Metropolitan Opera Annouces Creation of $50,000 Beverly Sills Artist Award for Young Singers

© Beth Bergman 2005
The Metropolitan Opera has announced the establishment of the Beverly Sills Artist Award. The award, which will be given to a young singer on the company's roster, is to be the largest prize of its kind in the United States, carrying a purse of $50,000. Candidates for the award will be between the ages of 25 and 40 years old, citizens of the United States, and will have already appeared in featured solo roles with The Metropolitan Opera.

The first annual award will be bestowed for the 2006-07 season, and the recipient will be announced in the latter part of the current season. The award is specifically designated to aid recipients in career enhancement, the company announced, including funding for voice lessons, vocal coaching, language lessons, related travel costs, and other important career help. The judging panel will be chaired by Ms. Sills and will include Nathan Leventhal, former president of Lincoln Center.

The $50,000 prize will be funded by an endowment gift from Agnes Varis, a managing director on The Met board, and Karl Leichtman, her husband, in honor of Ms. Sills' many accomplishments in the arts.

"I am deeply touched, but not surprised, by the generosity of my two very close friends who have honored me in such a meaningful way. In addition to their personal warmth and kindness to me, their profound interest in the arts is second to no one's," Sill is quoted as saying. "It is not only a privilege but a treat to see our names linked in such an important endeavor as helping young singers."

More information can be found at the The Metropolitan Opera and The New York Times.

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