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School of Music Alumna Named Winner in Met Opera Auditions Grand Finals

School of Music Alumna Named Winner in Met Opera Auditions Grand Finals

UT School of Music alumna Alexandria Shiner (MM '16) was one of five singers named winner of the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions during the Grand Finals concert in the prestigious Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Shiner was among 9 finalists competing, and each winner will receive a $20,000 cash prize. She is the first UT alumna to win the prestigious auditions.

For over 60 years, the annual competition has helped launch the careers of countless young singers, including some of opera's greatest stars. Every season, over 100 former participants in the National Council Auditions appear on the Met roster. 

"We've had the opportunity to sing in front of countless industry professionals on the Met stage, and were able to sing with the Met Orchestra during the finals concert," said Shiner. "The exposure is astronomical."

Marjorie Bennett Stephens, retired UT voice faculty and Shiner's former voice teacher, made the trip to New York to support her former student during both the semifinals and finals. "What an absolute joy it was to watch and hear this young lady own the stage at the Met," said Stephens. "With great poise and elegance, she rocked the house."

"My time at UT working to find my voice with Marjorie Bennett Stephens was critical in shaping me into the artist I am today," said Shiner. "In fact, the two arias I performed in the finals are two pieces that I learned with her. The fact that she has been able to come up and support me makes this extremely special to me."

Shiner is also grateful for her time working with James Marvel, director of opera at UT. "The acting and musical training with James has continually helped me to approach each audition, competition, and performance with an edge and confidence that has made all the difference so far in my career," said Shiner.

Shiner has quickly established herself as a premiere soprano talent, as she has already performed major roles with the Marble City Opera, Washington National Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera. Adding to her accomplishments as a young artist, she will make her debut with the Met Opera this December, as she will sing the role of Berta in II barbiere di Siviglia.

"Any opportunity to sing on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera is a gift, and one that I plan to make the most of," said Shiner.

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Contact: Jeff Roberts (865-974-8935, jrobe126@utk.edu)

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