Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions to Hold Auditions to the Public in Knoxville

By Francisco Salazar

Knoxville residents will have the opportunity to witness the future of opera this weekend as the public will be invited to the Middle/East Tennessee District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions hosted by Knoxville Opera Guild on Jan. 7.

The auditions, which begin at 10 am, are being held at the the Powell Recital Hall of the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center at the University of Tennessee. There is no cost for admission.

The Singers auditioning in Knoxville will be from around the country and will be competing for a spot in the Southeast Region Finals on Feb. 12 in Atlanta. The National Semi-Finals and Grand Finals Concert the will take place in New York City at the Metropolitan Opera House on March 12 and March 19 respectively.

Judges at Knoxville will include Nathan DePoint, Mark Gibson, and Melissa Wegner.

The Metropolitan National Council Auditions require five operatic arias of varying styles in two or more languages that best represent the singer’s current stage of vocal development. In addition to selecting the district finalists, the judges will meet individually with each singer after the audition to coach them on language, style, and musicianship essential for future successful operatic auditions.

The auditions are considered the American Idol of opera and have launched numerous operatic careers. Past winners from Knoxville include Cheryl Studer in 1978, Delores Ziegler in 1979 and Roy Smith in 1990. Other artists that have won the National Council Auditions include  angela Meade, Jaime Barton, Michael Fabiano, Kathleen Battle, Jessye Norman, Teresa Stratas, Shirley Verrett, and Frederica von Stade.