Soprano Rebecca Pedersen, a sophomore at BYU, was selected as one of six winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Sunday, March 10, in New York.
Of her performance, The New York Times wrote that Pedersen was “a precociously polished 21-year-old soprano who sounded particularly alluring in ‘Stridono lassù’ from ‘Pagliacci.’” The Associated Press also praised her “polished technique and potent sound.”
Pedersen had previously advanced through the Salt Lake locals, the Denver regionals and the New York semifinals. She was the youngest of the ten finalists selected from 1800 singers across the nation.
In addition to the $15,000 prize, winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions carries tremendous weight. As the Metropolitan Opera noted in its press release, given the reach of the auditions, the number of applicants, and the long tradition associated with them, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are considered the most prestigious competition in North America for singers seeking to launch an operatic career.
Many of the world’s foremost singers, among them Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, Jessye Norman, Samuel Ramey, Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt and Dolora Zajick have received awards from the National Council. Annually, approximately 100 former auditioners appear in Metropolitan Opera productions.
Pedersen studies vocal performance with Darrell Babidge. She is also mentored by world-renowned mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick and is a resident artist at the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices. Recent solo engagements have included concerts with the Utah Symphony, conducted by Thierry Fischer. Ms. Pedersen won the Utah Salute to Youth competition in 2010 and 2012. As a freshman, Rebecca won both the BYU Singer of the Year Award and the Concerto Competition, soloing with the BYU Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Pedersen also maintains a close working relationship with the Utah Lyric Opera Company, where she was cast in their recent productions of La Traviata and La Bohème. Roles include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte) at BYU, and Genevieve (Suor Angelica) with Utah/Idaho Performing Arts Company.
Photo: Metropolitan Opera