The judges for the competition were Gayletha Nichols, Director of The Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers; Melissa Wegner, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and Laffont Competition; and Darren K. Woods, Artistic Director of the Seagle Festival.
The winner(s) of the Utah District will compete in the Rocky Mountain Regional Auditions on February 10, 2024. Approximately 20-25 first place winners from the regions throughout North America receive a cash prize and will compete in the National Semifinals on March 11, 2024. Approximately 10 singers will then compete at the National Grand Finals Concert on March 17, 2024. Approximately four to six singers will be named Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition Winners, each receiving a cash prize and invaluable career-making exposure.
Aaron Jenkins, a 29 year-old tenor and native of Grand Junction, Colorado earned his Bachelor of Music degree from University of Colorado at Boulder and his Master of Music from Mannes College of Music. He has participated in artist development programs with Glimmerglass Festival and Portland Opera.
Ryan Johnson, a 29 year-old tenor originally from Muleshoe, TX and currently living in Santa Fe, NM holds a master’s degree in music from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and bachelor’s in music from Texas Tech University. This past summer, Ryan made his debut at The Glimmerglass Festival as the Grand Inquisitor and Governor in Bernstein’s Candide. https://www.ryanbrycejohnson.com/
Sarah Scofield, a 25 year-old mezzo soprano who grew up in Indiana and France and currently lives in Salt Lake City, received her Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in the spring of 2023. She is a current Utah Opera Resident Artist where she will perform The Fox in The Little Prince and Myrtale in Thaïs this season.
Joshua Thomas, a 24 year-old bass-baritone and native of Houston, TX currently living in Henderson, NV, earned a Bachelor of Music from Louisiana State University and Master of Music from the University of Michigan. He was a member of the Des Moines Metro Opera Apprentice Program in the summers of 2022 and 2023 and is currently working on an Artist Diploma at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Anna Low, a 23 year-old soprano from Orem, UT, is currently a student at Brigham Young University working on a bachelor's degree in Music. She won Singer of the Year for 2023 in BYU's Young Artist competition and also competed in this year’s Classical Singer Competition placing 2nd in the Classical University division.
Katelyn Cox, a 22 year-old soprano from Provo, UT, is currently as student at the University of Utah working on a bachelor's degree in Music.
The Metropolitan Opera Laffont competition is designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers, and is sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council, including members and hundreds of volunteers from across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Some of today’s greatest singers got their start in the auditions, including Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Stephanie Blythe, Eric Owens, Lawrence Brownlee, Lisette Oropesa, Jamie Barton, Michael Fabiano, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Ryan Speedo Green, and Nadine Sierra.