We Have a Winner!

Enthusiastic audiences joined us for this year's Mildred Miller International Voice Competition on 21-22 October 2017, as we searched for America's best singers. Young professionals aged 18–35 competed for cash prizes and solo roles in the 2018 Festival Season.

Mildred Miller

Pittsburgh Festival Opera founder Mildred Miller Posvar and an esteemed panel of judges selected three winners in public sessions in October. Judges include:

  • Robert Chafin, Assistant Professor of Voice, West Virginia University School of Music
  • Jonathan Eaton, Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Festival Opera and Professor of Music/Margot and Bill Winspear Chair in Opera Studies, University of North Texas 
  • Timothy LeFebvre, Associate Professor of Singing, Oberlin College Conservatory
  • Jane Eaglen, Professor of Voice, New England Conservatory, Internationally acclaimed Wagnerian soprano
  • Mildred Miller Posvar, Professor of Voice at Carnegie Mellon University and acclaimed mezzo soprano

 

 

2017 Winners

Meghan Kasanders

First Prize
Meghan Kasanders

 

Shannon Jennings

Second Price
Shannon Jennings

 

Melinda Whittington

Third Prize
Melinda Whittington

 

 

 

Errin Brooks

Audience Favorite Prize
Errin Brooks

 

Corrie Stallings

Mildred Miller Posvar Mezzo Soprano Prize
Corrie Stallings

 

 

 

Semi-Finalists

These singers were selected from among 250 applicants from 18 different countries to appear in the Semi-Final round on Saturday 21 October:

Soprano

  • Nicolette Book
  • Meghan DeWald
  • Lesley Friend
  • Shana Grossman
  • Shannon Jennings
  • Jessine Johnson
  • Meghan Kasanders
  • Brittany Loewen
  • Jasmine Muhammed
  • Melinda Whittington

 

Mezzo-Soprano

  • Alexandra Rodrick
  • Corrie Stallings

 

Baritone

  • Jeff Byrnes
  • Robert Gerold

 

Tenor

  • Errin Duane Brooks
  • Brent Turner

 

Bass

  • Andy Berry
  • Benjamin Sieverding

 

Finalists

These singers were selected from the Semi-Finalists to appear in the Final round on Sunday 22 October:

  • Jessine Johnson
  • Alexandra Rodrick
  • Meghan Kasanders
  • Ben Sieverding
  • Shannon Jennings
  • Corrie Stallings
  • Errin Brooks
  • Melinda Whittington
  • Jeff Byrnes

 

 

 

View the 2018 Finals

 

Previous Winners

As well as awarding monetary prizes, the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition offers young singers leading roles in productions, helping them develop their performing experience and build their repertoire. Previous MMIVC award winners include:

  • Countertenor ​Andrey Nemzer,​ 2011 first-place winner, was cast in leading roles in Festival productions and went on to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and was a third place winner in the prestigious Operalia competition led by Placido Domingo. At the Met, Nemzer covered f​or David Dan​iels in the title role of Handel’s ​Giulio Cesare in Egitto, a role he sang for the first time in Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s 2016 Festival. In 2017, he appeared in the title role of Handel’s ​Xerxes with the Festival Opera.
  • Tenor ​Juan José de León,​ 2012 winner, is a rising star in demand to sing leading Rossini roles. He was showcased at the Festival as Tamino in ​The Magic Flute, a role he also sang as a resident artist at Pittsburgh Opera. He made his M​etropolitan Opera debut in the world premiere of T​wo Boys. He has since sung with the opera companies of La Scala, Paris, Rome, Verona, Mallorca, Stuttgart, and Tel Aviv, among others.
  • Soprano Elizabeth Baldwin​, the 2013 MMIVC winner, received critical acclaim for her performance in the title role of ​Ariadne on Naxos in the 2014 Festival, and has contracts with the San Francisco Symphon​y Orchestra. She was recently seen as Tatyana in E​ugene Onegin at Chautauqua Opera Company and the title role in Tosca at both the California Theater and Opera San Jose.
  • Karen Chia-ling Ho​ placed first in the 2014 MMIVC event. She sang Donna Elvira in D​on Giovanni with San Francisco’s prestigious Merola Opera and made her debut at St. Petersburg Opera (Tampa) as Liu in ​Turandot.
  • Kisma Jordan ​placed first in the 2015 MMIVC competition. Kisma has appeared in multiple recital series around the country since winning the competition and appeared last fall as Michaë​​la with the Western Opera Reserve.
  • Alasdair Kent, first-prize winner in 2016, was hailed in his 2017 appearance with Wolf Trap Opera, and he made his European debut with the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. This fall, he performs in Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri with the Opéra National de Montpellier, France.