8 vocalists to compete in finals Sunday

Annapolis Opera audience will be able to vote

January 30, 2003|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Fans of classical singing can vote for their favorites among the eight young competitors and try to outguess the professional judges on hand Sunday afternoon at the Annapolis Opera 15th Annual Vocal Competition Finals Concert at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

Not only will audience members be able to cast ballots to determine the "Audience Favorite Award" from among the finalists after last weekend's competition, which narrowed the selection to eight, but they will enjoy the suspense of anticipating who will be chosen the first-place winner.

This will be an afternoon that showcases young talent, including soloists from the Naval Academy, who will entertain while the judges deliberate. And everyone will be able to enjoy this afternoon of beautiful music at no cost.

The vocal competition has been a favorite event for Annapolis Opera subscribers and devotees of classical singing for the past 15 years, half of the company's existence.

Again this year, the event is offered to the public at no charge through a grant from the Helena Foundation. No tickets will be issued, and there will be no assigned seating, except for a section reserved for donors. For best seat selection, it is suggested that audience members arrive well before the 3 p.m. start of the program.

This year's competition drew 75 singers, the largest number of applicants ever, said an Annapolis Opera spokesman. Last weekend's panel of three judges chose the eight finalists from applicants 18 to 35 who had been recommended by local coaches or teachers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and Washington.

All contestants are required to sing two arias from the group of five they have prepared - one of their own choice, another to be chosen by the judges. Singers are encouraged to select arias that demonstrate their technical skill and vocal expressiveness in a trio of languages.

The eight singers participating in the finals - Lorraine Hinds, Toni Stefano, Rayanne Gonzales, Lori Lind, Dongwon Shin, Jason Ferrante, Margaret Anne Helmick and Timothy Scott Mix - include four sopranos, one mezzo-soprano, two tenors and one baritone.

The eight finalists who will perform in the Vocal Competition Finale Concert all will receive cash awards ranging from $300 through the grand prize of $1,600.

Several past vocal competition award winners have appeared in later Annapolis Opera productions.

Angela Fout, winner of the 2000 competition, starred as Fiordiligi in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte and as Rosalinde in this season's Die Fledermaus. Vocal competition winner Daeson No sang the title role in the fall 2000 production of Verdi's Rigoletto with Lori Hultgren - another former competition winner singing the role of Maddalena in the same production.

Information: 410-267-8135.

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