Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions 2017 – What’s Next for 6 Winners?

The winners from Left to Right: Kristen MacKinnon, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, Vanessa Vasquez, Kyle van Schoonhoven, Samantha Hankey and Richard Smagur.

With the 2017 Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions having been announced, the spotlight has shifted solely onto these young artists. Who are they? What have they done? And what are they up to next.

OperaWire previously answered the two first questions on a previous article, but this one will focus solely on where these artists are headed next. Here is a breakdown of where you can check out these up and coming stars.

Samantha Hankey, 24, mezzo-soprano (Eastern Region: Marshfield, MA)

Hankey is slated to perform as a winner at Juilliard’s Vocal Arts Honors Recital. She will also be showcased as the lead in Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” as an artist with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program.

Kirsten MacKinnon, 26, soprano (Middle Atlantic Region: Vancouver, BC, Canada)

MacKinnon will perform with such companies as Opera Philadelphia, the Glyndebourne Festival, Garsington Opera and Opera Frankfurt. In Philadelphia, she will take on Micaëla in “Carmen.” In Glyndebourne, she heads to the Mozart repertoire for a turn as Fiordiligi in “Così Fan Tutte” while she sings the Countess in “Le Nozze di Figaro” at Garsington Opera. Finally, she will perform Inès in Meyerbeer’s “L’Africaine” in Frankfurt.

Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, 23, countertenor (Eastern Region: Brooklyn, NY)

The countertenor will make history later this year as the first ever countertenor at the Houston Grand Opera Studio’s history. He slated for performances of Maid in “Elektra” and Nireno in “Giulio Cesare.”

Richard Smagur, 26, tenor (Central Region: Clarkesville, GA)

Smagur will apprentice at Santa Fe Opera this summer where he will be featured in Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Golden Cockerel.”

Kyle van Schoonhoven, 28, tenor (Central Region: Lockport, NY)

According to van Schoonhoven’s website, the tenor will participate at the San Francisco Opera’s Lab Pop-up.

Vanessa Vasquez, 26, soprano (Middle Atlantic Region: Scottsdale, AZ)

Vasquez will make her professional debut with Des Moines Metro Opera as Liù in Puccini’s “Turandot.”


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About the Author

David Salazar
Prior to creating OperaWire, DAVID SALAZAR, (Editor-in-Chief) worked as a reporter for Latin Post where he interviewed major opera stars including Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Vittorio Grigolo, Diana Damrau and Rolando Villazon among others. His 2014 interview with opera star Kristine Opolais was cited in a New York Times Review. He also had the opportunity of interviewing numerous Oscar nominees, Golden Globe winners and film industry giants such as Guillermo del Toro, Oscar Isaac and John Leguizamo among others. David holds a Masters in Media Management from Fordham University. During his time at Fordham, he studied abroad at the Jagiellonian University in Poland. He also holds a dual bachelor’s from Hofstra University in Film Production and Journalism.

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