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WQXR Features

Video Webcast: The Metropolitan Opera National Council Award Winners

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This Tuesday, April 1 at 7 pm, see the 2014 winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in The Greene Space at WQXR. The event, which will be webcast on this page, marks their first New York performance following the grand finals concert on March 30.

Soprano and former National Council Audition Winner Deborah Voigt will join the winners in a varied program of operatic selections. Hosted by Operavore's Naomi Lewin.


This year’s winners are Julie Adams, a 26-year-old soprano from Burbank, CA; Patrick Guetti, a 26-year-old bass from Highland Park, NJ; Ao Li, a 26-year-old bass-baritone from Dezhou China, currently living in San Francisco, CA; Yi Li, a 29-year-old tenor from Jinan, China currently living in Silver Spring, MD; and Amanda Woodbury, a 26-year-old soprano from Crestwood, KY.

The "American Idol" of opera, the National Council Auditions is considered to be the most prestigious contest in opera, giving singers ages 20 to 30 a chance to perform in front of some of the nation's top managers and talent scouts. Each of the (approximately) five winners walks away with $15,000 in cash; additionally, four semifinalists receive $5,000 a piece.

Finalists were chosen from a field of 1,500 from across the U.S. and Canada, auditioned at the district and regional levels. Past award recipients have included Renée Fleming, Susan Graham and Thomas Hampson.

More about the Five Winners

Julie Adams, 26 (Western Region: Burbank, CA)

A soprano from Burbank, California, Julie Adams graduated with a bachelor’s degree in voice from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She appeared at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara in 2013, where she played the role of Pamina in The Magic Flute.

Patrick Guetti, 27, bass (Middle Atlantic Region: Highland Park, NJ)

Patrick Guetti started out in musical theater, getting a bachelor's degree in musical theater followed by a master's in vocal performance, both from the Catholic University of America. He has been a resident at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and has sung with Opera Philadelphia and Dallas Opera, among other companies.

Ao Li, 26, bass-baritone (Rocky Mountain Region: Dezhou, China, currently living in San Francisco, CA)

A native of Dezhou, Chin, Ao Li studied at Shangdong Normal University and is currently a third-year Adler Fellow, a residency designed for young singers at the San Francisco Opera. There, he has sung a number of roles including that of Ascanio Petrucci (Lucrezia Borgia), El Dancairo (Carmen for Families), Lorenzo (Capuleti e i Montecchi) and Sciarrone (Tosca). Last August he took first prize in Placido Domingo's Operalia Competition.

Yi Li, 30, tenor (Middle Atlantic Region: Jinan, China, currently living in Silver Spring, MD)

A native of Jinan, China, tenor Yi Li is participating in Washington National Opera's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. He recently received his Artist Diploma from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He represented China in the 2013 Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in summer 2013. Yi Li is graduate of San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program.

Amanda Woodbury, 26, soprano (Western Region: Crestwood, KY)

Soprano Amanda Woodbury is a member of Los Angeles Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. She made her LA Opera debut as Micaëla in Carmen, with subsequent appearances as Papagena in The Magic Flute. Last year she performed Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi at the Aspen Music Festival, and she was also a soloist in the Britten Art Song Prelude at the Colburn School.


The Other Candidates Were:

Nicole Haslett, 26, soprano (Northwest Region: Mt. Laurel, NJ)

A native of Mount Laurel, NJ, Nicole Haslett graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with a master’s in vocal performance in 2012. She spent six weeks in Beijing studying Mandarin opera as part of the I Sing Beijing program. She has been performing in Portland Opera's resident opera program in Portland, Oregon.

Rafael Moras, 27, tenor (Gulf Coast Region: San Antonio, TX)

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Rafael Moras is a master's student at Rice University. He received his bachelor's degree from the  University of Texas at San Antonio and has received a number of awards: as a National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts Young ARTS Winner, United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts and as a finalist in the Houston Grand Opera’s 2013 Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers.

Christopher Lowrey, 30, countertenor (New England Region: Johnston, RI)

Countertenor Christopher Lowrey advances to the finals this year after having made the New England Regional Finals of the 2013 National Council Auditions. He holds degrees from Brown University, St John's College, Cambridge and the Royal College of Music International Opera School. He has an active touring career and has recorded Handel arias for EMI's Emerging Artists Series, Handel and Vivaldi Dixit Dominus for Harmonia Mundi, and Bernstein's Missa Brevis on Hyperion.

Rexford Tester, 24, tenor (Middle Atlantic Region: Tazewell, VA)

Rexford Tester is in his second year master's student at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. He is slated to enter Santa Fe Opera’s prestigious apprentice program, where he will