2019 GEORGE LONDON AWARD WINNERS
Samantha Gossard, mezzo-soprano (30, Sidney, OH), who sang “Connais‐tu le pays” from Massenet’s Mignon George London Award sponsored by Sarah Billinghurst Solomon, The Miriam and Arthur Diamond Charitable Trust and Barbara Brookes Rebecca Pedersen, soprano (27, Salem, UT), who sang “Dich teure Halle” from Wagner’s Tannhäuser – George London Award in memory of Leonie Rysanek sponsored by an anonymous donor
Carolyn Sproule, mezzo‐soprano (30, Montréal, Canada), who sang “Deh! Proteggimi o Dio” from Bellini’s Norma – George London Award for a Canadian singer, sponsored by Mrs. Walter J. Laughery Charles Sy, tenor (27, Toronto, Canada), who sang “Ich baue ganz” from Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail – George London Award in memory of Lloyd E. Rigler and Lawrence E. Deutsch, sponsored by The Lloyd E. Rigler – Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation, James D. Rigler, President Kyle van Schoonhoven, tenor (30, Lockport, NY), who sang “Mein Lieber Schwan” from Wagner’s Lohengrin – George London Award in memory of Kirsten Flagstad, sponsored in part by the New York Community Trust
GEORGE LONDON ENCOURAGEMENT AWARDS ($1,000 each) Amanda Lynn Bottoms, mezzo‐soprano (27, Cheektowaga, NY), who sang “Charlotte’s Letter Scene” from Massenet’s Werther – Award sponsored by Meche Kroop Sarah Joyce Cooper, soprano (27, Lincoln, MA), who sang “E strano…Sempre libera” from Verdi’s La Traviata – Award sponsored by Donald Palumbo Ron Dukes, bass (24, Indianapolis, IN), who sang “Vous qui faites l’endormie” from Gounod’s Faust – Award in memory of Louis D’Angelo, sponsored by Robert Lombardo
Vartan Gabrielian, bass‐baritone (25, Toronto, Canada), who sang “Quand la flamme de l’amour” from Bizet’s La jolie fille de Perth – Award in memory of Jaclyn Rendall Elyn, sponsored by Mark Elyn Shannon Jennings, soprano (30, Orlando, FL), who sang “Stridono lassù” from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci – Award sponsored by the George London Foundation Elizabeth Reiter, soprano (33, Chicago, IL), who sang “No word from Tom” from Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress – Award sponsored by The Henry and Dianna Asher Family Charitable Fund Olivia Smith, soprano (20, Kelowna, BC, Canada), who sang “Deh vieni non tardar” from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro ‐ Award in memory of Jaclyn Rendall Elyn, sponsored by Mark Elyn Matthew Swensen, tenor (26, Rochester, NY), who sang “Ecco ridente in cielo” from Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia – Award in memory of Irwin Scherzer, sponsored by The Irwin S. Scherzer Foundation Joseph Tancredi, tenor (21, Bayville, NY), who sang “Dein ist mein ganzes Herz” from Lehár’s Das Land des Lächelns – Award in memory of Alfred Hubay, sponsored by the George London Foundation
Polixeni Tsiouvaras, mezzo‐soprano (23, Santa Barbara, CA), who sang “Se Romeo t’uccise un figlio” from Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi – Award in memory of Alan M. Ades, sponsored by Joan Taub Ades Matthew White, tenor (27, New Market, VA), who sang “O paradis” from Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine – Award in memory of Herbert J. Frank, sponsored by David Shustak
This year’s panel of judges included soprano Harolyn Blackwell, George London Foundation Executive Director John Hauser, George London Foundation President Nora London, and tenor and voice professor George Shirley. The competition pianist was David Holkeboer.
THE RECITAL SERIES:
MICHELLE BRADLEY, Soprano, and WILL LIVERMAN, Baritone
Sunday, December 2, 2018, 4pm
ANTHONY DEAN GRIFFEY, Tenor, and AMY OWENS, Soprano
Sunday, March 24, 2019, 4pm
JULIE ADAMS, Soprano, and EMILY D’ANGELO, Mezzo-soprano
Sunday, May 5, 2019, 4pm
48th ANNUAL GEORGE LONDON COMPETITION FINALS
Friday, February 22, 2019, 4pm
WINNERS OF THE 2018 GEORGE LONDON AWARDS ARE ANNOUNCED
Soprano Lauren Margison, Mezzo-Sopranos Raehann Bryce-Davis, Rihab Chaieb & Emily D’Angelo, Baritone Benjamin Taylor, and Bass-Baritone Lawson Anderson Win $10,000 Top Award at the 47th Annual George London Foundation Awards Competition
New York, NY – February 16, 2018 – The winners of the 47th annual George London Foundation Awards Competition for young American and Canadian opera singers were announced at the conclusion of the competition’s final round this evening, which took place before an enthusiastic audience at Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.
A total of $83,000 was given in awards. From more than 150 applicants, 72 singers were heard over three days of auditions, and 17 were selected as finalists. Of these, six were selected as winners of George London Awards of $10,000 each. Three singers received $5,000 awards and the remaining eight finalists were given awards of $1,000 each.
GEORGE LONDON AWARDS ($10,000 each):
Lawson Anderson, bass-baritone (31, Atlanta, GA) – George London Award in memory of Kirsten Flagstad, sponsored by the New York Community Trust
Raehann Bryce-Davis, mezzo-soprano (31, Keene, TX) – George London Award
Rihab Chaieb, mezzo-soprano (30, Montreal, Quebec) – George London Award for a Canadian singer, sponsored by Marjorie Laughery
Emily D’Angelo, mezzo-soprano (23, Toronto, Ontario) – George London Award in memory of Leonie Rysanek
Lauren Margison, soprano (25, Toronto, Ontario) – George London Award sponsored by Lloyd E. Rigler – Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation
Benjamin Taylor, baritone (29, Waldorf, MD) – George London Award
$5,000 AWARDS FROM THE GEORGE LONDON FOUNDATION:
Samantha Gossard, mezzo-soprano (29, Sidney, OH) – Award sponsored by The Howard and Sarah D. Solomon Foundation
Daniel Moody, countertenor (28, Cincinnati, OH) – Award sponsored by the George London Foundation
Amy Owens, soprano (30, Brookfield, WI) – Award sponsored by the Miriam and Arthur Diamond Charitable Trust and Barbara Brookes
$1,000 AWARDS FROM THE GEORGE LONDON FOUNDATION:
Martin Bakari, tenor (31, Yellow Springs, OH) – Award in memory of Jacklyn Elyn, sponsored by Mark Elyn
Deanna Breiwick, soprano (30, Seattle, WA) – Award in memory of Irwin Scherzer, sponsored by The Irwin S. Scherzer Foundation
Sarah Coit, mezzo-soprano (27, Spring Hill, FL) – Award in memory of Herbert Frank, sponsored by David Shustak
Anna Dugan, soprano (25, Cranford, NJ) - Award in memory of Jacklyn Elyn, sponsored by Mark Elyn
Madison Leonard, soprano (25, Cour d’Alene, ID) – Award sponsored by a Friend of the George London Foundation
Jana McIntyre, soprano (26, Santa Barbara, CA) – Voce di Meche Award, sponsored by Meche Kroop
Aaron Short, tenor (30, Olathe, KS) – Award in memory of Theodore Uppman, sponsored by Alfred Hubay
Corrie Stallings, mezzo-soprano (30, Benicia, CA) – Award in memory of Vera Stern, sponsored by Alfred Hubay
SOPRANO LEAH CROCETTO AND BARITONE ZACHARY NELSON OPEN THE GEORGE LONDON FOUNDATION FOR SINGERS 2017-18 SEASON ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2017, AT THE MORGAN
Crocetto, Fresh from Aida at Washington National Opera, and Nelson, Praised at Santa Fe Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor, To Sing Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Schubert, Vaughan Williams, Il Trovatore Duet, and “If I Loved You”
Two of opera’s rising young American stars open the 2017-18 concert season of The George London Foundation for Singers with a duo recital on Sunday, October 29, 2017, at 4:00 pm. Soprano Leah Crocetto, fresh from an acclaimed September run in the title role of Aida at the Washington National Opera, and baritone Zachary Nelson, a 2012 George London Award winner who won praise for his performance as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor at the summer’s Santa Fe Opera season, will perform a program of songs and duets at Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum with the pianist Mark Markham.
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The George London Foundation for Singers, named for the great American bass-baritone, has been honoring, supporting, and presenting the finest young American and Canadian opera singers since 1971. The foundation’s annual recital series, which celebrated its 20th anniversary with a star-studded gala in 2016, presents pairs of outstanding singers, many of whom were winners of a George London Award, the prize of the foundation’s annual vocal competition.
Leah Crocetto will perform Liszt’s Three Petrarch Sonnets, and the “Vocalise” and three selections from the 12 Romances by Rachmaninoff. Zachary Nelson will sing selections from Schubert’s Schwanengesang and from Vaughan Williams’s Songs of Travel. The two will join to perform the duet “Mira, d'acerbe lagrime” from Verdi’s Il Trovatore and “If I Loved You” from Carousel by Rodgers and Hammerstein. (Complete program details follow below.)
Recent Praise for Crocetto and Nelson In September, Leah Crocetto joined the Washington National Opera’s production of Aida, singing the title role. The Washington Post praised the “bloom and freshness of her singing,” and Washington Classical Review said, “Leah Crocetto proved the equal of her first-cast counterpart in the title role. She showed the dramatic potency that allowed her to soar over the large ensemble scenes.” (Watch an excerpt of Crocetto’s performance of “Ritorna vincitor” from the San Francisco Opera’s 2016 production.)
Praising Zachary Nelson’s performance as Enrico in this past summer’s Santa Fe Opera production of Lucia di Lammermoor, The Santa Fe New Mexican said, “He delivered especially fine swagger in ‘La pietade in suo favore,’ the cabaletta of his Act 1 aria, and he was downright fearsome in his confrontation duet with Lucia.”
The George London Foundation’s 2017-18 season continues with three more events:
• Marjorie Owens, soprano, and Quinn Kelsey, baritone, with Myra Huang, piano. Marjorie Owens won a 2009 George London Award – and when she appeared in a London Foundation recital later that year with James Morris, The New York Times described her as “a 28-year-old American soprano with a big, gleaming voice.” Quinn Kelsey was the cover subject of the June 2017 Opera News, which said, “Quinn Kelsey waited to sing the great Verdi baritone roles until the time was right. This month he’s San Francisco Opera’s Rigoletto.” – Sunday, December 10, 2017, at 4:00 pm
• The 47th annual George London Foundation Awards Competition begins with three days of preliminary auditions and culminates with the final round and award ceremony open to the public. The 2018 competition takes place February 12-16, and the public is invited to attend the competition finals and awards announcement on Friday, February 16, 2018, at 4:00 PM.
• Heidi Melton, soprano, and Errin Duane Brooks, tenor, with Craig Rutenberg, piano. Heidi Melton won the 2009 George London-Kirsten Flagstad Award for a potential Wagnerian singer; the following year, Montreal’s La Presse was moved to say, “This could perhaps be the Wagnerian voice we have been waiting for since Flagstad and Nilsson.” Errin Duane
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Brooks won the same award in 2017; New York Classical Review said his “strength, projection, and sheer excitement earned him the George London-Kirsten Flagstad Award.” – Sunday, March 4, 2017, at 4:00 pm
The 2017 George London Award winners were sopranos Michelle Bradley and Lara SecordHaid; tenors Aaron Blake and Errin Duane Brooks; and baritone Will Liverman. At the awards’ announcement, London’s widow and the foundation’s president, Nora London, said, “Even after so many years of listening at our competitions, I am so deeply moved by all of your great performances. This year, I feel it is more important than ever for us to applaud beautiful art, and for you to take your talent and share it with the world.”
The George London Foundation Awards and Recital Series The George London Foundation Awards competition is one of the oldest vocal competitions in the United States and Canada, and it offers among the most substantial awards.
Through the annual juried competition for outstanding young American and Canadian opera singers (under the age of 35 who must have performed at least one professional engagement), awards are given to the most promising performers: at the 2017 competition, a total of $75,000 was given in the form of five George London Awards of $10,000, three awards of $5,000, and 10 awards of $1,000.
The recital series began at the Morgan in 1995 as a way to give grantees exposure and experience, and, in many cases, a New York debut. Each season consists of three recitals featuring recent award winners sometimes paired with a well-known international artist – often a past George London Award winner – that have in recent years included Joyce DiDonato, Eric Owens, Stephen Costello, Ailyn Perez, Matthew Polenzani, Christine Brewer, Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, René Pape, Samuel Ramey, Frederica von Stade, Bryn Terfel, and Dawn Upshaw.
The Legacy of George London The goal of the London Foundation, the support and nurturing of young singers, was an abiding interest of the great American bass-baritone George London, who devoted a great part of the time and energy of his later years to this purpose. “Remembering his difficult road to success, George wanted to devise a way to make the road a little easier for future generations of singers,” said George London Foundation President Nora London. Initially created under the auspices of the National Opera Institute, the George London Awards program has been administered since 1990 directly by the Foundation as a living legacy to George London’s own exceptional talent and generosity. As The New York Times noted recently, “this prestigious competition…can rightfully claim to act as a springboard for major careers in opera.” Visit www.georgelondon.org.
Leah Crocetto, soprano, from Adrian, Michigan, who was described by The New York Times as “one of the standout winners at the 2010 Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions,” and who the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joshua Kosman has christened “a major star,” headlined the
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summer’s U.S. premiere of Donizetti’s Assedio di Calais at the Glimmerglass Festival. This fall season she performs the title role of Tosca with Pittsburgh Opera and Liù in Turandot at the San Francisco Opera. She opened the 2016-17 season in her role debut as Aida with the San Francisco Opera, about which performance the San Francisco Chronicle said, “Leah Crocetto … continues to amaze with the full-bodied presence and agility of her soprano.” As a profile in the June 2017 issue of Opera News said, “in the six years since the American soprano emerged from San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship Program, she has built an international reputation by tackling some of the most challenging assignments in the Italian repertoire.” www.leahcrocetto.com
Zachary Nelson, baritone (2012 George London Award), from Annapolis, Maryland, praised by Opera News for his “robust, thrilling sound,” had a 2016-2017 season that brought debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Donner in Das Rheingold and Escamillo in Carmen with Den Norske Opera. Of his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut, Newcity Stage said, “Baritone Zachary Nelson (Donner) looks the part of Head God, moves with agile authority and sports a lightningbolt voice enveloped in a silvery sheath. Is he the next generation’s Wotan?" and GBOpera magazine said, "Zachary Nelson made the most of Donner’s invocation, his sonorous vocalism recalling the American stage debut here of Bryn Terfel in this role 25 years ago." The coming season brings performances as Ping in Turandot at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro at Dresden Semperoper. When Zachary Nelson won a George London Award in 2012, The New York Times said of his competition performance, “Mr. Nelson captured the crucial element of verismo style: the emotion that is undoubtedly excessive but feels, in the moment, entirely right.” www.zacharynelsonbaritone.com