Second only to the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Grand Finals in importance, the Houston Grand Opera's 24th Eleanor McCollum Competition winners were announced Thursday night following its annual concert of arias.
Coming in first is a local vocalist, the preternaturally talented young soprano Andrea Carroll. A native of Maryland, Carroll, 22, has been heard frequently in New York with Manhattan School of Music's opera department (she'll graduate from the conservatory this spring) in roles such as Despina in Così fan tutte and the soprano soloist in Petite Messe Solennelle.
She was also a part of Glimmerglass Opera's young artist program last summer and appeared in the company's double-bill as Rose Segal in Later the Same Evening and also sang alongside Deborah Voigt in the ensemble of Annie Get Your Gun. She'll next be heard in March at MSM in Schubert's Die Verschworenen (“The Conspirators”) before obtaining her B.M. going down to Fort Worth, TX, to sing Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro.
Stealing second was Welsh soprano Natalya Romaniw, who carried a more imperious tone than her sweet-voiced colleague as seen in a determined "Come scoglio" befitting her Ukrainian heritage and inherent Slavic musical tones. Completing the international makeup was third-place winner Peixin Chen. The Chinese bass displayed a promising profundo voice tempered with rapid-fire patter that has the potential to ripen with age.
In addition to an Audience Choice Award of $1,000, Carroll took home the top pot of $10,000. Romaniw pocketed $5,000 and Chen gained $3,000, and hopefully both will be seen and heard in New York soon.