Some of opera’s rising stars performed in a career-making concert on Sunday: the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions, a competition that helped launch international stars such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham and Thomas Hampson.
Out of nine finalists, five won individual cash prizes of $15,000. The competition is structured to award as many as five winners, though in some years fewer awards are given.
The 2015 winners are: Joseph Dennis, tenor, 30 years old; Virginie Verrez, mezzo-soprano, 26; Nicholas Brownlee, bass-baritone, 25; Marina Costa-Jackson, soprano, 27; and Reginald Smith Jr., baritone, 26.
Each of the nine finalists took the stage twice, singing alone onstage accompanied by the Met orchestra led by principal conductor Fabio Luisi.