Violetta DuPont 25th Vocal Competition invites Met Soprano Angela Meade

MADISON, NJ (April 18, 2013)—Opera at Florham (OAF) presents its annual Vocal Competition established by Violetta DuPont to benefit singers, 21 to 35 years of age, who are pursuing a career in opera. In celebration of its 25th year, a luncheon will precede the vocal competition with special entertainment from Soprano Angela Meade and pianist Arlene Shrut to honor the late DuPont, the founder of the competition and the co-founder of the Opera at Florham. The competition will be held at Fairleigh Dickinson University on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 4 p.m. in Lenfell Hall, Hennessy Hall, and the luncheon will be held at 1 p.m. in Hartman Lounge, Hennessy Hall. 

Meade returns to the Opera at Florham after winning first place in the 2006 competition. Less than five years after her professional debut, she has quickly become recognized as one of the outstanding vocalists of her generation. She is the winner of the 2012 Beverly Sills Artist Award from the Metropolitan Opera, the 2011 Richard Tucker Award, and one of the winners of the 2007 Met Opera National Council Auditions. The New Yorker has stated, “Meade is astounding … She has exceptional dynamic control, able to move from floating pianissimos to sudden dramatic swells.” In 2008- 2009 season, Meade performed the lead roles in Verdi’s Ernani at the Met and in 2011-12 season, she starred in the title role of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena.  Next season, she will sing the title role in Bellini’s Norma and Verdi’s Il Trovatore

Shrut is a collaborative pianist who combines tradition with transformation. She is a senior coach at the Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts of The Juilliard School as well as a Vocal-Piano Recital faculty coach at the Manhattan School of Music. An admired keyboard performer hailed as a "strong and sensitive pianist" by The New York Times, she has performed in major venues in America, Canada and Europe, and recorded for Dorian, Albany, Summit, Centaur and Orion labels. 

Stephen De Maio, long-time competition judge and friend of DuPont, chairs this event. Judges for the competition include: Gloria Gari (of the Gari Foundation of New York City), Pamela Gilmore (director opera at Rutgers University), Theresa Apoeli (former Met Opera singer), and Ken Benson (formerly of Columbia Artists). Finalists were chosen by preliminary judges: Richard Kopp, (director of OAF's Vocal Competition), and David Wroe, OAF's new artistic director and conductor of the Westfield Symphony and Musica Morristown.

Prizes will be awarded to the three winners: first prize of $5,000 donated by The Gerda Lissner Foundation, NYC by its President, DeMaio; second prize of $3,000 and third prize of $1,500 were donated by the Estate of Violetta DuPont and her children. Former judge, Thurgood Smithgall, made a special donation of $1,000 for encouragement awards to be given out to the other finalists in honor of his long-time friend, the late DuPont. 

The Opera at Florham’s Vocal Competition was established in 1987 to honor Violetta Pollara DuPont, a founding member of the Opera at Florham, for her vision and her tireless work on behalf of OAF. In sponsoring the Competition, OAF acts in concert with its mission: to provide young artists on the threshold of promising careers with the opportunities to gain role and stage experiences and to advance those careers through a variety of programs. DuPont passed away last June at the age of 100.

The tickets are $25 for the competition alone, and $60 for the luncheon and competition. Dessert will also be served at intermission. Tickets can be ordered by calling 973-443-8620 or online.  Checks can be mailed to Opera at Florham, P. O. Box 343, Convent Station, NJ 07961.

The College at Florham of Fairleigh Dickinson University is located at 285 Madison Ave., Madison, NJ. For more information, visit

For Immediate Release

FDU Office of Public Relations

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