National Council Auditions Northwest Region Finals
A panel of distinguished opera judges chose soprano Ashley Dixon as first place winner in Sunday’s Metropolitan Opera National Council Northwest’s Regional Auditions in Benaroya Hall in Seattle, WA. Mezzo-soprano, Ashley Dixon, from Peachtree City, Georgia holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Music from Louisiana State University. She has studied with such esteemed professors as Lori Bade and Freda Herseth as well as working with such conductors and coaches as Jerome Shannon, Martin Katz and Kathleen Kelly. Ms. Dixon is an artist whose studies have left her at home on both the opera stage and in the recital hall.
Most recently, Ms. Dixon was engaged to sing the role of Mrs. Splinters with the Michigan Opera Theater’s The Tender Land. She has additionally been engaged as La Ciesca in Merola Opera Program’s production of Gianni Schicchi and Mrs. Nolan in their production of The Medium. While at Des Moines Metro Opera she performed the role of Flora Bervoix in their production of La traviata. She was also seen on the opera stage as Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Zweiter Dame in Die Zauberflöte and the title role of Giulio Cesare at the University of Michigan. Other role highlights are Carmen in La tragédie de Carmen, Angelina in La cenerentola and Prince Orlofsky in “Die Fledermaus” at Louisiana State University.
Ms. Dixon, being no stranger to oratorio, was seen as the soloist in Händel’s Messiah with the Community Chorus of Detroit, Raine United Methodist church and St. Luke’s Episcopal church. She was most recently seen as the soloist in Rossini’s Petite Messe solenelle with the Oakland Choral Society. Additionally, Ms. Dixon was brought on as a concert soloist with the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra and has performed as soloist in the Beethoven mass in C with the First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor.
Additional engagements for Mr. Dixon include being a participant of the 2015 Merola Opera Program and being engaged as a young artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera in 2013 and 2014.
Ashley Dixon now advances to the Semi-Finals, which take place at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City Sunday, April 22, 2018. There she will compete with the winners of twelve other regional auditions, and receive coaching from the Met’s artistic staff.
Tied for second place were Shane Hanson, countertenor, Age 25, Chilliwack BC, and Jasmin White, Soprano, Age 24, Grand Ronde, Oregon, who will both receive $3,000 apiece.
All the participants in Sunday’s auditions (including the winners) were awarded $500.
The distinguished Region Finals judges were: Gregory Henkel, Managing Director: Artistic Administration at the San Francisco Opera; Bénédicte Jourdois, Voice Faculty, The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and Edward Berkeley, The Juilliard School Faculty (primarily as director of undergraduate opera studies) and teaches Shakespeare at Circle in the Square Theater School and Pace University.
David McDade, Seattle Opera's principal coach, pianist, and assistant chorus master, performed as accompanist. He has been the offical accompanist for the MONC NW many times, and has played piano and celest with the Seattle Symphony in the pit of the Opera House.
Daniel Sumegi, Australian bass-baritone, performed as Guest Artist while the judges made their decision. Sumegi made his debut in 1988 and has had an impressive career. With over 100 roles in his repertoire, he has sung at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden and the Paris Opera, as well as major opera companies across the United States, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. As a successful young artist, he was the recipient of numerous scholorships awards and competitions including the 1994 Metroplitan Opera National Council Grand Finals. He has won most of the singing prizes that exist in Australia! Daniel is currently performing the role of Don Pedro in Seattle Opera's Beatrice and Benedict and will be performing in Seattle Opera's next production, Aida
The days events also included a master class with Bénédicte Jourdois. Pianist, vocal coach, and French diction and language teacher Bénédicte Jourdois is a graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera. She is currently on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, and the Curtis Institute of Music, and is a guest coach for the Washington National Opera’s Domingo Cafritz Young Artist Program. Ms. Jourdois plays and coaches for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has been on the music staff of the Chautauqua Institution Voice Program. She has performed in numerous venues in Europe and in the United States, including Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and has worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Philadelphia, the Castleton Festival, and Spoleto Festival USA. Ms. Jourdois holds degrees from the Conservatoire National de Region de Saint-Maur, the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Lyon, Mannes College, and the Juilliard School.
articipants in the Master Class were Dora Barnes, Soprano; Katie Kibota, Mezzo-soprano, and Lauren Kulsea, Soprano. These young talented singers recently competed in the Metropolitan Opera Washington District Auditions. Dora Barnes performed "Adieu notre petite table" from Act II of the French opera Manon by Jules Massenet, Katie Kibota performed "Nobles seigneurs, salut!" from Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots Lauren Kulsea performed "O luce di quest'anima" from Donzinetti's Linda di Chamounix. Li-Tan Hsu, a prizewinner from the Liszt Garrison Competition, was the accompanist. Dr. Li-Tan Hsu currently works with Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera regularly.