Nine young singers with Wagnerian potential have received awards and grants from the Wagner Society of New York.
Tenor Ric Furman received the top award of $4,000, the Robert Lauch Memorial Fund Endowment Award, said Scott Carlton, WSNY Singers Committee chairman. Soprano Jennifer Diane Behnke, received the $2,500 EugeneBrister Memorial Award. The Brister Award honors the longtime former chairman of the Singers Committee, who died this year. He did a great deal to further the careers of young singers. Mr. Furman and Ms. Behnke were presented at the Society’s annual Holiday Recital on Jan. 4., 2015, at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the Y (10 West 64th Street), Manhattan.
Ric Furman is a native of Macomb, Ill., and made his debut as a dramatic tenor as Florestan with the Seattle Opera, where he also appeared as Froh. In 2015 he will make his German debut as Erik and Pinkerton in Wiesbaden, and will sing Anatol in Barber’s Vanessa in Hagen. He will sing the role of Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos in Seattle in 2015. He is an alumnus of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Western Illinois University.
Jennifer Diane Behnke was born in Highland Lakes, N. J. and is a graduate of the Eastman School and Manhattan School of Music. She has sung a varied repertory, ranging from Elsa and Sieglinde to the Female Chorus in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia. She participated in Jane Eaglen’s Wagner Intensive Program as well as the Johanna Meier Opera Theatre Intensive.
Three Ursula Springer Fund Awards of $1,000 each were given to three sopranos:
Shareese Arnold is a native of Sheffield, Ala. Recent appearances include the Marschallin and Agathe with the Converse College/Petrie School of Music Opera Theatre, as well as performing the soprano solo in Brahms’ Requiem and Britten’s World of the Spirit at Indiana University.
Amanda Zory is a native of Deer Park, Long Island. She studied at the Juilliard School, Ithaca College and Hunter College. She has sung a varied repertory, including workshop performances as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, and as Donna Anna.
Milica Nikcevic, a native of Milwaukee, Wis., has performed with local opera companies and in workshop as Carmen, La Cieca in La Gioconda, and the Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica. In November 2014 she will appear locally as Baba in The Mediumand, as Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera. February 2014 saw her film debut in Matthew Barney’s “River of Fundament”, starring Paul Giamatti, Maggie Gyllenhall, Ellen Burstyn and Elaine Stritch.
WSNY study grants went to soprano Natalie Bergeron, a nativeof Birmingham, Al, soprano Sarai Johnson, a native of Pasadena, Ca, tenor Brent Reilly Turner, who grew up in Ovieda, Fl, and soprano Terina Westmeyer, a native of Martinsburg, W.V.
Judges were conductor Eve Queler, mezzo-soprano Mignon Dunn, artists manager Ken Benson, and Scott Carlton. The WSNY, which was founded in 1977, is the largest Wagner Society in North America.