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Master’s student takes first steps toward Met stage

January 3rd, 2006

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Master’s student Korin Kormick will compete in the Tri-State Regional Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Jan. 8. (Photo courtesy of Jan Abbott.)

In the world of opera, the Metropolitan Opera in New York represents a pinnacle of success, but for some young singers, it also represents a starting point.

University of Louisville graduate student Korin Kormick soon may know how it feels to perform on the Met stage. Kormick will compete in the Tri-State Regional Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council (MONC) Jan. 8 at 1 p.m. The auditions will be in Corbett Auditorium at the College Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati. Admission is free and open to the public.

MONC auditions are part of a Metropolitan Opera program designed to discover promising young opera singers and help develop their careers. District winners advance to the regional competition. Winners of the regional auditions go to New York where they work with coaches from the Met and participate in the national competition. Some are featured in a Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast.

Kormick, a mezzo-soprano, was one of three winners in the Kentucky district portion of the auditions in November. A regular in the Kentucky Opera chorus for five years, this is her first competition.

Competition, she said, is “vastly different” from performing with a company.

“In the opera chorus, you are part of a corporate body and almost never singing by yourself, so it’s less noticeable if you make an occasional mistake,” she said “In a competition like this, or in any audition situation, it’s just you, the pianist and the judges, and you’re totally exposed.”

The MONC requires participants to prepare five arias in at least three languages. Kormick describes her repertoire as “pieces with a great deal of luscious lyricism and dramatic intensity” — perfect choices for someone who finds “being able to delve into a character’s soul and quite literally become their voice” to be the most thrilling thing about singing opera.

That passion spills over into Kormick’s performances, according to her instructors.

“She combines a wonderful singing voice with a dramatic presence that is fascinating to watch,” said Michael Ramach, stage director and acting instructor who works with her at U of L and at the Kentucky Opera.

Kormick has portrayed Cio-Cio San’s mother in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” Mrs. Diana Trapes in “The Beggar’s Opera,” and Ma Moss in Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land.”

She also brought journalist Helen Thomas to the opera stage in the world premiere of “Chasing a Precedent.” The opera was written by Danielle Post as part of the Kentucky Opera VISIONS program. Kormick said the role is her favorite so far for several reasons — one being that she was able to portray a living person.

“It is truly an incomparable experience to be involved in the building of a new musical work from scratch, an experience that is unfortunately rare in opera,” she added.

Kormick is pursuing a Master of Music degree in vocal performance at U of L. She studies voice with Daniel Weeks, a 1999 MONC National Finalist, and has her sights set on portraying more principal characters on the professional opera stage.

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