Artistic Director Lucine Amara invites vocalists of all ages worldwide to apply to the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s (Verismo Opera) 29th Annual International Vocal Competition. Applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the early bird registration deadline of July 31, 2017.  The final application deadline is October 31, 2017.

Vocal Competition’s Auditions

The vocal competition begins with preliminary auditions on November 1, 3, 6, and 8, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Afterward, final auditions occur on December 6, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. To kick-off the vocal competition, the preliminary and final auditions take place at Nola Studio on 250 West 54th Street, 11th Floor-Studio B in New York City in the United States of America.

At the preliminary auditions, a luminary panel of judges officiates. These judges include Metropolitan Opera legend Lucine Amara, Verismo Opera’s Music Director/Principal Conductor Maestra Lucy Arner and Evelyn La Quaif, General Manager and Stage Director, Verismo Opera. Upon request, preliminary participants and finalists receive the judges’ comments.

A special feature is a free master class offered to all applicants accepted to sing in the preliminary auditions. Finalists selected to perform in the vocal competition may attend three four-hour master classes. In addition, vocalists participating in the preliminary and final auditions are provided an accompanist.

            “Singers should do as many auditions as they can. This helps get rid of nerves, allows them to work through any difficulties. Most importantly, this gives them much needed feedback. Our competition provides artists all three and affords them the opportunity to participate in a free masterclass,” said Amara, who performed for over 40 years at the Metropolitan Opera in 882 on stage performances in 56 roles.


The vocal competition provides several opportunities for applicants to learn their craft.  In addition, Verismo Opera gives free coaching on language, style and presentation.  The opera company awards cash prizes totaling $3,500.  The prizes are: $2,000 first, $1,000 second and $500 third.

Soprano Zhanna Alkhazova received the first place award and prize in the vocal competition. Photo Credit: Barrie Proctor Bonacci

Lucine Amara presented the the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s 28th Annual International Vocal Competition’s first place award to vocalist Zhanna Alkhazova. Photo Credit: Barrie Proctor Bonacci

Artists learn and perform in a professional environment.  Verismo Opera is the house opera company of the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) in Englewood, New Jersey.  Furthermore, singers perform in Verismo Opera’s fully staged productions at bergenPAC.  Accompanied by a live orchestra under the direction of Maestra Lucy Arner, they implement what they have learned.

Vocal competition winners and finalists perform frequently in Verismo Opera’s productions. For example, the 26th Annual International Vocal Competition’s first prize winner, tenor José Heredia, performed in several productions.  These included Rigoletto, Carmen and La Bohème. Baritone Youngjoo An, the 2013 Verismo Opera Vocal Competition’s second prize winner, appeared in the company’s productions of La Bohème and Lucia di Lammermoor.  Also, two finalists — An and Nathan Resika, performed in the company’s premiere of Amilcare Ponchielli’s La Gioconda.

For complete information about the vocal competition, requirements, the master classes, an application, an audition appointment and more, visit the vocal competition’s site online.