The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s Artistic Director, Lucine Amara, proudly announces the winners and the finalists selected in the company’s 29th Annual International Vocal Competition. Soprano Yulan Piao, a finalist in Verismo Opera’s 28th Annual International Vocal Competition, receives first place and a $2,000 award. Tenor Peter Scott Drackley takes second place and a $1,000 prize.  In third place, tenor Taehwan Ku receives a $500 prize.

For the first time in the competition’s history, the distinction of Honorable Mention goes to finalists Hayan Kim and Carami Hilaire. Finally, the remaining finalists are Xueyan Fan, Joseph Han, Kang Seok Hoon, Helaine Liebman, and Gyuyeon Shanel Shim.

The Vocal Competition's winners, finalists, and judges come together.

The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s 29th Annual International Vocal Competition’s winners, finalists, and judges come together.

An illustrious panel of judges adjudicated the final round of the competition. The judges include soprano Emily Pulley, who has performed with the Met Opera, NY City Opera, and other companies.  In addition, Simón Saad, a lecturer and stage director affiliated with Ópera de Colombia, Teatro Colón, Teatro de la Zarzuela, and Ansonia Music Outreach, was  a judge.  Also, Lucy Arner, Principal Conductor/Music Director with the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, served on the panel.

Yulan Piao Wins Vocal Competition

Leading the way, Korean-Chinese soprano Yulan Piao impressed the judges with her beautiful voice and stage presence. Among her recognitions, she holds third prize in the 2017 Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition.  In addition, she garnered first prize in the Five Towns Music and Arts Foundation.  She received an Encouragement Grant from Career Bridges. Furthermore, Piao received Super Finalist in Opera Connecticut’s “American Opera Idol 2017” and second prize in the IVAI Opera Idol Competition.

Yulan Piao receives first prize in the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera's 29th Annual International Vocal Competition.

Soprano Yulan Piao wins first place in the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s 29th Annual International Vocal Competition.

Vocal Competition Trains Singers

The finalists attended three free four-hour master classes.  The classes were taught by Verismo Opera’s Artistic Director and Metropolitan Opera luminary Lucine Amara and Verismo Opera’s General Manager, Principal Stage Director, and teacher Evelyn La Quaif.  Afterward, the classes culminated with finals conducted at Nola Studios in New York City. They also received critical feedback.  Furthermore, they received extensive free coaching on language, style and presentation and the prospect to perform in Verismo Opera’s fully staged upcoming productions. Support for the competition is made possible, in part, with funds provided by the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of State, through grant funds administered by the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

The winners receive their awards and prizes at Verismo Opera’s premiere of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot.  Opera lovers come and see this new production on Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. Once again, Verismo Opera, the house opera company of the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), returns to the theatre to perform this dramatic production.  The theatre’s address is North Van Brunt Street in Englewood, New Jersey. Most noteworthy, look for Piao debuts with the company as Liu in Turandot. Purchase tickets at or in person at the theatre’s box office.  Also, purchase tickets by calling (201) 227-1030 or toll-free at 1-888-PACSHOW.