Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mark Diamond Wins Eleanor McCollum Competition

Diamond (right) getting a lesson at Glimmerglass
"The 23-year-old baritone took first place in Houston Grand Opera's 23rd annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers. The winners were selected during last week's Concert of Arias at Wortham Theater Center, the final round in which eight singers each performed two arias. 'I did not expect to win,' Diamond says, 'so it's pretty exciting. HGO is an amazing company, and this competition has a spectacular reputation.' Diamond won with his performances of the arias 'Hai già vinta la causa; from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and 'Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen' from
The winner with Flicka
Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Die tote Stadt." Judges for the competition included Frederica von Stade, Patrick Summers and Anthony Freud. More than 700 singers from around the world applied for this year's competition. Contestants vied for $25,000 in cash prizes. Baritone Thomas Florio won the second-place prize, soprano Lauren Snouffer won third place, and bass Adam Lau received the Audience Choice Award. Mark Diamond has accepted an offer to join the Houston Grand Opera Studio beginning in the fall 2011. Biography and pictures of Mark Diamond after the jump. [Source, Source, Source]

Born 1988 in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and raised in Evans (a suburb of Augusta), Georgia, Mark Diamond graduated Greenbrier High School before receiving his undergraduate degree in music education at Georgia Southern University and is currently finishing his master's degree a the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He originally planned to teach choral music, but after taking voice lessons discovered he had potential for a career as a singer. Soon he was participating in summer programs like the Aspen Music Festival. He went on to cover Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia for Aspen Opera Theater. Other past engagements include Bob in The Old Maid and The Thief and Damis in Mechem’s Tartuffe at Capitol City Opera, as well as Dr. Gregg in Gallantry and the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro at Georgia Southern Opera. He has also been a soloist for Fauré Requiem with Wesley Chancel Choir and Orchestra in Savannah, Georgia. In 2010, he was a member of the Glimmerglass Young Artist Program (with tenor Juan José de León) where he sang the role of Top in Copland's The Tender Land and covered the role of Araspe in Händel's Tolomeo. He was also a Southeastern Regional Finalist in the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He was the recipient of the 2010 Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation. Recently he made his Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra debut as a soloist in Händel's Messiah. In the summer of 2011, he will sing Figaro in San Francisco Opera's Merola Program production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. [SourceSourceSource]


Mark, tell me a little about your family.
 I am one of five siblings and we all grew up in the Augusta area or the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area). My family goes to West Acres Baptist Church in Evans, GA. My mother works as director of Nursing at Alliance Hospice and my Father works at Savannah River Sight(SRS).

When did you first realize you were interested in music?
I first found an interest in music in high school at Greenbrier High at which point I was involved in community theater in Augusta. I then decided to pursue a degree at Georgia Southern University for Music Education. After a few years studying voice there I changed tracks slightly in order to pursue a career in vocal performance. I did complete my Music Education degree there in May of 2010.

What made you decide to pursue the Young American Artists Program at Glimmerglass?
After going to Aspen Music Festival and School last summer I was encouraged to really dive head first into the audition circuit, at which point I auditioned and was offered the role of “Top” in Copland’s The Tender Land.

What is your favorite food?
My favorite type of food is southern home cooking like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mac ‘n cheese, and casserole.

If you were stranded on an island and could only have three possessions with you, what would they be?
If I could have only three possessions they would be a Frisbee, a friend and a piano. A Frisbee because I can entertain myself for hours with it and I played ultimate for years now, a friend because I might go crazy if I didn’t have someone to share things with, and a piano because I have always wanted to be better at playing and if I had one I am sure I would.

Interview with Brittaney Brentzel (PR Intern, Glimmerglass Opera).  [Source]

Mark Diamond as Dr. Gregg and Rebecca Patrick Flaherty as Nurse Lola in Douglas Moore's Gallantry:

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