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Loyola College of Music hosts The Metropolitan Opera Gulf Coast Regional Auditions on Sunday, February 4

Loyola press release - January 19, 2001

(New Orleans)—Loyola University College of Music will host the final auditions of the Gulf Coast Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council. The auditions are set for Sunday, February 4 at 2 p.m. in the Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall, on the second floor of the Communications/Music Complex located at the corner of Calhoun Street and St. Charles Avenue.

A masterclass for singers will be conducted by David Effron, professor of conducting at Indiana University School of Music, on Monday, February 5 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Nunemaker Auditorium, located on the third floor of the Monroe Science Complex.A donation of $5 is requested for admission to the auditions, but not required. Admission to the masterclass is free and open to the public.

Eleven singers from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Puerto Rico competing for prizes and the privilege of competing in the semifinal round on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, which will be broadcast on National Public Radio. Competing singers include soprano Christine Hughes, 21; soprano Elizabeth Perryman, 31; tenor Chauncey D. Packer, 25; soprano Hallie Michelle Sisson, 24; tenor Brian Woods, 26; soprano Allanda C. Small, 25; soprano Sarah Jane McMahon, 20; and tenor David Sadlier, 24. Judges for the regional auditions are David Effron, Gayletha Nichols, and Kenneth Merrill.

David Effron, a distinguished conductor, has over forty years experience conducting major symphonies and opera companies in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Far East. As a member of the conducting staff of the New York City Opera from 1964 - 1982, Maestro Effron accumulated a repertoire of over 100 operas. In addition to his many guest conducting engagements, Effron has trained hundreds of instrumentalists now in professional orchestras. The recipient of Fullbright and Rockefeller grants, he has recorded the 1984 Grammy Award-winning Lincoln and Corigliano's Pied Piper Fantasy with James Galway, an Ovation Magazine award nominee. Effron also conducted the last recording of Mahler and Berlioz songs by the famed mezzo-soprano Jan de Gaetani.

Gayletha Nichols joined the artistic staff of the Metropolitan Opera this season as executive director of the National Council Auditions. She has two decades of experience as a singer, teacher, and career advisor. From 1992 - 2000, she was the director of the Houston Opera Studio, the young artist development program at the Houston Grand Opera, where she created individualized training for singers and pianists. Nichols auditions hundreds of singers across North America every year and in her travels addresses many universities, conservatories, and festivals on developing the next generation of opera singers. She is a frequent adjudicator in national and international competitions.

Kenneth Merrill is currently on the coaching faculty of the Juilliard vocal arts department, where he often acts as musical director of productions of the Juilliard Opera Center and the Juilliard Opera Theater. He is also on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music, where he teaches song repertoire, accompanying, and vocal-instrument ensemble. Merrill has been associated with the Aspen Music Festival since 1980, acting as head coach in charge of musical preparation for the Aspen Opera Theater Center, led by director Edward Berkeley. In 1998 he began an association with the Chautauqua institutional Voice Program, led by Marlena Malas.

Visit Loyola University New Orleans on the World Wide Web at http://www.loyno.edu/music. For more information, contact Reid Wick at (504) 865-2074, or via e-mail at wick@loyno.edu.