foundation’s International Vocal Competition, the International Crescendo Music Awards 2014 Silver Medalist, and the recipient of a Richard Gaddes Career Grant from the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. He proudly represents his home city of New York as a 2016 Eastern Region winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
SOL JIN (Baritone)
Recently selected by Opera News as one their “25 Rising Stars”, Korean baritone Sol Jin was last seen performing last spring as Germont in La Traviata at Carnegie Hall. He reprised the role with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, from which he recently graduated. He has been praised for his “an incisive performance, evenly and beautifully sung” (Opera News) and “resonant, powerfully projected voice” (SFCV). In 2014 he made his Opera Debut singing with Long Island Opera Company as a Germont in La Traviata. In addition to Germont, Mr. Jin has also appeared with the Merola Opera Program as Rodrigo in Don Carlo, Gianni Schicchi, and Prince Yeletsky in Pique Dame, and also the title role of Macbeth with Manhattan School of Music. Other credits this season include Il Conte in Le Nozze di Figaro with Long Island Opera Company. Mr. Jin received his master’s degree from The Manhattan School of Music and his Bachelor’s degree from Yonsei University. He received 1st prize in The Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, 4th prize in The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation’s Annual International Vocal Competition, Emerging Artist Awards for Opera Index Competition, 2nd Prize in XIV ALTAMURA/CARUSO International Voice Competition, as well as the Hugh Ross Annual Singer award from MSM. Mr. Jin was recently selected to advance to the national level of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions after winning the Eastern Region. He will be joining Houston Grand Opera as Studio Artist coming 2016-2017 season.
JAKUB JÓZEF ORLIŃSKI (Countertenor)
Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński, winner of the 2015 Marcella Sembrich International Vocal Competition, is quickly gaining a reputation as a singer of striking vocal beauty and daring stage craft. While working toward his Master’s degree in vocal performance at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, he participated in the prestigious young artist programs at both Teatr Wielki and Opera Narodowa. Since fall, 2015, he has been working toward his Graduate Diploma at The Juilliard School, studying with Edith Wiens. While in Poland, Mr. Orliński performed the roles of Cupid in Venus & Adonis by Blow and Narciso in Agrippina by Handel. While in Germany, he performed the role of Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina in Aachen and Cottbus, performed select Purcell songs with ballet at the Leipzig Opera House, Philippus in Telemann’s Der Misslungene Braut-Wechsel oder Richardus I, (based on Handel’s Riccardo Primo, Re d’Inghilterra) in Gießen.
Jakub Orliński has triumphed in several vocal competitions: the 1st and 2nd annual International Early Music Vocal Competitions in Poland, where he received “Special Mention” and “Special Prize,” respectively, first prize at Rudolf Petrák’s Singing Competition in Slovakia, 3rd place at the Debut Competition in Igersheim, Germany, Special Mention at the 8th Annual Mazovian Golden Voices Competition in Poland, and 3rd place at Le Grand Prix de l’Opera in Bucharest, Romania.
In his spare time, Mr. Orliński enjoys breakdancing, in addition to other styles of dance. His achievements in this arena include prizes in many dance competitions: 4th place at the Red Bull BC One Poland Cypher competition, 2nd place on the Stylish Strike – Top Rock Contest and 2nd place at The Style Control competition, to name a few. He has also been featured in a video, filmed in Bangkok for the street wear company CROPP, as well as featured as a dancer, model and acrobat in campaigns for Levi’s, Nike, Turbokolor, Samsung, Mercedes-Benz, MAC Cosmetics, Danon and Algida.
SEAN MICHAEL PLUMB (Baritone)
Hailed for his “full, exciting lyric baritone” (Opera News), 24-year-old Sean Michael Plumb studies at the Curtis Institute of Music under the tutelage of renowned instructors Mikael Eliasen and William Stone.
Following a return to the Glimmerglass Festival with main stage performances of Papageno in The Magic Flute and Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, a highlight of the 2015-16 season includes the baritone’s company debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper in the world premiere of South Pole, by composer Miroslav Srnka and librettist Tom Holloway, conducted by General Music Director Kirill Petrenko and directed by Hans Neuenfels. Other performances of the season include productions of La bohème at Curtis Opera Theater, as Marcello, and at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, as Schaunard, as well as Rorem’s dramatic and hauntingly beautiful Aftermath with pianist Mikael Eliasen and the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble. Sean Michael Plumb’s operatic credits feature Belcore (L’elisir d’amore), Dandini (La cenerentola), Robert (Iolanta), Gianni Schicchi, and Ein Musikleher (Ariadne auf Naxos), Kaiser Overall (Der Kaiser von Atlantis), Prince Yamadori (Madama Butterfly), Apollo (Apollo e Dafne), Fiorello (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Wagner (Faust), and Thierry (Dialogues of the Carmelites).
He has been a young artist at The Glimmerglass Festival, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and the Aspen Music Festival and he recently made his national television debut in the HBO documentary “Renee Fleming: a YoungArts MasterClass.” Mr. Plumb performed as the youngest soloist at the Grammy Week Salute to Plácido Domingo in 2010 and was honored by President Obama as a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts at a ceremony at The White House. The baritone’s numerous awards include the 2015 Sullivan Foundation Award from The Sullivan Foundation, Top Prize at the 2015 Opera Index Competition, a 2015 Sara Tucker Grant from The Richard Tucker Foundation, First Prize at the 2015 Gerda Lissner Liederkranz Competition, the 2015 Theodor Uppman Prize from the George London Foundation, and Third Prize at the 2015 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition. He has been featured on NPR’s radio program, “From the Top” and has appeared on HBO and WHYY.
BRIAN VU (Baritone)
Described as “debonair” by the Washington Post, baritone Brian Vu is an up-and-coming opera singer from Los Angeles. A first-year 2015-16 Resident Artist with the Pittsburgh Opera, Vu is slated to perform as John Brooke/Little Women, Leo Stein/27, Fiorello and Figaro (student matinee)/Il Barbiere di Siviglia this season. Brian has performed Jazz Trio Baritone/Trouble in Tahiti at the Glimmerglass Festival and Moralès/Carmen at the Music Academy of the West. He returns to Glimmerglass this summer to sing Schaunard/La Bohème and cover Anthony Hope/Sweeney Todd. A graduate of the Yale Opera Studio, roles at Yale include Count Almaviva/Le Nozze di Figaro, Dapertutto/Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Dandini/La Cenerentola, Marcello/La Nohème and Duke Robert/Iolanta. Previously with OperaUCLA, Brian performed Ottone/L’incoronazione di Poppea, Mercury/Orpheus in the Underworld, Narciso/Agrippina, and Minskman/Flight.
Brian made his Carnegie Hall debut singing Mitch Leigh’s “Impossible Dream” with the composer in attendance. Brian made a return to Carnegie Hall in December 2014 performing songs from the Frederich R. Koch Collection of Yale’s Beinecke Library. He has sung scenes from The Merry Widow with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and as the baritone soloist with the Yale Glee Club and Yale Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem.
A 2015-16 Sullivan Foundation Award Winner, Brian is the First Place Southeast Region Winner and a 2016 National Semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He has received additional awards from the George London Foundation, Kurt Weill Foundation, and Opera Buffs of Los Angeles. Brian is a graduate of the Yale School of Music and University of California, Los Angeles. He has participated as a Young Artist at the Glimmerglass Festival, Vocal Fellow in Marilyn Horne’s Music Academy of the West and is a former member of the Wolf Trap Opera Studio.