The Wagner College Department of Performing Arts and the DaVinci Society will hold the 19th annual Italian Idol singing competition. The competition is open to Wagner sophomore, junior and senior students who currently study voice. Students compete for major cash awards by singing Italian art songs and arias. This year’s judges are Jonathan C. Kelly, assistant conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, and Lori Mirabal, award-winning mezzo-soprano in opera, musical theater, Broadway and film.
Founded in 2003 by Roger Wesby, Wagner College music professor emeritus, in collaboration with the DaVinci Society, the competition began as a modest contest among Wagner students that celebrated Italian cultural heritage. The winners of the competition would be presented at month’s end on a Viva Italia! concert along with choral groups and faculty soloists from the Music Department.
Over the years, the competition has grown in size and prestige. With the help of the college’s voice faculty, the professionals invited to judge represent the highest ranks of the community of vocal performers and teachers. Professor Anthony Turner lent his considerable abilities to the effort, and donations were secured that made possible higher and higher awards. Five years ago, a dramatic breakthrough happened when former Wagner trustee Al Palladino attended the competition with a colleague from the board of the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, which was in the process of liquidating its considerable assets. Impressed by the quality and organization of the event, the board decided to give the competition $50,000. In grateful recognition of this generous gift, the event is now called the Italian Idol Singing Competition at Wagner College in Memory of Licia Albanese.
Students will compete for prizes that range from a $1,500 first prize to a $250 prize for honorable mention. The winner will also receive an offer of a substantial scholarship to the Orfeo Vocal Arts Academy summer program in Dresden, Germany, from its director, Wagner College voice instructor Alan Dornak.
The winners will be presented on the Wagner College website. For further information, those interested should call competition director/curator Anthony Turner at (917) 865-2020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.