A current UT School of Music grad student, Linda Brimer, and an alumnus of the school, Leah Kaye Serr, were two of the three winners of the 2013 Metropolitan Opera Middle/East Tennessee district auditions held on Saturday, January 5, at the James R. Cox Auditorium. Mabs Seay, of Northport, Alabama, was also a winner. The three women advance to the Mid-South Region competition in Memphis on January 26th. Region winners will advance to the semi-finals and finals competitions held in New York at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center.
(Phyllis Driver, Linda Brimer, Leah Kaye Serr, Mabs Seay, Shelley Page)
The distinguished judges for the district competition were Delores Ziegler, Anthony Laciura, and Frederick Burchinal. Laciura, a well known comprimario tenor and actor currently appearing as Eddie Kessler in HBO's Boardwalk Empire, will be directing Knoxville Opera's La fanciulla del West in February. Ziegler is currently chair of the Voice/Opera Division at the University of Maryland's School of Music. Ziegler's career began locally with an undergraduate degree from Maryville College and a Masters of Music from UT. Burchinal is currently a professor of voice and director of opera at the University of Georgia. His long career included twenty plus years at the Met including the title role in Verdi's MacBeth.
The judges also conferred Encouragement Awards on four singers:
Eliza Bonet, mezzo-soprano of Stone Mountain, Georgia
Julianne Grace Park, soprano from Bloomington, Indiana
José Rubio, baritone, of Vancouver, Washington
Timothy Bruno, lyric bass from Toledo, Ohio
The Middle/East Tennessee District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council is a co-sponsorship between the Knoxville Opera Guild and the Nashville Opera Guild, Phyllis Driver and Shelley Page, co-directors.