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Viewpoint: As Thousands Cheer

by F. Paul Driscoll

Viewpoint Metropolitan Opera hdl 617
2017 National Council winners Kyle van Schoonhoven, Vanessa Vasquez, Samantha Hankey, Kirsten MacKinnon, Aryeh
Nussbaum Cohen and Richard Smagur

© Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

ON MARCH 19, the Metropolitan Opera National Council presented its Grand Finals concert at the Metropolitan Opera House. For more than sixty years, the National Council Auditions have been a defining step in the careers of opera’s most important singers; the program’s long list of distinguished alumni was represented on March 19 by four wonderful artists who are on the Met roster this season. Renée Fleming—who made her first Met appearance in the 1988 National Council Winners Concert—was the host for this year’s concert, and the three guest artists were Jamie Barton, Amber Wagner and Michael Fabiano. Barton, Wagner and Fabiano were all victors in the 2007 Grand Finals concert, the subject of the 2008 documentary The Audition. 

The Grand Finals concert is the culmination of the National Council’s year and represents the work of hundreds of men and women who coordinate and judge auditions on the district, regional and semi-final levels. The National Council’s commitment to young singers represents an ongoing investment in the future of the art form. The artists who have been encouraged and acknowledged by the National Council are at work on stages all over the world—not just at the Met but on Broadway, in Europe and in companies throughout North America.

As we were preparing this issue of OPERA NEWS, we were saddened to learn of the death of Raymond Raskin, on April 8 at the age of ninety-five. Dr. Raskin, a well-respected psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in New York City, was one of the National Council’s most ardent supporters. Raskin’s first wife, soprano Judith Raskin, was a superb voice teacher and a beloved lyric soprano who sang more than one hundred performances with the Met in New York and on tour during the 1960s and ’70s. Judith Raskin died in 1984, at the age of fifty-six, but her legacy is honored by the National Council, which presents an award each year in her memory—an event that gave great pride and joy to Ray Raskin for all of his life. spacer 

Viewpoint Driscoll Signature 815

Editor in Chief 



The opinions expressed in OPERA NEWS do not necessarily represent the views of The Metropolitan Opera Guild or The Metropolitan Opera. 



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