The Kurt weill The Music Foundation announced the winners of the 23rd edition Monkfish Lenya Competition, which was held in front of an invitation-only audience at the Riverside Theater in New York City on August 28. The first prize of $ 20,000 was awarded to André Polec (USA, 32), who turned each of her four selections into a fully realized one-act drama. Victoria Okafor (United States, 26) won the second prize of $ 15,000, and Charles Eaton (US, 30) and Gan-ya Ben-gur Akselrod (Israel, 33) each received the third prize of $ 10,000. Four-time Contest finalist Akselrod recalled, “It’s not just singing, it’s not just acting, that’s it! That’s why it’s one of my favorite contests. ” For the first time ever, a modified version of the final will be available for free and on demand to audiences around the world starting Friday, September 10 via OperaVision.
The fifteen finalists were selected from a record pool of 500 entrants, from 29 countries and 39 US states. Some finalists have already appeared on Broadway and in London’s West End, as well as in some of the world’s greatest opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera and Theater an der Wien. Over $ 160,000 was awarded, the highest ever in a single year, bringing the total amount in Contest history to over $ 1.2 million.
The eminent final jury included the Tony Award-winning director and actor Victoria clark, Broadway Music Director and Conductor Andy Einhorn, and Obie, Tony and Emmy nominated actor, Marie beth peil, who launched her multi-faceted career as a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Peil, first-time judge of the Lenya competition, addressed the finalists at the awards ceremony: “I didn’t know I would need to bring a box full of Kleenex. You moved us, you made us laugh, you made us cry. Each of you, in your own way, is a winner. “
This year’s ceremony saw the very first presentation of the “Rebecca Luker Prize “for an exceptional performance of a selection” Golden Age “, following a celebration Luker tribute video, a six-time Contest judge, who succumbed to ALS in December 2020. Her husband, Danny burstein, presented the award to Taylor-Alexis DuPont (USA, 30) for his performance as Irving Berlin“Supper Time” by As Thousands Cheer.
Rebekah Howell (USA, 29) won the Kurt weill Prize – never awarded before – for an exceptional interpretation of two contrasting selections by Weill: “Wie lange noch?” and “What would the moon be for?” of Street scene. Max Chernin (United States, 31) received the Carolyn Weber Award for her exceptional creativity in designing a diverse program and her exceptional sensitivity to the text / music relationship. Symonette lily The awards for the outstanding performance of a single number were awarded to Katrina Galka (USA, 31) for “Caro nome” by Rigoletto and Kaileigh Shay Riess (USA, 26) for “Je suis encor tout étourdie” by Manon.
Each of the remaining finalists received $ 2,000: Ty Chiko (Bahamas, 32), Monica Dewey (United States, 31), Nicole Fernandez-Coffaro (United States, 28), Kaden Forsberg (Canada, 29) ), Helen Zhibing Huang (China, 31), and Katherine Riddle (United States, 30).
Each finalist performed a continuous fifteen-minute program of four contrasting numbers, including at least one by Kurt weill. The event also featured seven former winners singing selections from the Monkfish Lenya Songbook Competition, launched in 2020. The entire performance and award ceremony was broadcast live worldwide.
Applications open for the Lenya 2022 competition on September 1, 2021. For more information, visit https://www.kwf.org/lotte-lenya-competition/.