Each year, the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera launches the new season with the Annual International Vocal Competition. The 2017-2018 season marks the company’s 29th Annual International Vocal Competition.  The competition’s process allows Verismo Opera to select a range of finalists and nurture them through extensive personal coaching on language, style and presentation, preparing them for their private performance for the company’s elite team of judges.

The competition is open to vocalists of all ages worldwide. Furthermore, vocalists, who have performed in Verismo Opera’s productions or applied previously to the vocal competition, may apply.

Special Features

In 2017, vocalists may take advantage of these opportunities in the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s 29th Annual International Vocal Competition. A free master class is offered to all applicants accepted to sing in the preliminary auditions. In addition, finalists selected to perform in the vocal competition may attend three four-hour free master classes.

Metropolitan Opera legend Lucine Amara and the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s Stage Director, Canadian soprano Evelyn La Quaif, teach the master classes.  They provide instruction in several areas, including deportment, language, style and presentation.

All master classes take place at Yeoryia Studios, located at the Epic Security Building, 2067 Broadway in New York, New York in the United States. Verismo Opera announces in the fall the dates of the free master classes for participants in the preliminary auditions.  Afterward, master classes for finalists only take place on November 18, 25, and December 2, 2017 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Verismo Opera, the house opera company of the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), is known for presenting grand productions as the composer intended.  Finalists may perform in these fully staged operas at the bergenPAC.

José Heredia, a vocal competition first prize recipient, performed in Rigoletto, Carmen and La Bohème. Photo Credit: Marilyn Monsanto

Tenor José Heredia, the 2016 first prize winner in the vocal competition, performed in the company’s productions of Rigoletto, Carmen and La Bohème. Photo Credit: Marilyn Monsanto

Preliminary & Final Auditions

In the fall of 2017, the preliminary and final  auditions occur at Nola Studios, located at 250 West 54th Street, 11th Floor-Studio B in New York City in New York City, New York in the United States.

These are the audition dates in 2017:

  • Preliminary auditions take place on November 1, 3, 6, and 8, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Final auditions occur on December 6, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

A panel of luminary judges, including Metropolitan Opera legend Lucine Amara, Verismo Opera’s Music Director/Principal Conductor Maestra Lucy Arner, and Verismo Opera’s General Manager/Stage Director Evelyn La Quaif.  A professional accompanist is provided to all participants at the preliminary and final auditions.  Upon request, the judges’ comments are sent to all preliminary participants and finalists.

Application

The application consists of the following:

  • A completed application form with a list of five arias, including the opera, composer, and language.   Download an application here.
  • Resume;
  • Bio;
  • Audio File (MP3 file or a CD) containing at least three arias;
  • Headshot (8 x 10 black and white photo); and
  • Application Fee. The early bird application fee is $55 through July 31, 2017. Afterward, the fee is $75. Payment may be made securely online located at the bottom of the page or by check made out and sent to Verismo Opera, P.O. Box 3024, Fort Lee, New Jersey 07024-9024.

Last, applicants schedule a mandatory audition appointment in advance.  To set up an audition appointment or for further information about the vocal competition or Verismo Opera, contact info@verismopera.org or call (201) 886-0561.  Applicants accepted to the vocal competition are notified.

Deadlines

Applications are due October 31, 2017.
• Early Bird Registration Deadline: July 31, 2017.  The fee is $55.
• August 1 through October 31, 2017:  The application fee is $75.

2016-2017  Winners & Finalists Announced

On April 23, 2017,  at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, New Jersey, the winners of the 2016-2017 vocal competition received their awards and a cash prize to aid in continuing their vocal growth.

Finalists in the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera's 2016-2017 Annual International Vocal Competition

Some of the finalists in the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s 2016-2017 Annual International Vocal Competition

Congratulations to these winners:

• First place – Soprano Zhanna Alkhazova $2,000
• Second place – Baritone SeokJong Baek $1,000
• Third place – Tenor Fanyong Du $500

The finalists were: soprano Zhanna Alkhazova, baritone SeokJong Baek, soprano Megan Brunning, tenor Fangyong Du, soprano Magda Gartner, soprano Shana Grossman, mezzo-soprano Viktoriya Koreneva, soprano Nicole Levesque, soprano Yulan Piao, and bass-baritone Cody Quattlebaum.

Read more about the 2016-2017 winners and finalists.

An illustrious panel of judges adjudicated the final round of the competition.  The judges included Met Opera luminaries Martina Arroyo and Nedda Casei.  In addition, the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s Principal Conductor/Music Director Lucy Arner and the company’s Emeritus Music Director/Principal Conductor Anthony Morss participated.

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