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Met Opera auditions set for Saturday at UND

The annual district auditions for the Metropolitan Opera begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the UND Hughes Fine Arts Center.

Free and open to the public, the audition concert will feature 16 singers from this region who are hoping to advance to the Met's regional finals in January 2019 at St. Paul, said G. Paul Larson of Grand Forks, an organizer of the event.

The audition is an opportunity for aspiring singers, who range in age from 20 to 30, to be heard by representatives of The Metropolitan Opera and to become known to those who hire singers for operatic productions, Larson said.

Three judges are participating: Dean Williamson, music director of Nashville Opera; Roger Malouf, assistant director of The Metropolitan Opera; and Laurie Rogers, director of Young Artist Programs and head of the music staff for Opera Saratoga, of Saratoga, N.Y.

Malouf will present a master class for local singers Friday and Williamson will lead a master class for the competing singers Saturday at the Hughes Fine Arts Center. Both master classes are free and open to the public.

This marks the 55th year that the North Dakota-Manitoba District Auditions for the Metropolitan Opera National Council have been held in Grand Forks.

The district audition here attracts singers from the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Manitoba.

Winners chosen at the regional finals advance to semi-finals in New York City, and finalists at that level perform at the Grand Finals Concert on the stage of The Metropolitan Opera.

Throughout the four levels of competition, singers compete for nearly $500,000 in prize money and the prestige of being a "Met winner," Larson said.