The Most Famous Met National Council Audition Winners Of the Past

By David Salazar

This Sunday, audiences will get a look at the next set of Met Council Audition winners. The competition is perhaps the most prestigious in the entire country and one of the most important in the world.

The first competition took place in 1954, each decade bringing us major talents that have gone on to incredible careers. Here are some of the big winners from the competition over the years.


The big winners from the first five years of the competition include Martina Arroyo, Grace Bumbry (1958) and Teresa Stratas (1959).


The 60’s came with a plethora of major winners including Shirley Verrett (1961), Justino Díaz (1963), Gwendolyn Jones (1968), Jessye Norman (1968) and Frederica von Stade (1969).


Winners from this decade include such major stars as June Anderson, Kathleen Battle, Samuel Ramey, Cheryl Studer, Carol Vaness and Eric Halvarson.


Here’s just a taste of how fruitful the competition’s winners were: Patricia Racette, Ruth Ann Swenson, Thomas Hampson (1981), Hong Kei-Kyung (1982), Deboarh Voigt (1985), Susan Graham (1988), Ben Heppner (1988), Christine Brewer (1989) and a soprano that goes by the name of Renée Fleming (1988).


The 90’s winners that have gone on to strong careers include Paul Groves (1991), Michelle DeYoung (1992), Stephanie Blythe (1994), Nathan Gunn (1994), Sondra Radvanovsky (1995), Eric Owens (1996) and Eric Cutler (1998).


A lot of today’s young stars were winners of the competition during this decade. They include Latonia Moore (2000), Lawrence Brownlee (2000), James Valenti (2002), Christian Van Horn (2003), Lisette Oropesa (2005), Susanna Phillips (2005), Jamie Barton (2007), Michael Fabiano (2007), Angela Meade (2007), Amber Wagner (2007), Alek Shrader (2007), Jennifer Johnson Cano (2008), Paul Appleby (2008), Anthony Roth Costanzo (2009) and Nadine Sierra (2009).


A lot of the winners on this list remain rising stars and some are works in progress. Here are those that have already firmly established themselves around the world. Leah Crocetto (2010), Rachel Willis-Sorensen (2010), Ryan Speedo Green (2011), Janai Brugger (2012) and Amanda Woodbury (2014).




Special Features