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Vocal Competition

2015 Finalists
2015 Vocal Competition participants Lauren Michelle, Yelena Dyachek, Alex DeSocio, Rossini Award winner Guadalupe Paz, Alyssa Wills, Arnold Geis, Aurelie Veruni, Anishka Lee-Skorepa, Mario Rojas

 

33rd Annual Competition to be held on Sunday, December 4, 2016

Top Prize $10,000

Applications will open later this spring

The Palm Springs Opera Guild of the Desert presented the 32nd Annual Vocal Competition at the Helene Galen Performing Arts Center at Rancho Mirage High School on December 6, 2015. This free event is one of many annual programs produced by the Guild. The Competition offers talented young singers an opportunity to perform before an enthusiastic audience and win valuable scholarships.  Last year, in conjunction with the Competition, the Guild inaugurated the prestigious Peggy Cravens Rossini Award, which was presented to mezzo-soprano Guadalupe Paz. Baritone Alex DeSocio won First Place, soprano Lauren Michelle won Second Place and tenor Mario Rojas won Third Place. The other finalists who won $1000 each were soprano Yelena Dyachek, soprano Anishka Lee-Skorepaa, soprano Alyssa Wills, soprano Aurelie Veruni and tenor Arnold Geis. The 33rd annual Vocal Competition will be held on Sunday, December 4, 2016, again at the Helene Galen Performing Arts Center. Nearly $30,000 will be awarded thanks to the generosity of our underwriters Ron Lavo, John Nocita, Bill Galliker in memory of Mick Cressey, Yvonne and Steven Maloney and Terry Hendrix.

Click here for more information on the Rossini Award.

Many past winners now celebrities

 

Angela Meade
Angela Meade

Many Competition winners are currently singing with major opera companies in such venues as Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, the New York Metropolitan, LA Opera, San Diego Opera and Santa Fe Opera. Among the most famous are tenor Charles Castronovo who appears in major opera houses around the world; soprano Sondra Radvanovsky who sings the three Donizetti queens this year at the Met and was featured as an honoree in a recent issue of Opera News; soprano Angela Meade, the youngest singer to be on the cover of the Diva issue of Opera News, who just completed a run in the title role of Norma at LA Opera and who was one of this year’s Competition judges; and soprano Amber Wagner who debuted at the Met in Nabucco and was featured along with Angela Meade in the film The Audition. Click here to read about previous winners

Who Competes?

Young men and women between the ages of 21 and 34 in the calendar year residing in the western United States submit applications and are auditioned to narrow the field down to the selected finalists. Each finalist performs two arias at the final Competition; all singers receive a scholarship, with prizes totaling nearly $30,000.  In addition, an Audience Choice prize of $1000 is awarded as well as the Peggy Cravens Rossini Award of $5000. The event allows young singers to earn valuable experience, cash scholarships, community recognition of their achievements and the opportunity to advance their careers.

The Judges and Music Director

Our distinguished judges last year included world famous Metropolitan Opera soprano Angela Meade, winner of the Guild’s 2003 Competition, David Bennett, General Director of San Diego Opera and Christopher Hahn, General Director of Pittsburgh Opera. The Palm Springs Opera Guild Music Director was acclaimed UCLA vocal coach and accompanist Mona Lands.

Our Generous Benefactors

The Guild is especially grateful to generous scholarship sponsors Ron Lavo, Yvonne & Steven Maloney, Terry Hendrix and Armen Kazarian.

Photos from the 2015 Competition

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Eight finalists competed and an Audience Choice Award of $1000 was given.  First prize was $7000, 2nd prize $5000 and 3rd prize $3000.  Each runner-up received $1000.  The winners were:

First Place: Baritone Alex DeSocio, sponsored by Ron Lavo

Second Place: Soprano Lauren Michelle, sponsored by Terry Hendrix

Third Place: Tenor Mario Rojas, sponsored by Armen Kazarian and the George Klauss Memorial Fund

Runners-up: Soprano Yelena Dyachek, Soprano Aurelie Veruni, Soprano Anishka Lee-Skorepa, Soprano Alyssa Wills, Tenor Arnold Geis sponsored by Yvonne & Steven Maloney

Audience Choice: Soprano Lauren Michelle, sponsored by Terry Hendrix in memory of Gracia Alkema

Inaugural Peggy Cravens Rossini Award recipient: Mezzo-soprano Guadalupe Paz, sponsored by Peggy Cravens

 

2014 Competition Finalists

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2014 Finalists Marina Harris, Lauren Michelle, Ben Lowe, Aurelie Veruni, Moises Salazar, Shabnam Kalbasi, Nicholas Brownlee, Alexa Jarvis and Michelle Bradley

Nine finalists competed and an Audience Choice Award of $1000 was given.  First prize was $7000, 2nd prize $5000 and 3rd prize $3000.  Each runner-up received $1000.  The winners were:

First Place: Bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee, sponsored by Ron Lavo

Second Place: Soprano Lauren Michelle, sponsored by Terry Hendrix, Jean Carrus, Michael Cressey, Bruce Johansen and Stephen Lind

Third Place: Soprano Marina Harris, sponsored by Craig & Barbara Salsbury

Runners-up: Soprano Michelle Bradley, Soprano Alexa Jarvis, Mezzo-soprano Shabnam Kalbasi, Baritone Ben Lowe, Tenor Moises Salazar, Soprano Aurelie Veruni, sponsored by Yvonne & Steven Maloney

Audience Choice: Soprano Lauren Michelle, sponsored by Terry Hendrix in memory of Gracia Alkema

2013 Competition Finalists

Photos by Lani

Dmitruk, Lau, Jarvis, Castillo, Adams, Geis, Vasquez, Solis, Ludwig, Bradley

 

First Place: Adam Lau, Bass

Second Place: Efraín Solís, Baritone

Third Place: Michelle Bradley, Soprano

Fourth Place: Julie Adams, Soprano

Fifth Place: Vladimir Dmitruk, Tenor

Runners-Up: David Castillo, Baritone; Arnold Geis, Tenor; Alexa Jarvis, Soprano; Hannah Ludwig, Mezzo-soprano and Vanessa Vasquez, Soprano

Audience Choice Award: Michelle Bradley, Soprano

2012 Competition Finalists

2012 Vocal Competition Finalists

Ludwig, Garnier, Počkaj, Harris, Dyachek, Rapier, Guerrero, Chang, Bliss, Adams

First Place: Renée Rapier, Mezzo-soprano

Second Place: Hae Ji Chang, Soprano

Third Place: Julie Adams, Soprano

Fourth Place: Marina Harris, Soprano  (Appeared in Opera in the Park April 7th)

Fifth Place: Hannah Ludwig, Mezzo-soprano

Runners up: Joshua Guerrero, Tenor, Yelena Dyachek, Soprano, Benjamin Bliss, Tenor, Alannah Garnier, Soprano and Jure Počkaj, Baritone.  (Mssrs Guerrero and Počkaj and Alannah Garnier appeared in Opera in the Park April 7th)

Encouragement Award: David Castillo, Baritone.  (Appeared in Opera in the Park April 7th)

2011 Competition Finalists

2011 Competition Finalists Blake, Adams, Gallaway, Garcia, Zammit, Guerrero, Lau, LaGesse, Avetisyan and Vu with Kenneth Morris and Mona Lands

Blake, Adams, Gallaway, Garcia, Zammit, Guerrero, Lau, LaGesse, Avetisyan and Vu with Kenneth Morris and Mona Lands

First Place:  Anush Avetisyan, Soprano

Second Place: Adam Paul Lau, Bass

Third Place: Ricardo Garcia, Tenor

Fourth Place: Joshua Guerrero, Tenor

Fifth Place: Nicholas Zammit, Countertenor

Runners-Up: Julie Adams, Soprano, Aaron Blake, Tenor, Jenina Gallaway, Soprano, Nicholas LaGesse, Baritone and Julia Metzler, Soprano

Encouragement Award:  Brian Vu

 

2010 Competition Finalists

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Fontaine, Kim, Harris, Hirsch, Sayapin, Batalles, Vinzant and Vuong

First Place: Jacquelynne Fontaine, Soprano

Second Place: Yujoong Kim, Tenor

Third Place: Karen Vuong, Soprano

Fourth Place: Joshua Guerrero, Tenor

Fifth Place: Marina Harris, Soprano

Runners-Up: Melissa Batalles, Soprano, Rachael Hirsch, Mezzo-Soprano, Alexey Sayapin, Tenor, and Valerie Vinzant, Soprano

Encouragement Award: Anna Schubert, Soprano

2009 Competition Finalists

2009 Vocal Competition Winners

Cox, Walker, KnJoi, Fontaine, Arsenault, Park, Ruthenberg, Na, Guerrero and Carpenter

First Place: Tracy Cox,  Mezzo-soprano

Second Place: Danielle Walker, Soprano

Third Place: Samantha KnJoi, Soprano

Fourth Place: Jacquelynne Fontaine, Soprano

Fifth Place: Julian Arsenault, Baritone

Runners-Up: Douglas Carpenter, Baritone;  Joshua Guerrero, Tenor;  Bora Na, Soprano; Yoosun Park, Soprano; Tatyana Ruthenberg, Soprano