Winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions-Upper Midwest District

Oct. 24, 2011

Brookfield’s Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts has been the home of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions- Wisconsin District for the past four years. The auditions have been generously sponsored for 10 years at the Wilson Center by Kate Wilson, Mary Lou Gillstrom, and Carrie Gillstrom Matteson. This amazing all day event happens every year due to the commitment of the all volunteer staff lead by Director Kathy Pyeatt of Cedarburg and Assistant Director Tanya Kruse of Waukesha. Pat and Phil Crump of Brookfield have been instrumental in the district’s success having been involved with the auditions for 39 years (Mrs. Crump serving as the sole Director during most of those years).


The mission of the National Council is to: discover exceptional young talent, provide a venue for young opera singers from all over the country and to search for new talent for the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Past winners of these National Council Auditions have gone on to have very successful operatic careers such as Renee Fleming, Debra Voigt and Ben Heppner.


This year’s judges (lead by opera legend Carol Vaness) have chosen 5 singers to advance to the Upper Midwest Region Auditions in St. Paul, Minnesota: Joseph Beutel, Alisa Suzanne Jordheim, Anthony Reed, Darik Knutsen (not shown in picture) and Kathryn Leemhuis. Each singer was awarded $1750. The winner of the Upper Midwest Region will advance to the National Semi Finals on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In addition to the winners the judges handed out $450 encouragement awards to 12 singers: Tim Rebers, Kelley Hollis, Saira Frank, Kevin Newell, Lindsay Sessing, Caitlin Shirley, Michael Roemer, Aiden Smerud, Chelsey Spaeth, Meghan Seubert, Ashley Mispagel and John Arnold. The audience also had a chance to vote for their favorite, Rhea Olivacee and Curtis Bannister tied, splitting the $250 award.


All of the monies awarded come from generous donors in the greater Milwaukee community. Leading the way is the Henry H. Uihlein, Sr. & Marion (Polly) S. Uihlein Foundation, Milton R. Sheffield Trust and the Florentine Opera Club along with several individual donors.


For more information about the Wisconsin District please visit their website at: or friend them on facebook: Metropolitan Opera Auditions- Upper Midwest-WI District


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