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Sopranos Michelle Alexander and Asha Brooke were named winners of the 2015-16 Utah District Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council, held in Salt Lake City on Nov. 14. Each singer chosen from a field of 22 hopefuls received a $1,500 cash prize and will advance to the Rocky Mountain Regional auditions in Denver Jan. 31. Winners of that round will compete at the famed New York City opera house with the winners from 12 other regional competitions in the United States and Canada, and up to five National Council Auditions Winners will be chosen.
More than 100 alumni of the auditions program appear in Met productions during a typical season.
Alexander, 29, is a native of Salt Lake City. She earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Utah and a master's in vocal performance from Southern Methodist University. Alexander also won the $500 Audience Choice Award in an audience vote an honor she has won twice before. Brooke, 22 and a native of Nephi, is a student at Westminster College.
The judges for the 2015-16 Utah District Auditions were Eric Mitchko, general director of North Carolina Opera; Gayletha Nichols, executive director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions; and Laurent Philippe, coach on faculty at ENO Harewood Artists and guest coach at Opera Australia and the IOS Opernhaus Zürich. The judges also offered one-on-one feedback and career advice to the participants.