The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions program began in Minneapolis, St.Paul in 1954. The auditions are organized and produced by a network of over 1,500 volunteers in the 42 districts, which are grouped into 12 regions. The Northwest Region, one of the first to be established, is divided into four districts: Washington; Western Canada; Oregon; and Idaho/Montana.
The auditions are a nationwide competition beginning at the district level and culminating in the National Council Grand Finals Concert at The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Applicants may choose to enter any District audition across the country regardless of whether they are a resident of the area.
The National Council Auditions Semi-Finals and Grand Finals Concert take place at The Metropolitan Opera House during the spring season. At that time, the first place winners of the thirteen Regions are brought to New York for musical preparation under the guidance of The Metropolitan Opera’s Music Staff. They then audition with piano on The Metropolitan Opera stage before members of The Met Artistic Staff at the National Semi-Finals. Those not selected as National Finalists will receive a cash award of $1,500. All National Finalists will remain in residence at The Met for another week and continue to coach with The Met’s Music Staff in preparation for the Grand Finals Concert with The MET Orchestra. During this final audition they will compete before a public audience and a distinguished panel of judges for awards in the amount of $15,000. Finalists not chosen as Winners will receive $5,000. All travel and housing for participants at the national level is paid for and arranged by The Metropolitan Opera National Council. In addition, National participants will be given a per diem of $50 for each day they are in New York.