JAMES K. MCCULLY,  President  &  General Director

Marjorie Lawrence Vocal Competition Was Clearly A Success

By Russell P. Allen - National Endowment for the Arts and OPERA America consultant, general manager for Atlanta Opera, Virginia Opera, and numerous symphony orchestras.

WASHINGTON DC - Opera Music Theater International, under the direction of James K. McCully, Jr., presented the concluding concert of the Marjorie Lawrence International Vocal Competition featuring the 2001 competition winners. The concert occurred at the National Museum of Women in the Arts with accompanist Maestro Neal Goren. Underwriters for the performance included the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, US Airways, Yamaha Artist Services.

The 2001 Competition Winners Concert following the Marjorie Lawrence Competition presented excellent young talent and showcased a vocal selection by each winner that emphasized their level of accomplishment. First to perform were the Studio Artist Division Winners. These three performances were followed by performances from the three winners in the Artist Division.

Listing in the OPERA America Audition Connection

The event clearly was a success. All six were accomplished singers with clearly defined technique and obvious good training. As might be expected, the Artist Division winners were most professional - offering a higher degree of vocal expertise - though all six gave excellent performances.

The concert was well attended, and judging by the applause, a most appreciative audience was showing its support of the quality of each performance. Clearly the audience wanted to acknowledge and support the achievement of these six artists.

The presentation itself was both professional and entertaining. The event highlighted the benefits of concert recital performance, offering young artists the opportunity to perform before a knowledgeable and critical audience. That the Competition culminates in live public performance is to be commended.

Michele Gutrick, third place winner in the Studio Artist Division, began the concert performing "Chi il bel sogno di Doretta" from LA RONDINE by Giacomo Puccini. She did an admirable job, particularly considering that she opened the program with a lesser-known selection. She exhibited good breath control in some extended passages and clearly understood the context of the piece.

Chen Reiss, second place winner in the Studio Artist Division, performed next and did a show-stopping performance of Adele's Laughing Song ("Mein Herr Marquis, ein Mann wie Sie") from Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss. Clearly relaxed and at ease with the repertoire selection, Ms. Reiss got into the role and showed mastery of her selection.

First place winner in the Studio Artists Division, Cristina Nassif, exhibited why she was the winner of the division with an expressive "Bel raggio luginghier" aria from Gioacchino Rossini's SEMIRAMIDE. Ms. Nassif was very relaxed and well into the character. With a quality of sound that was striking for her age, she projected very well into the hall. Her excellent vocal technique made her performance memorable.

Cristina Nassif
Chen Reiss
Michelle Gutrick
Sponsored by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Ancient and Accepted Freemasons.
  Competition Winners Nassif, Reiss, & Gutrick

Third place winner of the Artist Division, Anna Tonna, followed the Studio Artist performances. Ms. Tonna exhibited excellent technique in her aria "Cruda sorte" from Gioacchino Rossini's L'ITALIANA IN ALGERI. Her diction was clear and her characterization enticing. She proved to have a lovely tone and warmed into her performance admirably.

The concert continued with Lorraine Hinds, 2nd place winner of the Artist Division. Ms. Hinds gave a very expressive performance clearly exhibiting the mastery of her range in a beautiful rendtion of "Je suis encor tout etourdie" from Jules Massenet's MANON. Ms. Hinds clearly was knowledgeable of the role and defined the character throughout with clear diction and purposeful phrasing.

The final performance was by the 1st Place Winner of the Artist Division, Charles Reid. Mr. Reid demonstrated clearly why he won the competition with an excellent rendition of Tamino's contemplative aria "Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schon" from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's THE MAGIC FLUTE. Well into character, Mr. Reid gave an animated and defined performance. He had a clear mastery of his range and technique. The sound that he brought forth was beautiful.

Charles Reid
Lorraine Hind
Anna Tonna
Sponsored by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Ancient and Accepted Freemasons.
  Competition Winners Reid, Heinz, & Tonna

The Marjorie Lawrence International Vocal Competition is an excellent opportunity for young singers to hone their craft and perform competitively with their peers. The competition is open to all singers whose operatic repertoire and vocal caliber meet the demands of an international career. The Competition Concert was completely in keeping with the goals of the competition and exhibited fine talent who are beginning to experience or are on their way to experience performance opportunities.


Marjorie Lawrence


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