For the past 38 seasons, the Cooper-Bing Competition has been an internationally-recognized vocal competition that empowers and celebrates young, emerging artists. This competition discovers talent, reveals artistic opportunity, and engages the next generation into the professional opera community. Join us and cast your vote as finalists compete for a top prize of $10,000! You don’t want to miss this battle of the voices!
You can’t join us in person, but you want to cheer on the stars of tomorrow? No problem! We are live-streaming the competition
Just join us at 3 pm EST on the 15th! https://btpstream.co/CooperBing22
2021-2022 COOPER-BING COMPETITION FINALISTS
An artist and activist, African-American tenor, Aaron Crouch has been described by the Huffington Post as “riveting vocally and as an actor.” Originally from Bowie, Maryland, he is a graduate of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, studying under the guidance of Mikael Eliasen and Jonathan Beyer. During his time at the Curtis Institute of Music, Mr. Crouch performed several notable roles such as Don Ottavio/Don Giovanni, Lensky/Eugene Onegin, Prunier/La Rondine, and Anthony/Sweeney Todd. In past summers, Mr. Crouch attended HGO’s Young Artist Vocal Academy as well as the Glimmerglass Festival’s Young Artist Program where he sang The Son/Blue& Tamino/The Magic Flute. This season, Mr. Crouch will reprise his role as The Son/Blue at Detroit Opera and Pittsburgh Opera. He will also sing Don Ramiro/LaCenerentola with Tri-Cities Opera as well as Candide/Candide at the Cincinnati May Festival.
Described by The New York Times as having a “buttery, booming baritone,” Alex DeSocio (Wichita, KS), received his B.M. from Northwestern University and his M.M. from the University of Maryland. He is a 2-time alumnus of the San Francisco Opera Merola Program.
He has worked regionally with such opera companies as Sarasota Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Birmingham, Pensacola Opera, Anchorage Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, Opera Memphis, Livermore Valley Opera, and Opera Santa Barbara. Principal roles includes Silvio in Pagliacci, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Marcello in La Boheme, Lescaut in Manon, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, and the Count in Le nozze di Figaro.
Alex’s awards include being a 2 Time-Metropolitan Opera Council Audition Semi-Finalist, Winner/Laureate with the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, Sullivan Foundation Winner, and 1st Place Winner Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition.
Praised for her “warm, colorful mezzo” (Opera News), Sophie Michaux has become one of North-America’s most versatile and compelling vocalists. A consummate singing actor, Sophie’s recent solo engagements include Ceres in Lalande’s Les Fontaines de Versailles (Boston Early Music Festival), a recital of Barbara Strozzi’s music (Fondazione Cini, Venice, Italy) the role of Siface in Cavalli’s Scipione Affricano (Haymarket Opera), and the Alto solo in the world premiere of Rudoi’s Our Transcendental Passion (Boston Cecilia). She won the 2nd prize at the 2021 Handel Aria Competition in Madison WI, and won the William Grogan Award at the 2022 Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo competition. She has sung under the baton of Andris Nelsons, Lidiya Yankovskaya, Leonardo García Alarcón, and Beth Willer among others. Next season, she will premiere Her Story by Julia Wolfe with the Boston, Chicago, Nashville, San Francisco, National Symphony Orchestras, and the Lorelei Ensemble.
Soprano Nicole Woodward has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “rich” and “coruscating” voice. She has apprenticed with several prestigious young artist programs including the Merola Opera Program, Central City Opera, and Sarasota Opera. Recent roles of note include Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Mercedes (Carmen), Clotilde (Norma), and Giulietta (Les contes d’Hoffmann). She most recently appeared as Wellgunde in Das Rheingold with the American Wagner Project.
In addition to her work on the opera stage, Nicole has appeared in concert with San Antonio Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, and the North State Symphony.
She has received awards and commendations from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Florida Federation of Music Clubs, National Federation of Music Clubs, Classical Singer Competition, NATS, Sarasota Opera, and the Wagner Society of Washington DC. Most recently, Nicole was awarded first place in the 2021 AIMS Vocal Competition.
“…the first to score big was was Tenor, WooYoung Yoon, with eight pure and glorious high C’s in Tonio’s aria, “Ah, mes amis!” from the Daughter of the Regiment. Unlike famous performers of this knotty aria, Yoon didn’t rush into the climaxing ninth high C. He paused, took a big breath with a sigh, bringing friendly laughter from the audience, and then hit the rafters and held the note right into the inevitable ovation.” The 2018 Merola finale was grand indeed.” ……. Janos Gereben-San Francisco Classical Voice
“In the title role, WooYoung Yoon’s dark voice and verisimo aesthetic lent a touch of melancholy to the enlightened Emperor. Yoon’s many recitatives were thoughtful and well delivered, and his vocal poise helped convey nobility and anger.” La Clemenza di Tito ..…Judith Malafronte- Opera News
Tenor WooYoung Yoon recently made his role debut in Berlioz’s Le Damnation de Faust with the Orquesta Sinfonica National de Costa Rica with Maestro John Nelson. A 2019 Grand Prize Winner in the Orpheus Compeittion, Korean Tenor, WooYoung Yoon’s previous opera credits include Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, and Tito in La Clemenza di Tito, as well as Rodolfo in Luisa Miller and Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Manhattan School of Music. In 2017, Mr. Yoon covered Don Jose in Carmen for the Martina Arroyo Foundation Prelude to Performance, after debuting the role in 2016, when he made his Italian debut as Don Jose in Carmen with the Trentino Music Festival. Recently he also debuted as Tonio (Daughter of the Regiment) in the Merola Grand Finale on the stage of San Francisco Opera. In the spring of 2019 he returned to San Francisco Opera for a recital in the Schwabacher Recital Series, and then joined the New Jersey State Opera as Rodolfo in La Boheme. His debut at Carnegie Hall performing Mozart’s Regina Coeli with Mid America Productions was cancelled due to Covid. This season WooYoung performs Almaviva in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville with Knoxville Opera, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Lubbock Symphony, and returns to the Orquesta Sinfonica National de Costa Rica for Christus am Oelberg with Maestro John Nelson.
Mr. Yoon has distinguished himself in a variety of major competitions. He has most recently, been named a Met National Council Eastern Regional Finalist, a finalist in the Harbin competition, a semi-finalist in the Zachary Competition, and won the Grand Prix Prize at the Talents of the World Voice Competition, as well as the Audience Favorite Award. He won third place in the Marcella Sembrich International Voice Competition, which along with a cash prize includes a role at Opera Nova in Bydgoszcz, Poland. In 2017 the tenor was a finalist in the Altamura/Caruso International Voice Competition, The Alfredo Silipigni Vocal Competition, and received Honorable Mention from the Metropolitan International Vocal Competition in 2016.
Mr. Yoon was a young artist for the Merola Opera Program and for Music Academy International. He holds both Professional Studies and Master of Music degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Neil Rosenshein.
FINAL JUDGING PANEL
Clare Burovac is the current General and Artistic Director of New Orleans Opera, becoming the first woman to lead the organization in the company’s history. Chosen from a nation-wide search, she was named General Director Designate on July 8, 2020, General Director on September 15, 2020, and General and Artistic Director on July 1, 2021.
Burovac is the former Director of Artistic Operations at Portland Opera, where she oversaw all artistic planning and education and community engagement programs, including the company’s ‘Opera a la Cart’ initiative, which brought free outdoor performances to all corners of the Portland metro area. Under her leadership and for the first time in Portland Opera’s history, the company produced two world-premiere recordings: Orphée and Galileo Galilei, both by Philip Glass. Additionally, Burovac brought other living composers to Portland for productions of their works, including Laura Kaminsky and David Lang. Committed to expanding access to opera in the schools, she conceived and produced the company’s first bilingual opera: a Spanish/English production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville for Portland Opera To Go, which traveled throughout Oregon and neighboring states.
During her tenure, Burovac managed collaborations with many other local Portland arts organizations, including the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Bodyvox, Portland Art Museum, Chamber Music Northwest, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, and Third Angle. As the director of the Portland Opera Resident Artist Program, Burovac developed the program into one of the most competitive in the United States, producing many singers who went on to international careers after their residency in Portland.
In her eleven years with the company, Burovac managed all budgets for the artistic, music, and education programs, managing a third of Portland Opera’s annual budget of $8 million. She also served as the chief labor negotiator and primary management liaison to both of Portland Opera’s artist unions: AGMA and the AFM.
Prior to joining Portland Opera, Burovac spent 14 years at Seattle Opera, beginning in the stage management department and taking on a variety of increasingly demanding positions, including production stage manager and production coordinator of the company’s world-renowned Ring cycle. A recipient of an OPERA America Fellowship in Opera Production in 1993, she has been a guest stage manager for San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, and The Glimmerglass Festival, among many others.
Burovac received her bachelor’s degree in violin performance, magna cum laude, from Bowling Green State University. As a violinist, she performed with the Toledo Symphony, Ohio Light Opera Orchestra and other groups in the Cleveland area prior to beginning her career in arts administration.
Burovac is a member of the steering committee of the Women’s Opera Network for OPERA America and served as a mentor for the inaugural year of its Mentorship Program. She has served as a guest lecturer for Seattle Opera and The National Association of Teachers of Singing and was a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts in 2019, helping to award over $24 million to opera companies across the country. She is a frequent judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and other vocal competitions in the United States.
KATHLEEN KELLY is a pianist, conductor, educator, and writer – and like many classical musicians, a recent experimenter with digital content. She is both deeply experienced in the classical vocal canon and engaged in new creation. Her 2021-22 finds her co-starring in Minnesota Opera’s digital premiere of Kamala Sankaram’s INTERSTATE, collaborating in recital with Ryan McKinny and Elena Villalon, and conducting the world premiere of Matt Boehler’s opera FAT PIG, starring activist soprano Tracy Cox.
The first woman and first American named as Director of Musical Studies at the Vienna State Opera, Kathleen’s operatic experience is the backbone of her career. Trained at the San Francisco Opera, she joined the company’s music staff and moved from there to a long association with the Metropolitan Opera. She was head of music at Houston Grand Opera, and music director of the Berkshire Opera before moving to Vienna. Kathleen has conducted at the Glimmerglass Festival, Wolf Trap Opera, Arizona Opera, El Paso Opera, Opera Columbus, the Merola Program, and the Alexandria Symphony, and has been a visiting master coach for the prestigious young artist programs of Chicago Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Minnesota Opera, and the Canadian Opera Company.
Kathleen’s recital career includes appearances at Weill Hall, Zankel Hall, the Kennedy Center, DC Vocal Arts, Wigmore Hall, Spivey Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, the Mahlersaal of the Vienna State Opera, the Neue Galerie, the Schwabacher Series in San Francisco, Cincinnati Song Initiative, and the Tucson Desert Song Festival. Her recent collaboration with Jamie Barton has won wide acclaim, and her partners have included Christine Goerke, Michael Kelly, Troy Cook, Amber Wagner, Sorin Coliban, Joyce DiDonato, Ariana Strahl, Karen Slack, and Jennifer Holloway. She has curated art song series for the Houston Grand Opera and the Vienna State Opera, and is currently involved in the creation of new vocal works through Sparks and Wiry Cries’ songSLAM events.
In demand as a mentor of rising artists, Kathleen has given masterclasses and workshops across North America, including at the University of Toronto, the Schulich School at McGill University, University of Cincinnati, Baylor University, Vanderbilt University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Michigan, the Peabody Conservatory, University of Washington, Westminster Choir College, Harvard University, and Interlochen. She has served on the juries of the Wirth Prize at McGill University, the Dallas Opera Guild competition, the Kristin Lewis Foundation Scholarship auditions, the Cooper-Bing competition, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.
Kathleen’s commitment to new music, particularly American music, is a major part of her musical life. She has prepared or conducted workshops or performances of operas by William Bolcom, Tobias Picker, Matthew Aucoin, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jake Heggie, Laura Kaminsky, and Daron Hagen. Her recent recital programs have included world premieres by Juliana Hall and Judith Shatin.
Kathleen is an active participant in the digital space. As an educator, she has done frequent masterclasses and programs online, including for the Sewanee Festival, the Collaborative Piano Institute, Washington National Opera, and Minnesota Opera. She is the pianist on numerous digital collaborations, including Vanished with tenor Russell Thomas for the Dallas Opera, and Coronadaemmerung with Jamie Barton and Ryan Mckinny. Kathleen performed as a pianist in the Cincinnati Song Initiative all-digital season, and conducted the recorded soundtrack for Unsung, a movie produced by Victory Hall Opera released in February 2021.
A published poet and essayist, Kathleen has created several new opera translations and libretti. She is the co-librettist of Interstate, a chamber opera by Kamala Sankaram. Kathleen’s English adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, commissioned by Tri-Cities Opera, is now in use alongside her chamber orchestra arrangement of the work. For Arizona Opera, she created a multilingual version of Emmerich Kalman’s Arizona Lady, and she wrote the libretto for David Hanlon’s Wolf Trap premiere Listen, Wilhelmina! Her English adaptation of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride premiered in November 2019, and she created a new English adaptation of La boheme for Opera Columbus. Her English adaptation of Janacek’s Diary of One who Disappeared was used in Dallas Opera’s Vanished. Kathleen commissioned settings of three of her poems from composers David Hanlon, Jamie Leidwinger, and Juliana Hall. In 2021, one of her poems, “You,” was selected by Jake Heggie for inclusion in his song cycle “What I Miss,” premiered by Jamie Barton in the same year.
Dr. Everett McCorveyDirector of Opera Theatre, Lexington Opera Society Endowed Chair in Opera Studies, Professor of Ensemble Directors, University of Kentucky
Dr. Everett McCorvey
Everett McCorvey, tenor, is a native of Montgomery, Alabama. He has performed in many cities around the world and theaters across the country, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Kennedy Center, Aspen Music Festival, Radio City Music hall, Birmingham Opera Theater, Teatro Comunale in Florence, Italy, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, England, as well as performances throughout Spain, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Austria, Japan, China, Brazil, Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Hungary, Mexico, Peru and France. He joined the Tony Award winning Sherwin Goldman Production of PORGY AND BESS at Radio City Music Hall in 1982 and was also part of the Metropolitan Opera’s Debut Production of Porgy and Bess in 1985.
Dr. McCorvey is the founder and Music Director of the American Spiritual Ensemble, a group of 24 professional singers performing spirituals and other compositions of African-American composers dedicated to keeping the American Negro Spiritual alive. In its 25-year history, the group has presented over 500 concerts including 20 tours of the United States and 17 tours of Spain. Presently the American Spiritual Ensemble is the only professional ensemble of its kind dedicated solely to the American Negro Spiritual. Dr. McCorvey is also in his sixth season as the Artistic Director of the National Chorale of New York City.
Dr. McCorvey has served on the faculty of the New York State Summer School of the Arts in Saratoga Springs, New York where he was Artist-in-Residence and Associate Conductor and is also a frequent advisory panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts Opera/Musical Theatre program. He is currently on the summer faculty of the Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey, Michigan, and a frequent guest conductor with the Ocean Grove Choral Music Festival in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Dr. McCorvey is of the belief that every citizen in the country should find ways to give back to his or her community, city or country. He has been active working to keep the arts as a part of the civic conversation and currently serves on many local, regional and national boards including his recent appointment by the Governor of Kentucky as the Chairman of the Board of the Kentucky Arts Council. He is married to soprano Alicia Helm and they have three children.
Tickets are $40 per person; includes dessert and bubbly.
COVID-19 SAFETY GUIDELINES
Your safety is our top priority.
Our safety policy was designed in consultation with leading experts in the fields of epidemiology, public health, workplace/industrial hygiene, and infectious diseases.
Updated April 4, 2022
For the performances of 40 Days of Opera throughout the city of Columbus:
- Opera Columbus will no longer require that audience members show proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test.
- Masks are encouraged for all patrons.
The Opera Columbus will continue to monitor government policy changes, Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, government mandates, and public health notices and make changes as necessary or appropriate to ensure the safety of staff, artists, and the public.
Limitation on Liability/Assumption of Risk
Any person entering the premises waives all civil liability against this premises owner and operator for any injuries caused by the inherent risk associated with contracting COVID-19 at public gatherings, except for gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm, by the individual or entity or the premises.
Additionally, you, on behalf of yourself and any accompanying minor, voluntarily assume all risks and danger incidental to the event for which the ticket is issued, whether occurring before, during or after the event, and you waive any claims for personal injury, death, illness, damage, loss, claim, liability, or expense, of any kind against Opera Columbus., and its agents, sponsors, officers, directors, shareholders, owners and employees.
To read more about CAPA’s safety protocol, click here.
*Guidelines are subject to change
Cooper-Bing Competition Preliminary Judging Panel
Preliminary Judge Panel
Dr. Chad Payton, Chair of the Voice Area and Associate Professor of Voice, Capital UniversityPatrice Michaels, Voice and Opera Lecturer, Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University
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.