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Finalists for Verismo Opera's Annual International Vocal Competition

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The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera has announced eight winners and finalists in the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera 2013 Annual International Vocal Competition. Ewa Plonka, a mezzo-soprano from Austin, Texas, received first place and a $2,000 award. Young Joo An, a baritone from New York, New York, was awarded second place and a $1,000 prize. Baritone Robert-Heepyoung Oh from Binghamton, New York received third place and a $500 prize.

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The finalists were baritone Jonathan Scott from Springfield, New Jersey; soprano Sara Beth Pearson from Teaneck, New Jersey; tenor Oswaldo Iraheta from Edgewater, New Jersey; tenor Brent Reilly Turner from New York, New York; and soprano Jing Zhang from New York, New York.

The international competition offered a very unique opportunity for up and coming vocalists to develop their careers, participate in master classes, receive essential feedback, and perform in a professional setting. Applicants were drawn throughout the United States, Canada, Italy, and Germany.

The competition began in November, 2013 with preliminary auditions held in New York City, culminating with finals and master classes conducted throughout February, 2014 at Liederkranz Hall. An illustrious panel of judges adjudicated the competition made up of Ken Benson, Francisco Casanova, Nedda Casei, Anthony Morss, Joseph Rescigno, and Cesare Santeramo. Finalists attended master classes taught by Verismo Opera Artistic Director Lucine Amara and General Manager/Stage Director Evelyn La Quaif.

Iraheta and Scott will perform in Verismo Opera’s new, lavish production of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata on April 6 at 3:00 p.m. at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, New Jersey. Scott and Iraheta will assume the roles of Giorgio Germont and Alfredo Germont, respectively.

The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera (Verismo Opera) has been a part of the New Jersey music scene since 1989. Verismo Opera, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, is a grand, professional opera company led by Artistic Director and Met Opera luminary Lucine Amara.

The organization provides performing opportunities for young musicians and artists and sponsors an annual vocal competition held in November with finals generally conducted in Liederkranz Hall, drawing artists from all over the United States, Canada, and Europe. The company also organizes opera workshops and concerts and offers affordable, highly professional operatic productions.

For more information about Verismo Opera and the vocal competition, visit its web site, www.verismopera.org. or call (201) 886-0561.

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