Young Patronesses of the Opera present the 27th annual YPO Voice Competition Finals 4/27/13

Young Patronesses of the Opera present the 27th annual YPO Voice Competition Finals
April 27, 2013, at 1:00 p.m.
Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Arsht Center
1300 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33132

Tickets are $25 for orchestra and $10 for mezzanine and above. Tickets may be purchased through the Florida Grand Opera ticket office at 800.741.1010 or online at .

Young Patronesses of the Opera (YPO), in conjunction with Florida Grand Opera (FGO), is proud to announce the 27th annual YPO Voice Competition. This year, the Finals Concert will be held for the first time at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. Offering a program of popular and significant arias as sung by today’s brightest young talents.
“We are not only looking to provide new opportunities for budding opera singers,” said Lucie Spieler, chairman of the YPO Voice Competition. “We also want to give the community the chance to experience their talent and fall in love with opera, whether for the first time or all over again.”
The competition began with hundreds of applicants, which have been narrowed down to 35 semifinalists set to audition in Miami on April 26. The following day, a hand-picked group of 12 finalists will perform giving the aspiring stars a taste of their future success.
“For more than 20 years, YPO and FGO have worked together to bring opera to the community in South Florida. This competition features the best young voices from across the nation and the proof is in the winners,” said Susan Danis, Florida Grand Opera’s CEO and General Director. “Past finalists – such as Michael Fabiano, Nadine Sierra, and Elizabeth Caballero – have gone on to successful international careers, singing leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and more.” 
Each of the 12 finalists will perform and compete for $46,000 in prizes, some of which include: the Senior Young Artist division (ages 26-30) grand prize of $8,000; the Junior Young Artist (ages 20-25) division grand prize of $7,500; the Troy Moss Memorial prize of $5,000; the Audience Favorite prize of $1,000, for which tickets buyers will have the chance to vote.
The YPO Voice Competition, held in Miami every other year, was founded in 1972 by Irene Patti Swartz Hammond. In 1988, YPO joined forces with Florida Grand Opera to create a truly prestigious national competition, awarding some of the highest prizes in the category. The chairman of the event is Lucie Spieler with co-chairmen Charlette Seidel and Renee Fink.
The judges for the 2013 competition include: Andrew Bisantz, music director of Eugene Opera and an American conductor with extensive credits leading national orchestras and opera companies throughout the country, most recently FGO’s Magic Flute; Gerald Martin Moore, pianist, conductor, and vocal coach who works with several notable singers, including Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, and Rolando Villazón; Maria Zouves, soprano, founder and director of V.O.I.C.Experience in Tampa, and associate director of Opera Tampa.
Contestants scheduled to compete in Miami for the semifinals are:

Junior Young Artist (aged 20 – 25):
Ryan Bradford, baritone (from Walnut Creek, California)
Sergio Cepeda, tenor
Betsy Diaz, soprano (from Miami, Florida)
Claire DiVizio, soprano (from Beverly Hills, Michigan)
Melissa Fajardo, mezzo-soprano
Gillian Hollis, soprano (from Miami, Florida)
Aumna Iqbal, soprano (from Newport Coast, California)
Michael Kuhn, tenor (from Crofton, Maryland)
Steven LaBrie, baritone (from Dallas, Texas)
Alyssa Martin, soprano (from Greensboro, North Carolina)
Rebecca Nathanson, soprano (from New Haven, Connecticut)
Edward Nelson, baritone (from Los Angeles, California)
Catherine Spitzer, soprano (from Hollywood, Florida)
Brian Vu, baritone (from New Haven, Connecticut)
Senior Young Artist (aged 26 – 30):
Viktor Antipenko, tenor (from St. Petersburg, Russia)
Noel Bouley, bass-baritone (from Houston, Texas)
Cynthia Cook, mezzo-soprano (from Whitehouse Station, New Jersey)
Stephen Fish, bass-baritone (from Cedar Falls Iowa)
Joseph Flaxman, baritone (from Succasunna, New Jersey)
Jeremy Griffin, bass-baritone (from Colorado)
Jeff Gwaltney, tenor (from Ocala, Florida)
Bevin Hill, soprano (from Atlanta, Georgia)
Carla Jablonski, mezzo-soprano (from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvia)
Adam Lau, bass (from San Francisco, California)
Hye Jung Lee, soprano (from Seoul, South Korea)
Kathryn Leemhuis, soprano (from New York, New York)
Matthew Maness, tenor (from Roanoke, Virginia)
Ryan Milstead, baritone (from Okolona, Mississippi)
Matthew Newlin, tenor (from Georgetown, Illinois)
Amy Oraftik, mezzo-soprano (from California)
Heather Phillips, soprano (from North Canton, Ohio)
Ola Rafalo, soprano (from Chicago, Illinois)
Brittany Ann Reneé Robinson, soprano (from Burnsville, Minnesota)
Lacy Sauter, soprano (from Duluth, Minnesota)
Melinda Whittington, soprano (from Wilson, North Carolina)
Funds for the competition are provided by Young Patronesses of the Opera, with ongoing support from Junior Opera Guild, Dr. and Mrs. Phillip George (the Judy George Award), Ms. Renée Fink (the Marvin A. Fink Memorial Award), the Irene Patti Swartz Hammond Memorial Award fund, and several individual donors.
All singers who participate in the Finals Concert win a prize. Donors who underwrite an award have the opportunity to name that award and present it to the winner on stage. For more information, please contact Lucie Spieler at (305) 854-1643, ext. 1521, or at

A luncheon prior to the event will be held at Barton G Restaurant onsite as chaired by Barbara Reese and Deborah Campbell. Tickets for the luncheon are $80, including both a three-course meal and a ticket to the concert. Luncheon tickets can also be purchased via the Florida Grand Opera Box Office.