The Gerda Lissner Foundation is a well-known organization in the classical music world. Created by Mrs. Lissner, a Metropolitan Opera subscriber for 77 years, the Foundation seeks to provide young opera singers with the financial support needed to pursue their craft and excel in the world of opera.
To that end, every year The Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition awards Top Prizes, First, Second and Third Prizes, Grants and Encouragement Awards to the highest caliber of vocalists who apply.
Top Prize - Galeano Salas, third-year tenor
After the list of winners was announced, the AVA Marketing Department was able to sit down with some of the Resident Artists who won awards and discuss the experience.
Galeano Salas, the winner of the Top Prize in the Competition, informed us that not only did he perform in the Competition's finals round on Saturday, April 2nd, but that he also performed La fille du regiment's "Ah, mes amis!" during the AVA gala, Viva la Voce at the Union League that evening. Talk about a massive vocal feat!
On winning the Competition itself, Galeano told us that it was an honor to have been selected as the Top Prize winner in The Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition. "When I first received the email, I avoided reading it out of nervousness, then after reading it once, I called my mother and read it again to make sure I'd read it correctly before calling my father and my fiancé." Galeano expressed how fortunate he feels now that the news has sunk in.
What did our other Resident Artists have to say about the process of competing against each other in the Competition?
"I was lucky," said Mackenzie Whitney, third-year tenor and Grant winner. "I got to participate at the same time as my friends. It's always great to see your colleagues thrive in their environment. I just felt proud to be there along with them, having a wonderful time participating."
Third-year bass Anthony Schneider agreed: "It's so inspiring to hear such beautiful voices, and so satisfying to express as much as possible with just one aria." Anthony won an Encouragement Award at the Competition. "The whole experience is a big stepping stone for someone pursuing an opera career and it was an honor to be selected as a finalist."
Regarding the judges behind the Competition, Armando Piña felt that they were fantastic. "It always nice to go to a Competition where you know the judges want you to succeed."
"I feel honored to receive this award coming from the experienced judges," Daniel Noyola, third-year bass-baritone told us. "This recognition impacts me to keep growing, developing and striving for my goals."
The vocalists who won prizes in this year's Competition were featured in the annual Winner's Concert on May 1, 2016 at 3p.m. at Carnegie Hall.