The Kurt Weill Foundation is pleased to announce the fourteen young singer/actors named as finalists for the 20th annual Lotte Lenya Competition:
Curtis Bannister (31, Green Bay, WI)
Gan-ya Ben-gur Akselrod (29, Tel Aviv, ISR)
Felipe Bombonato (28, Gainesville, FL)
Molly Dunn (28, South Orange, NJ)
Jasmine Habersham (27, Macon, GA)
Michael Hewitt (26, Denver, CO)
Philip Kalmanovitch (32, Ottawa, ON)
Marie Oppert (19, Paris, FR)
Tony Potts (24, Fargo, ND)
Taylor Raven (25, Fayetteville, NC)
Katherine Riddle (25, Annapolis, MD)
Lisa Rogali (22, Bergenfield, NJ)
Bradley Smoak (32, Cary, NC)
Paulina Villareal (27, Torreón, MX)
The contestants represent a diverse group of versatile performers, ranging in age from 19 to 32, from Canada, Mexico, France, Israel, and across the United States. Each contestant will sing a program of four selections from the operatic, “Golden Age” and contemporary musical theater repertoires, and of course, the music of Kurt Weill, to compete for prizes totaling over $75,000. In celebration of the 20th competition, and to match the ever-rising level of talent seen at the competition since its inception, top prizes have increased to $20,000, $15,000, and $10,000. Additional awards of $3,500 and $5,000 may be granted. All finalists receive a minimum cash award of $1,000.
This year’s judges’ panel brings together three internationally recognized artists. Renowned stage director Anne Bogart and Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley, both first-time judges, join veteran judge Rob Berman, who returns to the competition for the seventh time. The finals take place Saturday, April 22 at Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Each finalist will present his or her entire program in the daytime round, 11:00-4:00. An evening concert, in which contestants sing only a portion of their programs, follows at 8:00. The concert concludes with the announcement of awards and prizes. Both the daytime round and evening concert are free and open to the public. Doors open for the evening concert at 7:30; be sure to arrive early to claim your seat. If the last two years are any indication, expect at-capacity crowds!
Read the complete announcement here.
The New York Times on Kurt Weill:
“Unearthing a National Treasure. Finally.”
On Sunday, March 12, the print edition of the New York Times ran a full-page feature on Kurt Weill, titled “Unearthing a National Treasure. Finally.” Times culture reporter Joshua Barone explored the change in reception of Weill’s music in Germany since reunification and the founding of the Kurt Weill Fest 25 years ago. “Slowly but surely,” Barone writes, “Germany has played catch-up with Weill’s music — in particular through the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau, currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. The festival…began as a fantasy and has since grown into a microcosm of the work Germany has done to restore the legacy of a musical hero.” The article draws on interviews with KWF President Kim H. Kowalke, Weill biographer Jürgen Schebera, leaders of the Kurt Weill Fest, and composer, conductor and pre-eminent Weill interpreter HK Gruber. Germany’s rediscovery of Weill’s American works, though long overdue, should lead to greater appreciation of his catalogue not only in Germany, but everywhere else.
Sven Ratzke. Photo credit: Hanneke WetzerThis month’s performance calendar offers something for everyone. On 20 April, Osmo Vänskä conducts Weill’s Violin Concerto with soloist Erin Keefe and the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor Jan Latham-König leads the Flanders Symphony Orchestra in a program of works built on the theme “Refugees,” including Kleine Dreigroschenmusik, 22 April. Fresh off her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, past Lenya Competition winner Rebecca Jo Loeb puts her Weill expertise to work singing the role of Anna I in Die sieben Todsünden with theSinfonieorchester Aachen, 23 and 24 April, conducted by Kazem Abdullah. At the end of the month, the Salzburger Landestheater presents Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, directed by Jacopo Spirei, in repertory 30 April through 14 June.
For something in an entirely different vein, German performance artist Sven Ratzke performs Weill songs at two of New York’s most venerated venues, Joe’s Pub on 3 April and Café Sabarsky on 6 April. Also on 6 April, Alan Cumming performs Weill songs as part of “Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs” at Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center.
For the complete list of performances coming up this month, view the performance calendar.
Upcoming Performances :
Mahagonny Songspiel Metro Chamber Orchestra, New York
Philip Nuzzo, conductor
Symphony No. 2 City of Carlisle Orchestra
Leon Reimer, conductor
Kleine Dreigroschenmusik Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
Terence Milligan, conductor
Violin Concerto Turun Filharmoninen Orkesteri, Turku
Osmo Vänskä, conductor; Erin Keefe, violin
2017 Lotte Lenya Competition Finals and Evening Concert Eastman School of Music, Kilbourn Hall, Rochester
Kleine Dreigroschenmusik Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen, Ghent
Jan Latham-König, conductor
Die sieben Todsünden Sinfonieorchester Aachen
Kazem Abdullah, conductor; Rebecca Jo Loeb, Anna I
Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny Salzburger Landestheater with Mozarteumorchester, Salzburg
Jacopo Spirei, director
Adrian Kelly, conductor
30 April-14 June, in repertory