The Annual Opera at Florham Vocal Competition

No area of this Company remains untouched by her determination. Everyone who has participated in any of the Company activities has learned lessons in the value of work, cooperation, acceptance and patience. She has honored this campus, this community, and those happy participants in the cultural atmosphere which she has greatly helped to make possible here. Violetta Pollara DuPont celebrated her 100th birthday April 7, 2012 and attended that year’s Vocal Competition. She passed away June 8, 2012. Her legacy continues with Opera at Florham.

Audition information for the 2018 Competition will be available in January.


Soon after the founding of Opera at Florham in 1982, its ‘flagship’ activity, the Opera at Florham Vocal Competition (formally known as the Violetta DuPont Vocal Competition), was established in 1987 in honor of OAF’s benefactor and co-founder, Violetta DuPont, for her vision and tireless commitment over a span of 25 years.

Viewed in the Music Industry as an important competition in North America, it offers a selection of prizes totaling $10,000 to qualified entrants who demonstrate exceptional talent in the operatic art form. It was designed specifically to project the mission of OAF by creating opportunities, growth, development, and support for young professional singers on the threshold of establishing their promising operatic careers. This support is manifested in three fundamental ways:

  1. Prize Awards: Three Grand Prizes are awarded at the discretion of the jury to the winners: 1st $5,000, 2nd $3,000, and 3rd $1,500. Encouragement Awards may also be given to the other finalists.
  2. Exposure to industry professionals: During the day-long process, industry professionals and consultants are invited to the proceedings, both as adjudicators, invited agent artists, managers, and VIP’S. Participants both sing and interact with these professionals and often develop ongoing relationships beyond the event.
  3. Awarding of future roles for qualified finalists and winners: OAF attempts to continue the relationship with selected winners of the competition by offering those artists roles to perform in public in Musicales and future operas produced by the company, thus making the relationship both immediate and ongoing. Many previous finalists are now on the rosters of the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and other companies here and abroad.

The competition selection process is in two parts: preliminary live listening, and the final selection at the competition. Entrants, aged 21-35, are requested to submit an application which includes the applicant’s resumes and recommendations. This preliminary round can attract over 80 entrants. The preliminary selection jury, which includes OAF’s Music Director, identifies 6-8 finalists who are then invited to compete in a public forum and in front of a celebrated collection of jurists which have included, in the past, famed opera singers Licia Albanese and Jerome Hines.

The public is invited to attend the final round of the Competition held in April at FDU’s Lenfell Hall, The Mansion, Madison, NJ, and witness extraordinary young singers from around the United States and abroad who are pursuing careers as operatic vocalists, and vying for the prizes. Fancy refreshments are served at intermission.

2017 Winners: 1st prize, Alexandra Nowakowski, soprano; 2nd prize, Jennifer Panara, mezzo-soprano; 3rd prize, Kidon Choi, baritone

2016 Winners: 1st prize, Andre Courville, bass-baritone; 2nd prize, Marie Natale, soprano; 3rd prize, Chloe Moore, soprano.

 

View the 2017 program book here.
View the 2017 press release here.