The winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, left to right, Reginald Smith Jr, Marina Costa-Jackson, Nicholas Brownlee, Virginie Verrez and Joseph Dennis on Sunday. PHOTO: ANDREW HINDERAKER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, left to right, Reginald Smith Jr, Marina Costa-Jackson, Nicholas Brownlee, Virginie Verrez and Joseph Dennis on Sunday. PHOTO: ANDREW HINDERAKER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

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.

Courtesy of the wsj.com

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