Opera legend Lucine Amara, Artistic Director of the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, announced the winners and the finalists selected in the company’s 30th Annual International Vocal Competition. Baritone Gerardo de la Torre from Mexico and soprano Joowon Chae from New York tied for first place and share a $3,000 award. Also, tenor Tianchi Zhang of New Jersey received third place and a $500 prize. In May 2018, the international competition opened to singers of all ages worldwide.
The finalists were: soprano Samarie Alicea (New York), soprano Joowon Chae (New York), tenor Hyunho Cho (New York), baritone Gerardo de la Torre (Mexico), soprano Holly Flack (Midland, New Jersey), and baritone Joseph Gansert (Bronxville, New York), soprano Hayan Kim (New York), bass Seunghee Lee (Austin, Texas), soprano Hyeree Shin (New York), and tenor Tianchi Zhang (Jersey City, New Jersey).
“The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s 30th Annual International Vocal Competition displayed some amazing young talent. Although the judges noted many of the contestants had not yet mastered the proper belly breathing technique, this issue was addressed to great success in the free master classes we provided to the singers. It’s always a thrill to see the young people master a new concept so quickly. Bravi to all! We wish them great success in their future careers,” said Amara.
An illustrious panel of judges adjudicated the final round of the competition. They included prominent vocal coach Tamie Laurence, voice teacher and audition coach Dillon McCartney. Also, Lucy Arner, Principal Conductor/Music Director with the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, served as an adjudicator.
Vocal Competition Trains Singers
The finalists attended two free four-hour master classes. International soprano, teacher/coach, and stage director/general manager of the Verismo Opera Evelyn La Quaif taught the classes. Furthermore, the singers received critical feedback and extensive free coaching on language, style and presentation. Also, all finalists received the judges’ comments. Finals were conducted at Shetler Studios in New York City.
For 30 years, the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera has been an integral part of the region’s classical music culture. Verismo Opera also provides performing opportunities for artists through semi-annual productions and concerts. The company directs the international vocal competition drawing artists worldwide. In addition, Verismo Opera organizes opera workshops and master classes.