Ten Singers Headed to Final Round of the 2022 Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition

By Chris Ruel

The Metropolitan Opera has announced the 10 finalists selected from the April 24, 2022, semi-final round of the Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition.

The finalists will compete on the Met stage in the Grand Finals Concert hosted by Nadine Sierra and accompanied by the Met Orchestra under the baton of maestro Marco Armiliato. The concert is scheduled for Sunday, May 1, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. ET.

A panel of administrators from the Met and other companies selected this year’s finalists.

The 2022 finalists are American soprano Rachel Blaustein, Chinese bass-baritone Le Bu, Canadian tenor Matthew Cairns, Swiss bass Jonas Jud, American tenor Daniel O’Hearn, American soprano Alexandra Razskazoff, American mezzo-soprano Maggie Reneé, French soprano Julie Roset, American mezzo-soprano Anne Marie Stanley, and American soprano Esther Tonea.

Blaustein most recently appeared in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis” as Micòl Finzi-Contini with New York City Opera and will perform as Ruth in Tobias Picker’s “Awakenings” at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In 2021, Blaustein was an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera, where she sang Autonoe in the world premiere of John Corigliano’s “The Lord of Cries” and Peaseblossom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Bu is currently an undergraduate at Manhattan School of Music, studying under renowned bass-baritone James Morris. Along with joining San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, Bu has participated in the Aspen Music Festival and School and iSING! International Young Artist Festival. In 2018, he was a winner of the Barbara Rondelli Kansas Statewide Classical Voice Competition—Midwest Region.

Cairns is a current member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio. As Detlef in Romberg’s “The Student Prince” at Chautauqua Institution, he placed first in its Sigma Alpha Iota Competition. He was a finalist in the 2022 Neue Stimmen Competition, the first-prize winner of the 2018 Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Competition, and winner of the CBC Music Young Artist Development Prize.

Jud is pursuing his master’s at Yale School of Music. He has appeared onstage as Caronte in Monteverdi’s “Orfeo” with the Ouverture Opera Company in Sion, Switzerland; Colline in “La Bohème” at Opernspiele Munot in Schaffhausen, Switzerland; Truffaldin in “Ariadne auf Naxos,” Skomoroch in Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Tale of Tsar Saltan” at Germany’s Isny Oper; Sarastro in “Die Zauberflöte” at the Teatro Civico di Schio and Teatro di Castelfranco Veneto; and the Speaker in “Die Zauberflöte” at the Yale Opera. In September, he joins the International Opera Studio at Opernhaus Zürich.

O’Hearn is a resident artist with Utah Opera, where this season, he sings Bill in Jonathan Dove’s “Flight” and Spoletta in “Tosca.” He was an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera, the winner of the 2019 American Prize from the American Prize Oratorio Society of Chicago, and placed first in the 2019 Kleinman Competition—Rocky Mountain Region.

Razskazoff will make her international debut as Mimì in “La Bohème,” at Chile’s Teatro Municipal de Santiago. She was a young artist in San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program and an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera. Recent roles include Suzel in “L’Amico Fritz” with Teatro Grattacielo and Giannetta in “L’Elisir d’Amore” at Palm Beach Opera.

Reneé is pursuing her master’s at The Juilliard School. This season, she sings Second Boy in “Die Zauberflöte” with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program and Baba the Turk in “The Rake’s Progress” with Juilliard Opera. Previous roles include King Egeo in Handel’s “Teseo” and Goffredo in Handel’s “Rinaldo” at Juilliard. She has also sung Carmen in “La Tragédie de Carmen” at City Lyric Opera. Her European debut was as Cherubino in “Le Nozze di Figaro.”

Roset is slated to sing Galatea in Handel’s “Acis and Galatea” with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Euridice in Rossi’s “Orfeo” with Julliard415, and Amore and Valetto in Monteverdi’s “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Previous roles include Papagena in “Die Zauberflöte” at Opéra de Toulon, Aurora and Giunone in Sacrati’s “La Finta Pazza” at Opéra de Dijon and Opéra Royal de Versailles, Amour in Rameau’s “Les Indes Galantes” at Opéra Royal de Versailles and the Beaune Festival, and Amour in Mondonville’s “Titon et l’Aurore” with Les Arts Florissants at Paris’s Opéra Comique.

Stanley is a third-year resident artist at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts, where her most recent appearance was as Olga in “Eugene Onegin.” In her first year at AVA, she sang Léonor de Guzman in Donizetti’s “La Favorite.” In 2015 and 2017, she was an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera and recently won first prize in the 2021 AVA Giulio Giargiari Bel Canto Vocal Competition and was selected as a grand finalist in the 2021 Vincerò World Singing Competition.

Tonea is a Richard F. Gold Career Grant recipient and an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera and holds a master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In 2019, she sang Diana in the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s “If I Were You.” She has appeared in concert and recital across North America and Europe. In 2021, she performed in “The Adler Fellows in Concert “ with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, singing the mad scene from Bellini’s “Il Pirata” and in “The Adlers: Live at the Drive-In,” in which she sang music from “Valurile Dunării.”

The Laffont Competition, formerly known as the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, is now in its 68th season. The competition had over 1,100 applicants this year, with 800 qualifying for 39 district auditions. One hundred twenty-six made it to the regional rounds, and 21 of these were named semi-finalists.

Winners of the Grand Finals will receive a cash prize of $20,000, with non-winning finalists receiving $10,000.

The Grand Finals is open to the public and will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on Sirius XM channel 355 and streamed live on the Met’s website at metopera.org/livestream.