Metropolitan Opera National Council Utah District Auditions
2016-17 Utah District Judges
The auditions involve competitors singing for three judges who have been selected from an elite list of opera professionals (vocal coaches, career singers, opera composers, opera stage directors, heads of opera companies and artistic administrators) who are highly qualified to identify talent and to assist young singers with developing and refining their singing.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Richard Bado made his professional conducting debut in 1989 leading Houston Grand Opera’s acclaimed production of Show Boat at the newly restored Cairo Opera House in Egypt. Since then, Mr. Bado has conducted at Teatro alla Scala, Opéra National de Paris, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, the Aspen Music Festival, the Tulsa Opera, the Russian National Orchestra, the Florida Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony, Wolf Trap Opera, Houston Ballet, and has conducted the Robert Wilson production of Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts at the Edinburgh Festival. This past season he conducted Houston Grand Opera’s production of Carousel. An accomplished pianist, Mr. Bado appears regularly with Renée Fleming in recital. He has also played for Cecilia Bartoli, Frederica von Stade, Susan Graham, Denyce Graves, Marcello Giordani, Ramon Vargas, Samuel Ramey, Jamie Barton, Ryan McKinney and Nathan Gunn. Mr. Bado, who holds music degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where he received the 2000 Alumni Achievement Award and West Virginia University, has studied advanced choral conducting with Robert Shaw. Mr. Bado is the Director of the Opera Studies Program at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. He also is the Chorus Master for the Houston Grand Opera, where he received the Silver Rose Award in 2013. He has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. He has served on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Dolora Zajick Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, the International Vocal School in Moscow, Le Chiavi di Bel Canto and has served on the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, the Bolshoi Opera Young Artist Program, Opera Australia, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Chautauqua Opera and Wolf Trap Opera. Mr. Bado regularly judges for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and served as Houston Grand Opera’s Head of Music Staff for 14 seasons.
Canadian mezzo-soprano Judith Forst has sung with most major opera companies throughout North America and Europe, including over 250 performances with the New York Metropolitan Opera, where she returned in 2013 for her 20th season. She has performed frequently with the San Francisco Opera Company, the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, Dallas Opera, Houston Lyric Opera, New York City Opera and the Vancouver Opera Association. Recent European engagements have included performances in Italy, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. She made her debut at Italy’s legendary La Scala in 2006 singing KABANICHKA in Janacek’s Kata Kabanova. Ms Forst’s most recent North American successes have included highly-acclaimed performances as KABANICHA at the Met, KOSTELNICKA in Janacek’s Jenufa with the Dallas Opera, and Dead Man Walking with the Pittsburgh Opera. She has sung for over 10 seasons with the Santa Fe Opera. Her 2013 performances of the OLD PRIORESS in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites with the Canadian Opera Company were hailed as “emotionally shattering” and “magnificent.” Ms Forst scored a personal and critical triumph in 2010 with her world premiere performance as LILIAN ALLING with the Vancouver Opera Association. She performed another world premiere with the Calgary Opera in January 2011, singing in Bramwell Tovey’s The Inventor. Ms. Forst’s busy schedule includes a return to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, where in 2017 she will perform in DEAD MAN WALKING. In 1991 Ms Forst received an honourary Doctorate of Letters from the University of British Columbia, the first performing artist alumna to be so honoured, and in 1995, the University of Victoria conferred upon Ms Forst an Honourary Doctorate of Music. In 1992, Forst was inducted into the Order of Canada and in 2001 she was inducted into the Order of British Columbia. In 2004, she received Canada’s prestigious RUBY AWARD marking her distinguished worldwide career in opera.
Ben Heppner is renowned worldwide for his portrayals in the dramatic tenor repertoire. His illustrious career has taken him to opera stages and concert halls around the world. He is acclaimed for the beauty of his voice, incisive musicianship, and his generosity with his audience. His performances on the opera stage, in concert with the world's leading orchestras, in the most prestigious recital venues, and in recordings have set new standards in his demanding repertoire. Heppner studied music at the University of British Columbia. He first gained national attention in 1979 as the winner of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Talent Festival. In December 1998, CBC Television's Something Special featured Ben Heppner in an hour-long portrait of the artist. He is a 1988 winner of the Metropolitan Opera auditions and received Grammy® Awards in 1998 for his recording of Die Meistersinger on London/Decca records and in 2001 for his recording of Les Troyens with the London Symphony Orchestra on LSOLive. Ben Heppner is a Companion of the Order of Canada. Heppner now brings his voice to the airwaves of CBC Radio as host of Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, featuring the finest opera productions and recordings from around the world, as well as Backstage, where Ben share stories from behind the magic curtain and his passion for great classical music.
The University of Utah is hosting a masterclass for their vocal performance majors with Mr. Heppner from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on Monday, November 14.
The event is open for interested observers, details are copied below.