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Two familiar faces are among the Metropolitan Opera Auditions winners

Ao Li as Basilio (center right in wig) in the San Francisco Opera "family" version of "The Barber of Seville"
Ao Li as Basilio (center right in wig) in the San Francisco Opera "family" version of "The Barber of Seville"
by Cory Weaver, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera

Yesterday afternoon at the Metropolitan Opera House, a panel of judges named five young singers as the winners of the 2014 National Council Auditions for the Metropolitan Opera, two of whom will be familiar to San Francisco opera lovers.

One of those is soprano Julie Adams, whom I have been following closely, since she is an alumna of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she gave many impressive performances. (When I announced last week that she had advanced to the finals, I included a photograph of her performance of Fiordiligi in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Così fan tutte, which captured one aspect of her dramatic prowess.) Fortunately, San Francisco will see much of Adams this summer, since, as I recently reported, she was one of the 29 artists from ten countries that were selected to participate in this summer’s Merola Opera Program.

The second familiar face is an alumnus Merolino. He is Ao Li, who is currently living in San Francisco as a result of “graduating” from Merolino to an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera. Like Adams, Li has an engagingly polished voice marked by a distinctive flair for the dramatic. This past November I specifically called out his skill in conducting the street musicians during Almaviva’s serenade to Rosina at the beginning of the San Francisco Opera production of Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.

Two other winners also have Merola connections. Soprano Amanda Woodbury will be joining Adams for this summer's Merola Opera Program. Tenor Yi Li is another alumnus Merolino from the summer of 2012.

Tomorrow, April 1, WQXR will present a performance by all five of the winners of the Grand Finals of the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. This will take place at The Greene Space in New York. For those of us on the left coast, this performance will be given a live video stream, which will begin at 4 p.m. That video may be viewed through a hyperlink on the event page for this concert on the Web site for The Greene Space.