Sponsor Sharon Resch and director Sarah Meredith Livingston are smiling at the results of the Oct. 4 finals in the International Czech and Slovak Vocal Competition of Montreal.
The competitors who swept the top places, 1-2-3, were all Americans who had advanced to Montreal through the preliminary rounds hosted two weeks ago at UW-Green Bay.
“I believe some people at the finals were surprised that the American competitors were so talented, so dominant,” Resch says. “This is a major international competition, one of the largest of its kind, with judges from The Metropolitan Opera in New York and from major opera halls around the world, so this was a very impressive showing.”
Receiving top prizes and cash awards at the Montreal finals were:
- First Place (Antonin Dvorak Prize) — Antonina Chekhosvkya, lyric soprano, a Ukrainian-born graduate student at the University of Michigan;
- Second Place (Leos Janacek Prize) — Anne Slovin, soprano, an alumna of Northwestern University and currently artist-in-residence with the Pensacola Opera; and
- Third place (Bohuslav Martinu Prize) — Leann Schuering, coloratura soprano, a Chicago-based professional who holds a doctorate in music from Michigan.
This was the sixth time that Resch, Meredith Livingston and others have collaborated to bring the every-other-year Czech and Slovak voice competition to UW-Green Bay.
Resch says the competition has developed a bit of a following locally among Northeastern Wisconsin lovers of opera and classically trained vocal performance. They appreciate the opportunity to hear top young talent from across the nation on a Green Bay stage.
“This really is wonderful for the Music department at UWGB,” she says. “This is one of the first universities in the United States to get involved in an international competition like this.”
Entrants in the UW-Green Bay rounds came from as far away as Texas and New York. In the international finals, the competitors included vocalists from Canada, Russia, the Czech and Slovak republics, Romania and the Netherlands.
Meredith Livingston and Resch helped bring the competition to campus in 2003, pairing with Alain Nonat, general and artistic director of Théâtre Lyrichorégra 20 in Montréal. The competition was created in 1991 to commemorate the 150th celebration of renowned composer Antonin Dvorak’s birth. Today, the event continues to promote the Czech and Slovak vocal repertoire for young singers, while fostering exchanges of young musicians and specialists between North America and the Czech Republic, as well as Slovakia.