Saturday, March 5, 2011

Leah Crocetto Will Represent USA at Cardiff Singer of the World

"Tu che di gel sei cinta" Turandot (Puccini)
Leah Crocetto has been chosen as one of 20 singers to compete in the 2011 Cardiff Singer of the World competition to be held in Wales this June. She will represent the USA in hopes of winning the grand prize of £15,000 or even the £5,000 prize for lieder. The complete list of participants is after the jump.

The soprano was born 1980 in Adrian, Michigan. She has three younger sisters and as part of a big extended Italian family she says she has been listening to Luciano Pavarotti sing since she was in the womb. At 4 years old she would walk around the house singing "Non ti scordar di me" and "Nessun dorma" along with the record. Her father introduced her to all genres of music including Bob Dylan, the Rat Pack and even Earth, Wind & Fire. Her mother plays the piano, organ and clarinet. Both parents sang in choir and her father was even in a rock-n-roll band. She has one sister in politics that she says has a great voice. She saw her first operas when she was in fifth grade, Carmen and Tosca.

"Pace non trovo"
Tre sonetti del Petrarca (Liszt)
Growing up she attended private schools that were bible-based and after graduating high school she attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where she studied with Arnold Rawls. She only stayed at the school for a year and a half, but continued to study with her teacher. At 20 she took part in the Utah Festival Opera program for young artists. By 25 she moved to New York where she starting singing jazz and cabaret, including Sam's Club on 46th Street. To make ends meet she waited tables at the Olive Garden in Times Square. After her father became ill, she moved back to Michigan to care for him and got a degree in acting at Sienna Heights University. Her father passed away in 2009.

As a 2009 Adler Fellow in California
Last season she completed her third year as an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera. In 2010 she as a Grand Prize Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She garnered a triple victory as 1st Prize, Spanish Prize and People's Choice at the 2009 José Iturbi International Music Competition. She took first place in the Bel Canto Foundation competition. Crocetto is a recipient of a Sara Tucker Career Grant.

Future engagements include Il Trovatore at Opéra National de Bordeaux in 2011, as well as discussions of Maometto II (Rossini), La Traviata, Il Trovatore and the Verdi Requiem, all of which are in negotiations and not yet contracted. There is also discussion of Manon, Lucia di Lammermoor and I Puritani.

During the 2009-10 season she sang in the San Francisco Opera production of Il Trittico in Suor Angelica and covered the roles of Leonora in Il Trovatore and Desdemona in Otello. She joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel for performances of Verdi’s Requiem; a piece she prepared with Riccardo Muti for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Also this season, she will be featured in a Schwabacher Recital for the San Francisco Opera. Further concert performances include Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with San Francisco Opera and Nicola Luisotti, Schubert's Mass No. 2 in G major with Michael Tilson Thomas and San Francisco Symphony, and Handel’s Messiah in Anchorage, Alaska. In June 2010 she covered Pat Racette as Marguerite in Gounod's Faust with the San Francisco Opera. She also sang in Beethoven’s Symphony #9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra in August 2010 which was part of Charles Dutoit’s final season.

•She is on Twitter:

•Growing up her family always had male animals, a dog, Samson, and a cat, Simon, to balance all the girls in the house.

•She played volleyball and softball in high school. She now works out three days a week with a personal trainer and has changed her eating habits to lose weight while becoming healthier.

Singing with John Relyea at Stern Grove 2010
•The pieces she sang for the José Iturbi included art songs in Russian (Liszt and Rachmaninoff), two Spanish pieces (Obradors and Rodrigo), Gershwin’s “The Man I Love” and Porter’s “So in Love,” Fauré’s “Après un rêve,” and five opera arias: “Ach, ich liebte,” “D’amor sull’ali rosée,” “Depuis le jour,” “Do Not Utter a Word,” and "Chi il bel sogno di Doretta." As a result of the competition she formed a friendship with pianist Martin Katz and the duo are performing together as a result.

•For the National Council Auditions Grand Finals Concert at the MET she sang Verdi’s “Ernani, involami” from Ernani and "Chi il bel sogno di Doretta" (during the preparations for the concert she also coached “Sombre forêt” from Rossini’s Guglielmo Tell). At the reception for the event, she said a cute little woman came up to her and said, “My name is Marni, and I’m a great fan of yours.” It was Marni Nixon. That night she also me Frederica von Stade and Marilyn Horne.

•She sang the Verdi Requiem under Riccardo Muti with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

•Her hopes are to sing the Italian repertoire of dramatic bel canto like Guglielmo Tell and Maometto II, as well as Lucia di Lammermoor and early Verdi roles. Eventually she would like to sing Elisabetta in Don Carlo, Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera and Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly.

"Star-Spangled Banner" excerpt
•She sang the National Anthem for a Giants baseball game at AT&T stadium in 2009.

•Montserrat Caballé is her musical idol. She also admires Leontyne Price, Joan Sutherland and Maria Callas. Renata Scotto is also another soprano she listens to for interpretation.

•She enjoys the movie The Young Victoria, which happens to reference a discussion about Bellini and Schubert.

•She likes to keep her high voice flexible by singing “Regnava nel silenzio” and “Qui la voce.” She is currently auditioning with "Ach, ich liebte" from Die Entführung aus dem Serail.

•She is managed by Bill Guerri at Columbia Artists Management.

Her most recent recital program include the following repertoire:
2009 José Iturbi Competition with Martin Katz
Sei Ariette - Vincenzo Bellini
“Malinconia, Ninfa gentile”
“Vanne, o rosa fortunate”
“Bella Nice, che d’amore”
“Almen se non poss’io”
“Per pietà bell’ idol mio”
“Ma rendi pur contento”

Tre sonetti di Petrarca – Franz Liszt
“Pace non trovo”
“Benedetto sia’l giorno”
“I vidi in terra angelici costumi”

Twelve Romances for Voice and Piano, op. 21 - Sergei Rachmaninoff
“Sumerki” (Twilight)
“Siren” (Lilacs)
“Otrivok Iz A. Myusse” (Fragment from A. Musset)
“Zdes’ Khorosho” (How Fair this Spot)

Performing at Marcello Giordano Foundation concert 2010
Humanities - Gregory Peebles
“From Seamus (who wanted to be hospitable)”
“About Cory (who wants to be loved)”
“About Peri (who is nearsighted)”

Four Songs for Voice and Piano, op. 13 - Samuel Barber
“A nun takes the veil”
“The Secrets of the Old”
“Sure on this Shining Night”

Selections from Canciones clásicas españolas - Fernando Obradors
“¿Corazón porqué pasáis?”
“Del cabello más sutil”
“Chiquitita la novia”

With Josh Dudamel after Verdi Requiem in L.A.
Songs of Cole Porter and George Gershwin
“The Man I Love”
“Embraceable You/I’ve Got a Crush on You”
“So in Love”
“In the Still of the Night”
“He Loves and She Loves/The Man That Got Away
“Every time we say Goodbye”

[Source, Source, Source]


WALES - John Pierce, 28, tenor
Born and educated in Flintshire, Pierce studied with Jeffrey Lawton at the Royal Northern College of Music. He won the Joyce and Michael Kennedy Strauss Prize in 2008 and the Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Award in 2009. A recent Samling scholar, his other prizes include the MOCSA Young Welsh Singer of the Year and Welsh Singers Competition, which gave him automatic entry to BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2011. Pierce is currently training with Ryland Davies at the National Opera Studio in London. Operatic roles include Rodolfo – La bohème (British Youth Opera), Boris – Katya Kabanova and Alfredo – Die Fledermaus (RNCM), Nemorino – L’elisir d’amore and the Duke – Rigoletto. Future plans include Pinkerton – Madama Butterfly for Mid Wales Opera.

ARMENIA - Vazgen Ghazaryan, 32, bass
Ghazaryan won the 2004 Young Opera Singers’ Competition in Yerevan, Armenia, and in 2010 won the Aurio Tomicich bass prize at the Concorso Internazionale di Musica Viotti in Italy. He’s now in his fourth season at Theater Erfurt.

AUSTRALIA - Helen Sherman, 29, mezzo-soprano
Sherman graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2010. She won the International Opera Productions prize in the 2007 Australian Singing Competition and in 2009 was selected for representation by the Young Concert Artists Trust. At the RNCM Helen sang Varvava in Katya Kabanova among others.

BULGARIA - Maria Radoeva, 26, soprano
Born in Sofia, Radoeva studied at the National Music Academy of Sofia and now continues her studies in Modena. Her competition successes include prizes at the Georgi Zlatev-Cherkin competition and the Golden Prize at the Spring Festival of Arts, Korea. She made her operatic debut as Zerlina in Don Giovanni.

CANADA - Sasha Djihanian, 25, soprano
Djihanian graduated from the Montreal Music Conservatory with distinction. She was awarded the Bohuslav Martinu prize at the Czech and Slovak International Voice Competition in 2009 and received First Prize in the District and Regional rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2010 and 2011.

CHILE - Marcela González, 24, soprano
Born in Santiago de Chile, González studied clarinet at the University of Chile. She has been awarded an annual scholarship by the Corporación de Amigos del Teatro Municipal de Santiago since 2009. She’s currently developing her repertoire.

CHINA - Wang Lifu, 24, baritone
Lifu comes from Shandong Province and is currently a member of the masters programme at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Lifu was awarded the first prize in the Higher Education Operatic Competition in China in 2007.

ENGLAND - Meeta Raval, 28, soprano
Raval attended Wells Cathedral School and was the first Head Girl Chorister in the country. She graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with a first class honours degree and was awarded a Diploma of Distinction by Royal Academy Opera. Meeta won the Dame Eva Turner Prize and the Royal Academy of Music Pavarotti Prize.

GERMANY - Susanne Braunsteffer, 31, soprano
Braunsteffer studied at the Mozarteum Salzburg. In 2009, she joined the Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan, where she works with singers including Mirella Freni, Luciana Serra and Renato Bruson. She has performed in concerts throughout Europe and taken part in the Festival MiTo in Milan, in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. In the summer of 2010 she made her debut as Micaela Carmen in a tour of Belgium.

IRELAND - Máire Flavin, 28, mezzo-soprano
Flavin was born in Dublin and is studying at the National Opera Studio, having completed the opera course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she received a Masters in Music Performance with distinction. She has received the concerto prize at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

ITALY - Davide Bartolucci, 24, baritone
Bartolucci studied with Doriana Giuliodoro at the GB Pergolesi Conservatoire, Ancona, the Academy at the Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro, the Teatro Real Opera Studio, Madrid and the Opera School of Bologna. In 2008 he won a prize in the international AsLiCo competition singing the role of Dr Malatesta in Don Pasquale.

MOLDOVA - Valentina Nafornita, 24, soprano
Nafornita graduated from the Stefan Neaga Music College in Kishinev in 2006 and continued her training in Romania, at the voice department of the National University of Music in Bucharest. Recent prizes include the Orange Prize for Young Musicians, Romania, in 2009.

NEW ZEALAND - Anna Leese, 30, soprano
A graduate of the University of Otago, the Royal College of Music and the Benjamin Britten International Opera School, Leese’s awards include the 2004 Royal Overseas League Competition and the 2005 Richard Tauber Prize. She made her Royal Opera House debut in 2006 as Tamiri Il rè pastore.

POLAND - Szymon Komasa, 25, baritone
Komasa studied at the Academy of Music in Lódz, from which he graduated with honours in 2009 in both cello and vocal studies. He is currently studying opera at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He took first prize at the Puccini International Singing Competition in Verona.

ROMANIA - Serban Vasile, 26, baritone
Vasile was born in Bucharest and graduated from the George Enescu Music High School, Bucharest. He continued his academic studies in the Singing Department of the National University of Music, graduating in 2009. He went on to debut as Marcello in La bohème in Burgas, Bulgaria.

RUSSIA - Olesya Petrova, 28, mezzo-soprano
Born in St Petersburg, Petrova graduated from the Rimsky-Korsakov St Petersburg State Conservatoire in 2008 where she had studied with Professor Irina Bogacheva. She has been a soloist with the St Petersburg Conservatoire Opera Theatre since 2007.

SOUTH KOREA - Hye Jung Lee, 27, soprano
Lee graduated from Seoul National University in 2006. She continued her studies at the Hochschule für Musik, Dresden and Mannes College of Music, New York. She was the recipient of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship 2006-2008 and winner of Metropolitan Opera Council in Indiana District in 2010.

UKRAINE - Andrei Bondarenko, 24, baritone
Bondarenko trained at the National Tchaikovsky Academy of Music in Kiev and the Kiev Conservatory. Since 2007 he has been a soloist in the Mariinsky Academy of Young Singers in St Petersburg. Awards include third prize at the 2006 International Rimsky-Korsakov vocal competition in St Petersburg.

URUGUAY - Enzo Romano, 31, bass-baritone
Romano was born in Montevideo and studied singing and repertoire at the Escuela Nacional de Arte Lírico and in Argentina. From 2006 he studied singing at the Instituto Superior de Arte, Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. He specialises in the buffo and contemporary repertoire. He won the first prize in the 2001 Juventudes Musicales Competition, Uruguay.

USA - Leah Crocetto, 31, soprano
Crocetto is from Adrian, Michigan, and is a third year Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera. She was a 2010 Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions; 1st Place Winner, People’s Choice and Spanish Prize winner at the José Iturbi International Music Competition and winner of a Sara Tucker Career Grant.

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