The 6th Annual Handel Aria Competition took place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at 7:30 in Mills Hall of the University of Wisconsin Madison Mead Witter School of Music. The seven finalists, selected from a field of 113 applicants from around the world, were accompanied by the Madison Bach Musicians under the direction of Trevor Stephenson.
First Prize: Suzanne Karpov
Second Prize: Sarah Hayashi
Third Prize: Sarah Coit
Audience Favorite: Lindsay Metzger
The finalists in the 2018 Handel Aria Competition:
• Sarah Coit, mezzo-soprano, from Spring Hill, FL
• Sarah Hayashi, soprano from Ellicott City, MD
• Suzanne Karpov, soprano from New York, NY
• Amanda Keenan, soprano from Los Angeles, CA
• Lindsay Metzger, mezzo-soprano, from Chicago, IL
• Ashley Valentine, soprano, from Minneapolis, MN
• Sarah Yanovitch, soprano, from Boston, MA
Sarah Coit, mezzo-soprano
Sarah Coit is a native of Spring Hill, FL. As a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, she covered Richard in the American Premiere of Handel’s “Richard the Lionheart”. She was a 2017 National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a 2018 George London Competition Finalist. She has performed with the Santa Fe Opera, Utah Opera, Utah Symphony, and Michigan Opera Theatre. Upcoming performances include a workshop of John de los Santos and Clint Borzoni’s “The Copper Queen” for Arizona Opera, the World Premiere of Dan Visconti and Cerise Jacobs’ “interactive video game opera” “PermaDeath” in Boston, and Mercédès in Carmen with Seattle Opera. Sarah holds Music Studies and Theatre Performance Bachelor Degrees from the University of South Florida and a Masters in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan.
Sarah Hayashi, soprano
Sarah Hayashi started her operatic studies at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore before continuing at the Royal College of Music in London and the Wales International Academy of Voice in Cardiff. Her operatic roles include the Fire, the Princess, and the Nightingale “L’Enfants et les Sortilèges”, Miss Ellen “Lakmé” [Peabody Opera Theatre]; Erste Knabe “Die Zauberflöte”, Emmie “Albert Herring” [Royal College of Music]; Belinda “Dido and Aeneas” [Little Patuxent Opera]; Euridice “Orphée aux Enfers” [Bel Cantanti Opera and Bearwood Opera]; Despina “Cosi fan tutte” [Seastar Opera]. This past January, Sarah made her role debut as Blonde Abduction from the Seraglio for the Bronx Opera. Sarah was a finalist in the London Handel Singing Competition, a winner of the RCM Concerto Competition, a winner of the RCM Early Music Competition, and a semi-finalist at the International Cesti Competition. Sarah is also a founding member of the Baroque chamber quartet, Chaconne Ensemble. With the group, she has performed throughout London, including at the Handel & Hendrix Museum in London, and at the Utrecht Early Music Fringe Festival.
Suzanne Karpov, soprano
Suzanne Karpov has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “elegant” soprano, both “incisive and tender”. A native of New York, Ms. Karpov recently made her Carnegie Hall debut as the soloist in Poulenc’s Gloria with DCINY in which she was praised for her “angelic voice” by The New York Concert Review. Equally at home on both the operatic and the concert stages, Ms. Karpov’s repertoire spans from the Baroque to the 21st century. This season Ms. Karpov appeared with the Washington Bach Consort in Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Boston Early Music Festival, her debut in San Francisco with American Bach Soloists in performances of Handel’s Messiah, her debut with The Richmond Symphony in Handel’s Messiah, and her Kennedy Center Concert Hall debut as the soprano soloist in their annual Messiah Sing-Along.
Amanda Keenan, soprano
Soprano and Southern California native Amanda Keenan received her music degree from California State University-Fullerton. Since beginning her career in Los Angeles, she’s performed on both opera and symphony stages. Notable solo engagements have included Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem, Mahler’s Second Symphony, and C.P.E. Bach’s Magnificat. She “captivated” San Francisco audiences in Bach’s B Minor Mass and Purcell’s King Arthur with the American Bach Soloists. In February, Amanda made her Pacific Symphony debut as Adele in Die Fledermaus, and she is looking forward to singing the role of Dorinda in Handel’s Orlando with the Corona Del Mar Baroque Orchestra in June.
Lindsay Metzger, mezzo-soprano
Current Ryan Opera Center mezzo-soprano Lindsay Metzger has been featured on the Lyric Opera of Chicago stage in Le nozze di Figaro, Der Rosenkavalier, Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Quichotte and Carmen. She was an apprentice artist with Des Moines Metro Opera and a studio artist with Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera (Giannetta/L’elisir d’amore). Among her other recent portrayals have been Daphné/ Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers, Cherubino/Le nozze di Figaro, the title role/Ariodante, and Béatrice/Béatrice et Bénédict. She is a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions, Luminarts Women’s Classical Voice Fellowship, Best Vocal Artist Award from the American Opera Society, and Virginia Cooper Meier Award from the Musician’s Club of Women. In 2018 Metzger will return to the Harris Theater’s Beyond the Aria recital series, perform Nicklausse/Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Aspen Music Festival and make her Dallas Opera debut as Mercédès/Carmen.
Sarah Yanovitch, soprano
Recognized by The Boston Globe as “a name to keep an eye on”, soprano Sarah Yanovitchis a graduate of the Early Music Voice program through the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Ms. Yanovitch is a frequent soloist with Handel and Haydn Society and artistic director Harry Christophers. She made her solo debut at Tanglewood with H+H last summer singing Purcell’s Fairy Queen, and will sing the role of Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Christophers next season. In demand as both a soloist and chamber musician, Sarah recently made her debuts with Bach Collegium San Diego and Seraphic Fire. Other recent and upcoming solo engagements include Bach’s Mass in B Minor with Masaaki Suzuki and Juilliard 415 and again with Harry Christophers and H+H, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Emmanuel Music, Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus with conductor Scott Allen Jarrett, and BWV 80 with the Virginia Symphony.
Ashley Valentine, soprano
American soprano Ashley Valentine recently made her solo debut with the Nashville Symphony in Haydn’s masterpiece, The Creation, conducted by Nicholas McGegan. A passionate performer of early music, Valentine performed the title role in Handel’s Rodelinda at Indiana University, where she studied historical performance. She has sung with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra as a soloist in Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang, and the American Bach Soloists, portraying the role of Orfeo in the American premiere of Handel’s serenata, Parnasso in festa. Other performances include Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, concerts with a capella choir, Capella SF, under Ragnar Bohlin, Haydn’s Creation with the Bloomington Chamber Singers, and Bach Cantatas with the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project. Valentine holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied under mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook. Currently, she is pursuing her Master of Music degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London, studying under soprano Lillian Watson.
The 2018 Handel Aria Competition Judges:
Patrice Michaels, Director of Vocal Studies, University of Chicago
American soprano Patrice Michaels is distinguished by her eclectic musical personality and her vocal virtuosity. “A formidable interpretative talent” (The New Yorker) with “a voice that is light, rich and flexible” (Opera News), “Like the Romantic ideal of art, Patrice Michaels’ voice is both natural and passionate” (Classical CD Digest). Ms. Michaels has sung with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cleveland Opera, the Shanghai, CzechNational, St. Louis, Atlanta,and Minnesota Orchestras,the Maryland Handel Festival, New York’s Concert Royal, Chicago’s Music of the Baroqueand the Maverick Festival. She has over two dozen critically acclaimed recordings on Cedille, Albany, Neosand other labels. Patrice teaches master classes at schools such as the University of Tel Aviv, ISA Havana (Cuba), The Hartt School of Music, and Dreyfoos High School for the Performing Artsin West Palm Beach. Formerly Professor of Music for Lawrence University’s Conservatory of Music, she now serves as Director of Vocal Studies at the University of Chicago. www.patricemichaels.com
Drew Minter, Countertenor and Opera Director
Regarded for nearly four decades as one of the world’s finest countertenors, Drew Minter grew up as a boy treble in the Washington Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. He continued his education at Indiana University and the Musik Hochschule of Vienna. Mr. Minter appeared in leading roles with the opera companies of Brussels, Toulouse, Boston, Washington, Santa Fe, Wolf Trap, Glimmerglass, and Nice, among others. A recognized specialist in the works of Handel, he performed frequently at the Handel festivals of Göttingen, Halle, Karlsruhe, and Maryland. In addition to numerous oratorios societies, he has sung with many of the world’s leading baroque orchestras, including Les Arts Florissants, the Handel and Haydn Society, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and the Freiburger Barockorchester, and been a guest at festivals such as Tanglewood, Ravinia, Regensburg, BAM’s Next Wave, Edinburgh, Spoleto, and Boston Early Music; other orchestra credits include the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
For over two decades, Mr. Minter has directed much opera in America and Europe, and was artistic director of Boston Midsummer Opera from 2006-2011. In summers Drew often teaches workshops in the singing and acting of opera, including many seasons as director of the operas for Amherst Early Music. He has also directed for La Lingua della Musica in Novafeltria, Italy, as well as Queens College Baroque and Haymarket Opera. He has taught music at Vassar College since 1999.
Craig Trompeter, Artistic Director, Chicago’s Haymarket Opera Company
Craig Trompeter, Artistic Director of Chicago’s Haymarket Opera Company is an acclaimed cellist and violist da gamba. He has performed in concert and over the airwaves with Second City Musick, Music of the Baroque, the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Chicago Opera Theater. He has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Glimmerglass Festival, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Valletta International Baroque Festival in Malta. He has appeared as soloist at the Ravinia Festival, the annual conference of the American Bach Society, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and with Music of the Baroque. Trompeter has recorded works of Mozart, Biber, Boismortier, Marais, Handel, Greene, Henry Eccles, and a potpourri of Elizabethan composers on the Harmonia Mundi, Cedille, and Centaur labels. As a modern cellist, he was a founding member of the Fry Street String Quartet. He premiered several chamber operas by MacArthur Fellow John Eaton, performing as actor, singer and cellist. He has taught master classes at his alma mater, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Grinnell College, and the Chicago Musical College. In 2003 he founded the Feldenkrais® Center of Chicago where he teaches Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration®.