Grant Harper, an undergraduate student at Oklahoma State University, was one of three winners in the Tulsa District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions held recently in Tulsa. His performance convinced a panel of judges to advance him to the regional competition in March with a $2,000 award for his achievement.
The national council auditions are designed to discover exceptional talent and provide a venue for young opera singers to be heard by representatives of the Metropolitan Opera as well as assist those with the greatest potential for operatic careers.
Harper, a senior from Fort Smith majoring in university studies, admits he was so excited to be in the competition that he can’t remember much about his performance.
“That day was an absolute whirlwind. I could not believe that I was there in the first place. The performance itself was a blur. I don’t even remember being on stage,” said Harper. “When the district coordinator announced the winners, I was in shock. The whole experience has been an affirmation that a career in opera is what I am meant to do. I cannot wait to get to the regional auditions in March!”
Harper’s winning performance of “The Ride to Rome” from a composition by Benjamin Britten and a selection from Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” impressed the judges and delighted his voice teacher.
“Grant was one of the youngest singers to compete in this elite competition, the other two winners have already completed graduate studies and have started their operatic careers,” said April Golliver-Mohiuddin, associate professor and co-director of opera at OSU. “If Grant wins the regional competition, he will advance to the finals at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City where he will be coached by Met conductors and vocal coaches. I couldn't be more excited for him.”
Harper, who has been studying music for 12 years, is scheduled to graduate from OSU in May, and plans to pursue a master’s degree in music that emphasizes voice performance.
The judges for the district contest were Susan Shiplett Ashbaker, general director of Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, New York; Sean Kelly, head of music, Opera Omaha; and Margaret Jane Wray, Metropolitan Opera singer.