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Discovering the Next Generation of Opera Talent

View of orchestraOne of the most thrilling moments in opera is finding a young singer of exceptional ability who will someday grace the stages of the Met and other leading opera houses. Nurturing talented young performers is a key part of the Met’s mission, and the company has held audition competitions to do just this for many years.

Starting with Auditions of the Air in the 1930s, the program formally became the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1954. In 2021, it was renamed to honor a family of dedicated volunteers and supporters. The program is now known as the Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition.

The purpose of this rigorous competition is to discover the world’s most gifted opera singers and foster the development of their careers. The program’s scope is impressive. Over 1,200 applicants from North America apply for 600 qualifying slots. The qualifiers audition before volunteer judges from 32 districts throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Applicants can include students in these areas who hail from other countries; two of the five 2021 finalists were from South Korea.

Then, 140 district winners move on to 10 regional competitions, where singers are narrowed down to 20 semi-finalists. Only 10 are chosen for the Grand Finals Concert on the Met Stage, from which five winners are selected.

Some of the Laffont winners, such as 2021’s Brittany Olivia Logan, are accepted into the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, the Met’s artist-in-residency training. The excitement and challenge of the Laffont Competition is beautifully captured in Susan Froemke’s 2008 documentary The Audition, which chronicled the 2007 season and Grand Finals Concert.

The Laffont Competition has helped launch the careers of many of today’s most beloved opera stars, including Renee Fleming, Eric Owens, Hei-Kyung Hong, Stephanie Blythe, Sondra Radvanovsky, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Nadine Sierra, and Ryan Speedo Green. The 2021–22 season Grand Finals Concert will be held on May 1, 2022.

A gift in your will or trust, a beneficiary designation, or a life income gift enables the Met to help programs like the Laffont Competition thrive in years to come. To learn more about contributing to the future of the Met’s artists, programs, and productions, please contact Pamela Bennett at 212-870-7388 or encoresociety@metopera.org.