L to R: Phyllis Driver, Jocelyn McCall (district co-directors); Alasdair Kent, Reilly Nelson, Alexandria Shiner, Chelsea Duval-Major, Kaitlyn Johnson, Brandon Russell; judges Melissa Wegner, Mark Gibson, and Keith Wolfe; Eden McNabb Bishop (president, Knoxville Opera Guild)
On Saturday, January 7, twenty-seven singers competed in the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for the Middle/East Tennessee District held in the University of Tennessee’s Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall. The district is one of five comprising the MONC’s Southeast Region. The judges chose three singers to advance to that next step, the Southeast regional auditions (Sunday, February 12, at Spivey Hall at Clayton State University in Atlanta, GA).
The advancing winners were mezzo-soprano Reilly Nelson of Cincinnati, Ohio; tenor Brandon Russell, also from Cincinnati, Ohio; and tenor Alasdair Kent of Philadelphia, PA.
In addition, three singers received Encouragement Awards: soprano Alexandria Shiner, Knoxvillian and UT School of Music alumnus; soprano Kaitlyn Johnson of Bloomington, IN; and mezzo-soprano Chelsea Duval-Major of Cincinnati, OH.
The judges were:
• Mark Gibson, music director of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory Philharmonia Orchestra
• Melissa Wegner, associate director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions
• Keith A. Wolfe, general director of Opera Birmingham