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Jacobs School of Music

Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Wednesday, February 18, 2009

IU Jacobs School to compete in Met Auditions Grand Finals

Feb. 18, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Soprano and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music graduate student Kiri Dyan Deonarine has made it through to the Grand Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the elite competition to identify the best young opera singers throughout the United States and Canada.

Kiri Deonarine

Kiri Deonarine

Print-Quality Photo

The Grand Finals Concert, under the baton of internationally acclaimed Jacobs alumnus Patrick Summers, will take place at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on Feb. 22, completing a search for talent that began with nearly 1,800 competitors between the ages of 20 and 30. The purpose of the competition is to discover new talent for the Metropolitan Opera and to encourage young singers in preparation for their careers. Several past winners have joined the Metropolitan Opera's roster, including many of the world's foremost singers.

Deonarine, a student of Jacobs Professor Carol Vaness, was a winner of the Indiana District Met Audition in Bloomington's Musical Arts Center. After her first-place win at the Regional Auditions in Cincinnati, she went on to compete in New York Feb. 15 for her place in the the final round.

Deonarine has participated in graduate opera workshop scenes at IU as Manon Lescaut and Anna Bolena. Her full lyric repertoire includes Violetta in La Traviata, Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites and Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, performed as part of her undergraduate studies. Deonarine is also a graduate assistant at IU. Her first professional summer Young Artist's program will find her as a member of the Apprentice Singer Program, The Santa Fe Opera, 2009.

Jacobs alumna Jessica Julin, a soprano who studied with Costanza Cuccaro, is also among the eight finalists.

"I am extremely proud that two of IU's best will be on the Met stage together," Vaness said.

Also competing in the semi-final round was tenor Mark Van Arsdale, a student of Robert Harrison, and alumna soprano Carelle Flores, who studied with Andreas Poulimenos.

A number of other students in the Jacobs School have featured prominently in this year's auditions. Winning the Indiana District with Deonarine were soprano Jung Nan Yoon, a student of Costanza Cuccaro, and baritone Ljubomir Puskaric, a student of Robert Harrison. Other national district winners were Crystal Jarrells and Samuel Spade, students of Patricia Stiles; Christia Starnes, Daniel Scofield and Rachel Copeland, students of Timothy Noble; and Meghan Dewald and Jennifer Jakobs, students of Cuccaro.

The Metropolitan Opera competition has previously been won by such IU alumni as Sylvia McNair (1982), Elizabeth Futral (1991), Angela Brown (1997) and Larry Brownlee (2001). Other famous singers who were selected as winners include Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, Jessye Norman, Samuel Ramey, Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt and Dolora Zajick.

With a total of 30 voice and opera studies faculty members, the Jacobs School of Music has one of the largest voice departments in any university school of music, worldwide. It has consistently been ranked as the top voice department in the country. The Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater Program produces seven fully-staged operas each year in the Musical Arts Center, which gives students an opportunity to train for the international world of opera.

The following Jacobs School alumni have won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Competition since 1965:

  • 2007 Jamie Barton
  • 2005 Jordan Bisch
  • 2003 Christina Pier
  • 2002 Twyla Robinson
  • 2001 Larry Brownlee and Kristine Winkler
  • 1998 Kyle Ketelsen
  • 1997 Angela Brown
  • 1996 Leah Creek
  • 1993 Kathryn Krasovec
  • 1992 Christopher Schaldenbrand
  • 1991 Elizabeth Futral
  • 1990 Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet and Clare Mueller
  • 1988 Heidi Grant Murphy
  • 1986 Mark Baker, Mark S. Doss, Marilyn Mims and Michael Sylvester
  • 1985 Stephen Biggers, Richard Cowan and Julia Faulkner
  • 1984 Gerald Dolter and Nova Thomas
  • 1982 Sylvia McNair
  • 1981 Rebecca Cook and Laura Brooks Rice
  • 1980 Kevin Langan
  • 1979 Jane Bunnell, Robert McFarland and Jan Opalach
  • 1978 Wendy White
  • 1974 Alma Jean Smith
  • 1965 Richard Stilwell