Wagner Society of New York

New York, NY

Wagner Society of New York

New York, NY

Singers Awards

2015 Singers Awards

Top Two Winners
Nine young singers with Wagnerian potential were recipients of the annual awards and grants from the Wagner Society of New York, as announced by Scott Carlton, Singers Committee Chairman. The top two winners were:

Clay Hilley, tenor, is the winner of the top award of $6,000, the Robert Lauch Memorial Fund Endowment Award. Hilley is poised for a prominent international career in the most demanding roles of the operatic repertory. The Georgia native has been acclaimed by The New York Times for his “vocal heft, clarion sound and stamina.” Hilley, a Georgia native, has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music from the University of Georgia, a professional studies certificate from Manhattan School of Music, and a Performer’s Certificate from the Opera Institute at Boston University. Click here to learn more.


Soprano Sarai Elizabeth Cole
, of Horsham, PA, received the $3,000 Ursula Springer Memorial Fund Award. Her recent appearances include Mimi in La Boheme and Leonora in Il Trovatore with Center Stage Opera of Harrisburg, PA, the title role in Suor Angelica with Chicago Summer Opera, and Santuzza with The Opera Project.
Click here to learn more.

Additional Grantees

$2,000 study grant to tenor Obed Floan, tenor from Hallock, Minn. He has performed Florestan, Laça in Janácek’s Jenufa, the Second Nazarene in Strauss’ Salome with Minnesota Opera, Parpignol in Puccini’s La Bohème and The Chaplain in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites (this with Des Moines Metro Opera). He is a graduate of Jane Eaglen’s Wagner Intensive Program and there performed excerpts of roles including the title roles of Siegfried, Tannhäuser, and Tristan.

$1,500 encouragement grant to soprano Ashley Curling, of New York City. Recent appearances include the title role in Suor Angelica at the Trentino Music Festival, the Marschallin at Harrower Opera of Atlanta, and as soloist with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra and the Miami Chamber Orchestra.  She was a Metropolitan Opera regional finalist for the New Orleans District.

$1,000 encouragement grant to soprano Leah Schenck-Crowne, of New York City. Recent appearances include the title role in  Turandot with Opera Fort Collins and a reprise of the role in 2015 with the Opera Company of Middlebury. She recently sang excerpts from the roles of Salome in Massenet’s Herodiade and Giulietta in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, in Bezier, France, and covered the title role in Tosca and Elisabeth in Verdi’s Don Carlos at Sarasota Opera.

$1,000 encouragement grant to soprano Alicia Jayourba, of Pittsburgh, PA. Recent appearances include Anna Maurrant in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Anita in Massenet’s La Navarraise, and Love Simpson in Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree with Florida State University Opera.  She was soloist in Dvorák’s Stabat Mater at the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria and Dvorák Hall in Prague.

$1,000 encouragement grant to soprano Terina Westmeyer, of Martinsburg, W. Va. Past winner of an Encouragement Award for the Marian Anderson Prize for Emerging Classical Artists. In January 2015 she sang Lady Billows in Britten’s Albert Herring at Bronx Opera. At the 2013 Baldwin-Wallace Wagner Intensive, Ms. Westmeyer sang excerpts from Götterdämmerung.  She performed Agathe in Der Freischütz, La Badessa in Suor Angelica, and Sarah in The Ballad of Baby Doe at Chelsea Opera.  She also studied at Actors Studio Drama School.

$1,000 encouragement grant to baritone Barry L. Robinson, of New York City. He recently made his debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges, and sang the role of Fojo in the revival of Harry Lawrence Freeman’s Voodoo at the Miller Theater of Columbia University. Other roles include Leporello and Don Alfonso, as well as the Count and as Figaro in  Le Nozze di Figaro.

$1,000 encouragement grant to mezzo-soprano Marianna Vikse, of Staten Island, NY. She recently debuted as Carmen with the Teatropera Festival Opera Company in Tolentino, Italy.  She sang selections from Samson et Dalila in concert.  She will return in 2016 to Tolentino to perform Amneris.  Upcoming performances  include Meg Page in Falstaff with Delaware Opera and Tigrana in Puccini’s Edgar with Baltimore Concert Opera.

Scott Carlton, New York City-based voice teacher and coach and member of the Bayreuth Festival Chorus from 2003-2013, chaired the adjudicating panel, which consisted of Shirley Close, international mezzo-soprano and professor of voice at Florida State University; conductor Eve Queler; Robert Lombardo, artists’ manager and partner at Robert Lombardo Associates; and Carlton. The awards are funded by members who established the Robert Lauch Memorial Endowed Fund,  the Ursula Springer Endowed Fund, and a matching fund of the WSNY, with additional grants supported by member contributions. Auditions are by invitation only and are conducted annually.