CCM alumna Jessica Faselt, 25, of Iowa City was among five singers named as the winners of the nation’s most prestigious vocal competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Faselt earned a Master of Music degree in Voice in 2016, and was a winner of the Corbett Award at CCM.
The other winners are: Madison Leonard, 26, soprano (Coeur d’Alene, ID); Ashley Dixon, 26, mezzo-soprano (Peachtree, GA); Hongni Wu, 23, mezzo-soprano (Jingdezhen, China); and Carlos Enrique Santelli, 26, tenor (Orlando, FL).
Each winner receives a $15,000 cash prize and the exposure that has launched the careers of many of opera’s biggest stars.
And in another local tie, CCM Artist Diploma in Opera Performance student Brandon Russell was a semi-finalist in this year’s Met National Council Auditions. He competed in the semi-final round held on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera on April 22, and was awarded $1,500.
On Sunday afternoon, nine finalists — selected through multiple rounds of competition — performed on the Met stage for the Grand Finals Concert. Each finalist sang two arias with the Met Orchestra, led by Bertrand de Billy. In the audience were artistic directors of leading opera companies, artist managers, important teachers and coaches, music critics, and many other industry professionals.
The concert was recorded for broadcast at a later date on public radio stations across the United States.
Faselt was most recently a Studio Artist with the Florida Grand Opera in Miami for their 2017-18 season and covered the roles of Salome in Richard Strauss’s Salome and Florencia in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas.
She also competed in the Met Auditions semi-finals in 2017, along with three other CCM alumni: Summer Hassan, soprano (MM Voice, 2014); Andrew Manea, baritone (MM Voice, 2016); and Cody Quattlebaum, bass-baritone (BM Voice, 2015) — who was chosen as a finalist in the national competition.
At this year’s competition, the remaining four finalists, Danielle Beckvermit, 25, soprano (Kingston, NY); Emily Misch, 28, soprano (Santa Monica, CA); Megan Grey, 24, mezzo-soprano (Cedar Falls, IA); and Gretchen Krupp, 25, mezzo-soprano (Manassas, VA), each received a cash prize of $5,000.
Currently in its 64th year, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions has launched some of today’s best-known stars, including Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt, Lawrence Brownlee, Thomas Hampson, Eric Owens, Angela Meade, Nadine Sierra and Jamie Barton. More than 100 singers who previously participated in the Met Auditions are performing on the Met’s roster this season.