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Black Tie International:
Opera Index Annual Winter Gala








Gala Program Features Eight Prize Winners from 2012
 Opera Index Vocal Competition



Opera Index presents its 34thDistinguished Achievement Award to the powerful and charismatic bass-baritone Eric Owens at its annual black-tie winter gala on Sunday, January 13.  The gala, held in the Grand Salon of the JW Marriott Essex House at 160 Central Park South, begins at 6 p.m. with a reception in the Petit Salon. Presenting the award to Mr. Owens is a longtime champion of his career, Janet Stovin, the vice president of Opera Index.  Last year’s Distinguished Achievement Award was presented tooper a pioneer and founder of Opera Orchestra of New York, Eve Queler.


            The Opera Index Winter Gala, hosted by its president Murray Rosenthal and including guests from opera and the theater, is the highlight of the non-profit organization’s year of activities, which since 1984 has boosted the careers of almost 300 young singers through its annual vocal competition, among them Eric Owens who was a winner of the Opera Index Vocal Competition in 1993. He is the second Opera Index Competition-winner to receive the Distinguished Achievement Award. The first was Deborah Voigt. 

Opera Index received 261 applications from singers wishing to compete in its 2012 vocal competition.  On October 9 and 10, 78 young singers took part in preliminary auditions at Hunter College’s Lang Hall before a panel of distinguished judges--Ken Benson, Robert Lombardo, Elaine Malbin, Lenore Rosenberg, CesareSanteramo, Jane Shaulis, Albert Sherman, and Diana Soviero. In final auditions two days later, 30 remarkable young singers returned to compete for 16 prizes totaling $50,000.

The January 13 gala program willf eature performances by eight of the 2012Opera Index Vocal Competition awardees.  They are baritone Takaoki Onishi, who won the top prize of $10,000, baritone Anthony Clark Evans, who received $7,500; mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, $5,000, tenor Adam Bonanni, $4,000; baritone LuthandoQave, $3,500; bass-baritone Jeongcheol Cha, $3,000, tenor Alexander Lewis, $2,500, and soprano Courtney Johnson, who received a $1,000 Encouragement Grant.

Two competition winners--soprano Danielle Pastin, who received $5,000 and bass Matthew Anchel, who received $2,500—are unable to attend but will perform at a future event.

Also awarded were six $1000 Encouragement Grants tomezzo-soprano Sarah Mesko and baritones Jonathan Beyer, Tobias Greenhalgh, Emmett O’Hanlon, Nickoli Strommer, and Sean Sullivan.

            Tickets for the Opera Index Winter Gala range from $350 to $1,000.  More information and tickets are available by phone at
212-706-9550 or by e-mailing Opera Index at


About Eric Owens

Acclaimed for his commanding stage presence and inventive artistry, bass-baritone Eric Owens has carved a unique place in the opera world as both a champion of new music and a powerful interpreter of classic works. Called “consistently charismatic, theatrically and vocally” by New York Magazine and “absolutely remarkable” by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Owens is equally at home in concert, recital and opera performances, bringing his powerful poise, expansive voice and instinctive acting faculties to stages around the globe. Owens received great critical acclaim for portraying the title role in the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal’sGrendel with the Los Angeles Opera, and again at the Lincoln Center Festival, in a production directed and designed by Julie Taymor. Last season, The New Yorker’s Alex Ross raved, “Owens’s portrayal [of Alberich in Das Rheingold] is so richly layered that it may become part of the history of the work.” Owens also enjoys a close association with John Adams, and was featured on the September 2008 Nonesuch Records release of Adams’ A Flowering Tree. He also originated the role of Leslie Groves in Adams’ Doctor Atomic. This season Owens reprises his critically acclaimed portrayal as Alberichin two Ring cycles at the Metropolitan Opera and tours nationally.


About Opera Index

Opera Index, composed of opera devotees, is an outgrowth of The New York Opera Club, which was founded in the late 1950’s by William Wells, an opera lover and radio personality well known for his interviews with opera singers of the day.  Opera Index, its name taken from Mr. Wells’s file of opera singers, became a formal non-profit organization in 1982 and two years later inaugurated its first annual opera competition for singers in the early days of their careers.  Among the prize winners of the first competition were Suzanne Mentzer and Gary Lakes.  Later winners have included Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Stephanie Blythe, Andrea Gruber, Michelle DeYoung, Elizabeth Futral, Christine Goerke, Bejun Mehta, Angela Meade, Eric Owens, and Anthony Roth Costanzo.

The first recipient of the Opera Index Distinguished Achievement Award was ZinkaMilanov. Subsequent honorees are Leonie Rysenik, Samuel Ramey, Roberta Peters, Licia Albanese, Marilyn Horne,; JamilaNvotna, Alfredo Kraus, Lucine Amara, Jerome Hines, Birgit Nilsson, Renato Scotto, Rose Bampton, Theodor Uppman, Anna Moffo, Grace Bumbry, Martina Arroyo. George Jellinek, Deborah Voigt, Jon Vickers, Regina Resnik, Sherrill Milnes, James Morris, Catherine Malfitano, Jessye Norman, AprileMillo, Julius Rudel, Patrice Munsel, Shirley Verrett, George Shirley, and Eve Queler

            For more information and a list of previous competition award recipients visit


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