UW-Green Bay to host American Czech/Slovak International Voice Competition

Weidner Center will be the host venue, October 13-15, 2017

Green Bay, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will host the American International Czech/Slovak Voice Competition at Fort Howard Hall, Weidner Center, October 13-15, 2017. This prestigious event seeks 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.  This is the only competition in North America emphasizing Czech/Slovak vocal repertoire.

During the Russian occupation, the music of the Eastern European composers was not known outside their countries until about 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down. After the Velvet Revolution, a new freedom came to this part of the world. Much of the Czech/Slovak repertoire was unknown in North America until the past 15 years or so. The competition helps to expose this beautiful music to American singers and audiences.

The Montreal Czech/Slovak Voice Competition was created in 1991 during the 150th celebration of Antonin Dvorak’s birth by Alain Nonat, general and artistic director of the Theatre Lyrichoregra in Montreal, Canada. The honorary chairman was Czech Republic President, Vaclav Havel, with Karel Velan, chairman of Velan, Inc. serving as event chairman and honorary co-chairman with Josef Suk of the Montreal Antonin Dvorak Fund.

UW-Green Bay became the first and only American site for the preliminary and semifinal rounds in 2003, thanks to the collaboration between Nonat and UW-Green Bay Music Professor, Sarah Meredith Livingston, and community patron Sharon Resch. UW-Green Bay hosted first-round and semi-final competitions in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013.  In 2015, UW-Green Bay hosted the semi-finals as well as finals for the first time.

This year, the competition has become the American International Czech/Slovak Voice Competition. UW-Green Bay will host singers from across the United States, as well as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Russia, Canada and Mexico.

“The Czech and Slovak competition has a rich history of hosting incredible singers from all over the world,” Meredith Livingston said.  “We are pleased and honored to be a part of this amazing tradition, and we thank all of our community sponsors for their enduring and steadfast support.”

Past first-place winners have used this competition as a stepping-stone to many successful, international careers. The list is as follows:

Kimberly Haynes, soprano, United States, 2003.

Jan Martinik, bass-baritone, 2005, Czech Republic (soloist at the Berlin Opera House, Berlin, Germany).

Simone Osborne, soprano, Canada, 2007 (sings with Toronto Opera, was the youngest first-place winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 2008).

Melody Wilson, mezzosoprano, United States, 2009 (soloist, Concert/Opera, Vienna, Austria).

Alexandre Sylvester, bass-baritone, Canada, 2011 (soloist, Opera of Montreal).

Antonina Chekovskaya, soprano, United States, 2013 (concert/opera singer, New York City).

Sasha Djihanian, soprano, Canada, 2015 (finalist, Met Auditions, 2011; BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, 2011, representing Canada; soloist, Opera de Montreal and Canadian Opera Company Ensemble).

Alejandra Sandoval, lyric coloratura soprano, Mexico, 2015. (XXIV National Singing Competition “Carlo Morelli, 2016”; third prize, Opera of San Miguel, 2009; soloist, Opera de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico, 2016.

In addition to talented singers, the competition welcomes renowned guest adjudicators including distinguished singers, teachers, opera directors and conductors from the Slovak Republic, Czech Republic and the United States. This year’s distinguished jury includes Maestro Gildo Dinunzio, Metropolitan Opera, New York City (personal coach of Luciano Pavarotti); Mariano Horak, Ammann Horak Agency, Zurich, Switzerland; Alois Jezek, artistic director and founder of the Dvorak International Voice Competition (the oldest voice competition in Europe); Victor Yampolsky, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, and artistic director/conductor of the Peninsula Music Festival, Door County, Wis.; Alain Nonat, Theater Lyrichoregra, Montreal, Canada; Prof. Courtney Sherman, soprano, UW-Green Bay and Sarah Meredith Livingston, mezzosoprano, founder and director of the American Czech/Slovak Voice Competition.

For more information on the competition, visit the website:  www.uwgb.edu/voicecompetition.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,030 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.

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