This internationally-recognized vocal competition engages impressive young operatic talent from all over the world.
The Cooper-Bing Competition aims to encourage emerging artists and celebrate the next generation of opera stars.
Join us and cast your vote as singers compete for a top prize of $10,000! You don’t want to miss this experience!
MEET OUR 2021 FINAL JUDGES
Barbara Lynne Jamison
Barbara Lynne Jamison has established herself as a successful arts programmer with a proven record of strategic and fiscal leadership, with a focus on increasing breadth and depth of community impact by connecting people to, and through, the arts.
Barbara became the sixth General Director in Kentucky Opera’s 67-year history in August 2018. Prior to her appointment as Kentucky Opera’s chief executive and artistic officer, she served as Director of Programs and Partnerships at Seattle Opera and Director of Programs at the Metropolitan Opera Guild (NYC). A builder by nature, she has sparked multiple new initiatives, including a highly acclaimed chamber opera series, creative placemaking projects, and opera commissions and productions for all ages — providing meaningful experiences for people not traditionally served by opera. In her first two years with Kentucky Opera, she has introduced new programming and a unique approach to producing mainstage opera that centers the voices of the community through partnerships and participation. Such projects have successfully demonstrated the power of opera as a vehicle for seeking and inspiring beauty, truth, and reconciliation in a community.
Her degrees include a BMus in vocal performance form Florida International University, MMus in vocal performance from Manhattan School of Music, and additional doctoral work as Dean’s Scholar at Boston University. Prior to her administrative career, Jamison was an accomplished professional soprano and conductor.
Evans Mirageas is in his sixteenth year as The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera. It is America’s second oldest opera company and celebrated its one hundredth anniversary in 2020. In addition, he maintains a roster of private artistic consulting clients, both institutions and individuals.
Evans was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1976. His varied career in classical music has embraced record retail, radio production with the nationally renowned WFMT in Chicago, symphony administration as Artistic Administrator with the Boston Symphony and artistic leadership as Senior Vice-President of The Decca Record Company.
He is a frequent record producer, adjudicator, panelist and guest lecturer for The Metropolitan Opera, Opera America, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dallas Opera, Mostly Mozart, The St. Louis Symphony among others. His board affiliations have included The Sullivan Foundation and The American Composers Forum.
Praised by the Cincinnati Enquirer as “a leader of exceptional musical gifts, who has a clear technique on the podium and an impressive rapport with audiences,” Kelly Kuo brings a dynamic versatility and nuance to a diverse repertoire, which includes over 80 operas and an expansive symphonic repertoire. Currently Artistic Director of Oregon Mozart Players, recent engagements include productions with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Kentucky Opera, Madison Opera, Tulsa Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Brevard Music Center, and Anchorage Opera and concerts with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Reno Chamber Orchestra, and Ballet Fantastique.
Under the leadership of Irma M. Cooper, Opera Columbus launched its vocal competition in 1983, two years after the company was founded. Ms. Cooper believed a vocal competition would help fill young singers’ need for exposure to, and constructive feedback from, well-respected professionals from the opera industry. The competition has helped to launch the careers of many singers, including world renowned mezzo -soprano Denyce Graves and Metropolitan Opera artists Dina Kuznetsova, Richard Paul Fink, Lucas Meachem, Nicole Heaston, Richard Zeller, Susan Foster, and Alyson Cambridge. Several of Columbus’ performance venues have hosted the event, including the Palace Theatre (1983–1991), the Ohio Theatre (1992), Mees Hall at Capital University ’s Conservatory of Music (1992–2003), Weigel Hall Auditorium at The Ohio State University (2004–2012) and our current venue and new home of Opera Columbus, the Southern Theatre (2013–present). In addition to being a co-founder of Opera Columbus, Ms. Cooper was Director of the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition and served on the Opera Columbus Board of Trustees, where she was honored as a Life Trustee. In 2014, thanks to a generous donation from Arthur and Hetty Bing that will help to ensure the future sustainability of the competition, the name of the event has been changed to the Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition. The competition is also supported by six life trustees and others who made major financial commitments to endow our competition including, Sheldon and Becky Taft, Dr. Henry Sauls, the Ruth and Dick McNeal Fund, Katie and Willie Grové, Lyman Leathers, Johanna Destefano, Polly Lindeman, and Charlie Warner.