2013 Met National Council Auditions Grand Finals Concert

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Tthe Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions draws thousands of singers every year, each vying for a cash prize, a role on the Met stage and, if all goes well, a shot at opera's big time.

WQXR's broadcast takes you to the Grand Finals Concert, which took place at the Met in March.

Now in its 60th season, the National Council Auditions start with a pool of nearly 1,500 young singers who compete in auditions throughout North America. That pool was eventually narrowed down to eight singers for the Finals Concert, each of whom would sing two arias each with the Met orchestra, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Five prizes of $15,000 each were at stake; the remaining National Finalists receiving $5,000 to further assist in their careers.

This year’s winners are: Michael Brandenburg, a  26-year-old tenor from Austin, IN; Brandon Cedel, a 25-year-old bass-baritone from Hershey, PA; Sydney Mancasola, a 25-year-old soprano from Redding, CA; Musa Ngqungwana, a 28-year-old bass-baritone from Port Elizabeth, South Africa; Rebecca Pedersen, a 21-year-old soprano from Bountiful, UT; and Thomas Richards, a 24-year-old bass-baritone from Burnsville, MN.

The Grand Finals Concert was hosted by soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, a 1995 National Council Auditions winner. During the judges’ deliberations, she sang the aria “Pace, pace, mio Dio,” from Verdi’s La Forza del Destino.

Below: Watch the winners in The Greene Space at WQXR: