Known since its founding in 1954 as the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the competition name has been changed in recognition of a generous gift from the Laffont family. Beginning with the class of 2021, the competition is now called the Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition.
Participating in the 2021 competition looked much different this year with 10 finalists performing in the Laffont Grand Finals Concert, virtually from locations around the world. Hosted by bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green (a 2011 competition winner) the singers performed virtually for an audience of judges, industry leaders, and the general public.
Each winner receives a $20,000 cash prize and the prestige and exposure that come with winning the competition that launched the careers of many of opera’s biggest stars. The remaining five finalists each receive a $10,000 cash prize.
Now in its 67th season, this year nearly 1,200 applicants auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition, with just over 600 singers qualifying for the 31 District Auditions. Of the 141 singers in the 10 Regional rounds, 23 were named semifinalists. The auditions are a potentially career-making opportunity for aspiring opera singers, given the reach of the auditions, the number of applicants, and the program’s long tradition.
The 2021 winners, the regions they represent in the competition, and their hometowns are:
- Duke Kim, 29, tenor (Western Region: Seoul, South Korea)
- Hyoyoung Kim, 24, soprano (Southeast Region: Seoul, South Korea)
- Raven McMillon, 25, soprano (New England Region: Baltimore, MD)
- Emily Sierra, 23, mezzo-soprano (Eastern Region: Chicago, IL)
- Emily Treigle, 23, mezzo-soprano (Gulf Coast Region: New Orleans, LA)
Sadly, there will be no radio broadcast of the finalists concert available to radio stations across the country this year.