The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions were held on April 29, 2018, with nine young artists competing to win the biggest competition in the United States and a chance to launch their international career.
After a concert where each finalist performed two arias of different languages, the judges went on to deliberate and make their final decisions.
The winners were soprano Madison Leonard, who performed arias from “Hansel und Gretel” and “Rigoletto” and who is currently a young artist in the Domingo-Carfitz Young artist program at the Washington National Opera and the Chinese Mezzo-soprano Hogni Wu, who performed arias from “L’Italiana D’Algeri” and “Der Rosenkavalier.”
Soprano Jessica Faselt also figured into the winners singing from “Il Trovatore” and “Tannhäuser.” She is currently a studio artist at the Florida Grand Opera and was also part of the young artist programs at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Des Moines Metro Opera.
The other winners were mezzo Ashley Dixon and tenor Carlos Enrique Santelli, who also became the first married couple to win the finals. Dixon performed arias from “Orphée et Eurydice” and “Cendrillon” while Santelli sang from “La Fille du Régiment” and “La Cenerentola.”
The other four finalists included Gretchen Krupp, Danielle Beckvermit, Megan Grey, and Emily Mish.
Joyce DiDonato hosted the evening remarking about her experience with the competition and noted that she did not win the competition. She later presented Bryan Hymel, who performed an exquisite “Pourquoi me reveiller” and showed that he was almost recovered from a long month of illness. DiDonato then joined him for “Nuit d’ivresse” from “Les Troyens,” marking the first time these two superstars had performed together.