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Bard Conservatory Vocal Arts Student Wins Prestigious Metropolitan Opera Competition

Sung Eun Lee Is Named One of Four Winners of the 2009 National Council Auditions

Mark Primoff
 Image Credit: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Sung Eun Lee, a second-year master’s student in the Graduate Program in Vocal Arts at The Bard College Conservatory of Music, has been named one of four winners of the prestigious 2009 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Lee, 30, a tenor, was selected from eight finalists who performed arias with the Met Orchestra, conducted by Patrick Summers, at the Grand Finals Concert on February 22. Each winner receives a cash prize of $15,000.

Nearly 1,800 singers participated in this year’s auditions, which are held annually in 45 districts and 15 regions throughout the United States and Canada, sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council. Given the reach of the auditions, the number of applicants, and the long tradition associated with them, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are considered the most prestigious in North America for singers seeking to launch an operatic career. Equally important to the cash prizes is the opportunity to perform with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra on the historic opera house stage before an audience that includes opera company executives, artist managers, music critics, and other opinion-makers of the music world. Some winners are invited to join the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, which assists talented young singers through training and performance opportunities at the Met.

Past winners of the Met Auditions include many of today’s leading operatic artists such as Renée Fleming, Hei-Kyung Hong, Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Stephanie Blythe, Nathan Gunn, Ben Heppner, and Samuel Ramey. During a typical opera season, more than one hundred alumni of the Auditions are on the Met roster.

The Grand Finals Concert was recorded for broadcast at a later date on public radio stations across the United States. Check local listings for air times.

Sung Eun Lee earned his bachelor’s degree from Yonsei University in Korea and is in his second year of the Graduate Program in Vocal Arts at The Bard College Conservatory of Music. He sang Elvino in La Sonnambula and performed in group concerts in Italy as part of the 2006 Oberlin in Italy summer program. He has also sung Wilson Ford in Stephen Paulus’s The Village Singer and Summers in Cimarosa’s L’Italiana in Londra at the Manhattan School of Music. He was a 2007 regional winner of the National Council Auditions and last summer was a member of the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singer Program. He had a leading role in the world premiere performances of David Bruce’s A Bird in Your Ear at Bard in 2008. This May, he will be heard in a workshop with Osvaldo Golijov and Dawn Upshaw at Carnegie Hall before returning for his second summer in Santa Fe, where he is scheduled to sing The Headman in the world premiere of Paul Moravec’s The Letter.

About the Graduate Program in Vocal Arts
The Graduate Program in Vocal Arts at The Bard College Conservatory of Music is a two-year master of music degree conceived and directed by soprano Dawn Upshaw. The course work is designed to support a broad-based approach to a singing career that extends from standard repertory to new music. Alongside weekly voice lessons and diction and repertory courses is training in acting, as well as core seminars that introduce and tie together the historical/cultural perspective, analytical tools, and performance skills that distinguish vocal and operatic performance at the highest level. In addition to artistic director Dawn Upshaw, the program includes head of program Kayo Iwama; voice teachers Edith Bers, Patricia Misslin, and Lorraine Nubar; diction coaches Sharon Bjorndal and Jennifer Ringo; Alexander Technique teachers Gwen Ellison and Judith Grodowitz; and career workshop coordinator Carol Yaple. Master classes have been held with conductor James Conlon; pianists and vocal coaches Ken Noda and Pierre Vallet; vocalists Phyllis Curtin, Timothy Hill, and Lucy Shelton; and directors  Marc Verzatt, Eve Shapiro, and Peter Sellars.

About The Bard College Conservatory of Music
Building on its distinguished history in the arts and education, Bard College launched The Bard College Conservatory of Music, which welcomed its first class in August 2005. Now in its third year, the Conservatory’s undergraduate program is guided by the principle that musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. While training and studying for the bachelor of music degree with world-class musicians and teachers and performing in state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Frank Gehry–designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Conservatory students also pursue a bachelor of arts degree at Bard, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. Robert Martin serves as director of the Conservatory, Melvin Chen as associate director.

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This event was last updated on 03-13-2009