Members of the Denver Lyric Opera Guild gathered for the monthly opera meeting on Tuesday, April 5 at the Columbine Country Club to hear the top 10 finalists in the organization’s annual competition for singers in Colorado.
DLOG’s mission is to elevate and support the power and beauty of the human voice, and the organization was founded in 1965 to support the local Lyric Theater, which later became the Denver Lyric Opera Company.
When the opera company was forced to close due to prohibitive costs, the guild focused on other programs to encourage young singers and came together to listen and learn, enjoying the company of others. people with common interests. (New members are welcome – see the DLOG website.)
Over the years, the organization has not only supported young singers at the start of their careers, but has also awarded grants to Colorado colleges and universities to fund scholarships. The guild has been able to award $815,400 to contest winners over the years, growing from $5,150 in the first year to $38,000 in 2022.
This year’s preliminary competition included 30 young singers and was judged by Jonathan Hayes, Eapen Leubner and Marcia Ragonetti, who gave personal feedback to each. Fifteen finalists competed for judges Sam Mungo, Leenya Rideout, and Wei Wu. Many DLOG members donated time and support to organize the competitions and Kathy Van Arsdale, vice-president of the competition, served as emcee. during lunch.
Soprano Lauren Bumgarner, 25, who is working on her Master of Music in Vocal Performance at Colorado State University, won first place, $10,000, the Galen and Ada Belle Spencer Foundation Award. She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His proud mother was by his side for the concert and lunch at Columbine.
Second place, $5,000, the Kenneth King Foundation Prize, went to mezzo Kelly Riordan, 25, who is working on her master’s degree in vocal performance and pedagogy at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She recently received a Fulbright scholarship to study in Vienna, Austria for the next academic year.
Third place, $4,500, the Myrle F. Hoffman Memorial Award, went to 24-year-old soprano Tessa McQueen. A graduate of Oklahoma City University, she will sing with Central City Opera this summer and said she will attend Rice University in the fall.
Gabrielle Razafinjatovo, mezzo, 27, who placed fourth with the $4,000 Shirley and Marlis Smith Prize, is a graduate student in voice and pedagogy at the University of Colorado Boulder. She graduated from Minot State University and performed with the Minot Symphony Orchestra.
The fifth Gary and Gayle Landis Prize, $3,500, presented by Gayle Landis, went to mezzo Danielle Lombardi, 30, an Oberlin Conservatory graduate who holds a master’s degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and has performed with Opera Colorado and elsewhere.
Christina Hazen, a 27-year-old mezzo who won sixth place in the $3,000 Carole Johnson in Memory of Mary Wise Award, has a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Northern Colorado, is an alumnus of the Young Artists Vocal Academy at Houston Grand Opera and has an Artist Diploma from Cincinati College-Conservatory of Music. She will join Minnesota Opera as a resident artist for the 2022-2023 season.
Tenor Paul Wolf, 31, won the Beverly Ann Landis Memorial Award, $2,500. He works on a DMA at CU Boulder and has performed across the country.
Certificates of achievement, $1,000, went to sopranos Courtney Caston, 26, Alice Del Simone, 29, and Catherine Swindle, 30.