College Park tenor wins Md. vocal prize He takes 1st in state a day after placing 2nd at Met

February 05, 1997|By Mary P. Johnson | Mary P. Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Charles Reid, a tenor from College Park, won first place from the judges and the audience at the annual Maryland Vocal Competition Sunday at St. John's College's Key Auditorium in Annapolis.

It was the second prestigious prize for Reid in as many days. Saturday, he placed second in the Metropolitan Opera's vocal competition in New York.

The Maryland competition, sponsored by the Annapolis Opera Company to showcase talented young local singers, awards prizes from the judges but also allows the audience to vote. For the first time in memory, the audience chose the same artist selected by the judges.

Reid, who has sung with the Washington Bach Consort, the Spoleto USA 96 festival and the Central City Opera in Colorado, was magnificent in both arias he performed -- "Una Furtiva Lagrima" from "Elixir of Love" by Donizetti, and "Il Mio Tesoro" from Mozart's "Don Giovanni."

His rich tenor has great power, and he displayed amazing breath control as he sustained high notes with apparent ease.

Always a pleasant event, this ninth annual competition was especially enjoyable.

Thea Lindauer played host to the competition with a contagious enthusiasm for opera and warmth for her audience. And the caliber of the singers was impressive.

Voice quality was consistently high and often dazzling. Although a few singers might have lacked a little in technique or in stage presence, they compensated with vocal bravado. Voices exhibited phenomenal range; high notes were hit square on. There was much emphasis on trills and other coloraturalike ornamentation of melody, all contributing to the display of vocal fireworks.

Even better, the program was varied, with none of the too-familiar Caro Nome type arias.

One contestant, Joowon Roh, who did not place among the top three, made this listener's hair stand on end with her "Ah! Je Veux Vivre" from Gounod's "Romeo and Juliet."

Connie Coffelt, who placed second, displayed in "Dich Teure Halle" from Wagner's "Tannheuser" the voice and commanding stature needed to become a Wagnerian presence. Coffelt, who lives in Cockeysville, has sung with Colorado Lyric Opera, the Lyric Opera of Cleveland and the Sarasota.

Julie Keim of Potomac, who sings with the Cantata Chamber Singers in Bethesda and has performed with operas in Dallas and Irving, Texas, placed third.

The reception after the competition afforded the audience the opportunity to meet the contestants. Conversing with these talented singers was a rewarding conclusion to a delightful afternoon.

Pub Date: 2/05/97

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