The Cooper-Bing Competition is an internationally recognized vocal competition that has celebrated and supported emerging young artists in opera for the past 39 years. Dubbed the ”Olympics of Opera”, the competition encourages talent, creates artistic opportunity, and helps welcome the next generation into the professional opera community. Five finalists will compete for the grand prize of $10,000! Join us in the Southern Theatre on April 30th for this electrifying vocal battle royale and cast your vote for a special audience award!
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. Jason Hiester
Dr. Hiester performs professionally in a variety of genres including opera, oratorio, choral and jazz. His credits include roles with West Palm Beach Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Columbus Opera, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Florida Grand Opera and concert work with Miami Bach Society, Musica Sacra of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky Symphony, Columbus Bach Ensemble, Columbus Dance Theater, Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, Springfield Symphony, and Vocal Arts Ensemble of Springfield. He was a winner of both the Schloss Leopoldskron competition in Salzburg, Austria and the West Palm Beach Opera Competition. Locally, Dr. Hiester is the artistic director of Converging Arts Columbus, a conductor for the Sacred Music Institute of America, Associate Professor Music at Ohio Wesleyan University and organist at Powell United Methodist church.
Dr. Dione Parker Bennett
Dione Parker Bennett’s voice has been described as rich, fluid, silvery, and powerful. Her interpretative qualities and stage presence consistently enchant audiences. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with composer and conductor Stacey Gibbs and recently was featured with the Akron Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Christopher Wilkins singing Nkeiru Okoye’s “I Am Harriet Tubman”. Her ongoing performance career includes oratorio such as Handel’s Messiah, Fauré’s Requiem, Weill’s Cry the Beloved Country and Tippett’s A Child of Our Time. Her opera performances include the roles of Nedda in Pagliacci, Mimi in La Bohéme, Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen, and Bess in Porgy and Bess sung with many of the great symphony orchestras of the area. She continues as a recitalist, and an artist in appearances across the United States. She can be heard also as the soprano soloist in the premier recording of The Selfish Giant with the Erie Chamber Orchestra. She received her Doctor of the Musical Arts from the University of Illinois. and her Bachelor and Master of Music from the University of Akron. Since that time, she has taught at both university and center for the arts levels. While maintaining a thriving voice studio at Capital University Conservatory of Music, she is also the Director of Vocal and Choral studies at Ohio Christian University.
Lee Anne MyslewskiVice President, Opera and Classical Programming at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
Lee Anne Myslewski
Lee Anne Myslewski, Vice President, Opera and Classical Programming
Lee Anne joined Wolf Trap Opera in 2006 and has cultivated new partnerships and programs to uphold the company’s widespread acclaim as the country’s most venerated summer training program for emerging artists. She conceived of the UNTRAPPED series of programming in 2016 which has featured artistic partnerships with the Shakespeare Theatre, Taffety Punk, Halcyon, AMP at Strathmore, Children’s National Medical Center as well as ongoing partnerships with The Phillips Collection, the Library of Congress and the National Orchestral Institute. As the Director of Artistic Administration for Opera and Classical Programming, she created the Artistic Advisor position for Chamber Music at the Barns, has participated in the casting and programming of operatic productions for over a decade, and has heard over 7,500 live auditions. Now the Vice President of Opera and Classical Programming, Lee Anne oversees all aspects of Wolf Trap Opera, an artist-centric program whose alumni are not only singing in every opera house in the nation, but also in the most prestigious houses in the world – including The Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Vienna Staatsoper, Komische Oper Berlin, Sydney Opera House and Deutsche Opera Berlin. In addition, she also serves as the executive producer and co-host of Center Stage from Wolf Trap, a nationally-syndicated radio program aired on public radio stations across the country. Lee Anne holds degrees in opera performance from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland, and has been selected for several elite leadership programs, including Opera America’s Leadership Intensive and Leadership Fairfax.
Justin Werner is an operatic professional with extensive experience in production, education, and artist representation. Mr. Werner is the Founder and President of Stratagem Artists in 2018, which cultivates and represents a select roster of operatic artists through artist driven collaboration.
Between 2014-2018, Mr. Werner was a co-founder and artist manager at Couret & Werner (C&W) Artist Management. Mr. Werner gained his initial Artist Management experience at IMG Artists, where he served as an Artist Management intern.
Mr. Werner was the founder and Artistic Director of New York Opera Exchange (2011–2015), which afforded numerous opportunities for emerging singers, directors, and designers to mount critically acclaimed productions. According to Opera Today, “Artistic Director Justin Werner manages to infect others with his enthusiasm through sheer force of charisma and passion.” Additionally, Mr. Werner founded the Independent Student Opera Initiative at Boston University.
A valued advisor for emerging artists, Mr. Werner is a frequent panelist for Opera America’s Career Blueprints and Feedback Audition programs. He has presented masterclasses and workshops for institutions such as Emerging Leaders of New York Arts (ELNYA), Yale School of Music, the Stratford Summer Music Vocal Academy, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, CCM, Boston University, Fort Worth Opera / Texas Christian University, Oklahoma City University, the University of North Texas, the New York Opera Alliance, the University of Delaware, Opera NextGen and the Seagle Music Colony. In the spring of 2021, Mr. Werner joined the Atelier Lyrique at L’Opéra de Montréal and Mannes School of Music at The New School as an Artistic Advisor in Residence to the Mannes Opera where he will return for the 2021/2022 academic year.
In past seasons, Mr. Werner served on the adjudicating panels of the McCammon Vocal Competition, Talents of the World Annual Voice Competition, MetroWest Vocal Competition, CS Music Vocal Competition and Opera Ithaca Competition. In the spring of 2023, he will judge the finals of the Cooper-Bing Competition at Opera Columbus.
Mr. Werner earned his BM in Vocal Performance from Boston University and his Advanced Certificate in Vocal Performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Mr. Werner is also proud to be the chair of the On Site Opera Artistic Advisory Council.
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.