Centre alumna takes first steps toward Met stage
RELEASED: Dec. 22, 2005
DANVILLE, KY—A recent Centre College graduate has won the district auditions for the Metropolitan Opera. Mezzo-soprano Korin Kormick '00, was named a winner in the Kentucky District Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council (MONC) on Saturday, Nov. 12 in Lexington, Ky. and will advance to the Tri-State Regional Auditions on January 8, 2006, at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
Kormick graduated from Centre in 2000 with a double major in French and music. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Louisville, where she studies with former Centre professor Daniel Weeks, and a 1999 MONC National Finalist.
The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions is a program designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers. Winners of the District auditions advance to their Region Finals where they compete to win a trip to New York to participate in the National Level of competition held on the Metropolitan Opera stage.
In order to compete, singers must prepare five operatic arias in a minimum of three languages and a variety of contrasting musical styles. Kormick's repertoire includes works by Verdi, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Menotti, and Jake Heggie.
Ms. Kormick has appeared locally in a number of Kentucky Opera productions for the past five seasons, including as Cio-Cio San's mother in Puccini's Madama Butterfly. In May 2005, Kormick created the role of Helen Thomas in the world premiere of Danielle Post's opera Chasing a Precedent as part of the Kentucky Opera VISIONS program. She has also performed the roles of Mrs. Diana Trapes in The Beggar's Opera by John Gay and Ma Moss in The Tender Land by Aaron Copland with the University of Louisville Opera Theatre, and will portray the role of Katisha in their Spring 2006 production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado .
We were able to have a brief conversation, by phone and email, with Kormick recently:
First, how does it feel to have won the district competition?
It was thrilling to be named one of the district winners. It was also quite a surprise, since this was my first professional competition. I honestly didn't expect to advance to regionals, although the possibility was certainly enticing! My goal in the next round is simply to give the best performance that I can, just as it was at the district level, and to learn from the audition itself.
What does this mean to your career?
Since the Metropolitan Opera is so internationally renowned, there's an element of instant prestige that's associated with these auditions from the outset. What many people don't know is that singers in this competition are not actually auditioning for a role at the Met, as the term '"Met audition'" would imply. They are auditioning for a monetary prize that will aid in further career development, as well as national exposure and the accompanying potential networking contacts. Met audition winners may be invited, however, to participate in the Lindemann Young Artists program, and the Met auditions have been the springboard for launching a number of singers' careers. Personally, I think that the most valuable part of the process is receiving feedback from the judges on your performance, which is something that singers don't have the benefit of experiencing in a typical audition situation. It's a tremendous encouragement to have your work validated by established professionals affiliated with one of the most recognizable institutions in the opera world.
How has your Centre music education contributed to your success?
The music department at Centre offers a uniquely nurturing environment that encourages students to explore their musical talents while balancing that passion with other interests. While at Centre, I completed a double major in music and French, and I was even able to continue taking voice lessons at the Conservatoire National de Région de Strasbourg during my semester abroad.
Being an opera singer requires a number of diverse skills: not just vocal training--although that is certainly a crucial component--but also theatrical experience, an affinity for languages, and a thorough understanding of the historical context of the music you're performing. Centre's liberal arts education provided me with a strong interdisciplinary foundation that's been invaluable in preparing me for both my current graduate studies and my future professional pursuits.
Where are you from?
I'm a Kentucky native. I was born here and have spent most of my life within the state. My hometown is just outside Brandenburg, Ky., a small town about 50 miles southwest of Louisville.
What type of training have you had?
I've had just over seven years of voice lessons from a number of teachers, but unquestionably my biggest influence has been Daniel Weeks, my current professor. He was the voice instructor at Centre College when I was a freshman there, and is, in fact, the person who first suggested to me that I should study singing privately.
Tell me something about the program you're singing for it. Is it the same one at all levels?
Each singer must prepare five arias in at least three different languages, from a variety of historical periods and in contrasting musical styles. My repertoire is comprised of arias by Verdi, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Menotti, and Jake Heggie. [See below for complete repertoire details.] For me, the most important prerequisites regarding repertoire are that I feel vocally comfortable with each piece, and that I can really interpret the character's emotion in the aria. The repertoire list of five prepared arias can stay the same throughout the levels of the competition, or they can change, at the singer's discretion. A singer wants to present works that show off his or her talents most advantageously, of course, so if he or she works on a new piece that highlights a particular strength, then the rules allow for that flexibility.
Other quick facts
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