Three Luther College singers advance to Region Finals in Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for 2009-10

Jan. 19, 2010

A Luther College student and two Luther alumni have advanced to the Region Finals of the Metropolitan Opera (Met) National Council Auditions for 2009-10.  

Jill Phillips, a senior music major from Pocahontas, Iowa, was selected to advance to the Region Finals at the Met’s Iowa District audition held Jan. 9 at the Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall at Iowa State University in Ames.

Luther alumni Andrew Stenson, from Rochester, Minn., and Emily Fons, from Milwaukee, Wis., were selected to advance to the Region Finals at the Met’s District audition held in October at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield, Wis.

Stenson, a 2008 graduate of Luther, is now studying at the University of Cincinnati.  Fons, a 2006 graduate of Luther, earned a master’s degree in music from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and will join the Ryan Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in April.

The Met’s Upper Midwest Region Finals competition will be held Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minn. Twelve singers have advanced to the Region Finals.  The performances are open to the public.

Three of the 12 Region finalists will be selected to advance to the National semi-finals in New York on Sunday, March 7.

At Luther, the three region finalists studied under professors of music Karen Kanakis and Jessica Paul. Fons also studied with professor Edwin Andereck.  

Fons and Stenson were winners of the college’s Alan and Sally Brudos Opera Prize, and Phillips was runner-up for the award in 2009.

The Met auditions, a national competition designed to discover the best young opera talent, is open to singers age 20-30 years. Eric Cutler, a 1999 graduate of Luther, was a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1998.  He has become an internationally know tenor, winning the Richard Tucker Award in 2005.

The Met auditions are conducted each year to provide a venue for young opera singers from all over the country and at all different levels of experience to be heard by a representative of the Metropolitan Opera and to assist those with the greatest potential in their development.

The program also searches for new talent for the Metropolitan Opera and the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

The auditions are held annually in 15 regions of the United States and Canada. There are 45 districts within these regions, each providing an opportunity for talented singers to enter the program at the local level.

The National Semi-Finals competition is held on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera. Approximately 10 of the semi-finalists are selected as national finalists who compete in a public concert, the Grand Finals Concert, accompanied by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

The jury awards approximately five grand winner awards of $15,000 each. The concert is broadcast nationwide on the Metropolitan Opera Radio Network.

About 100 former auditioners appear in Metropolitan Opera productions each year.