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News Releases

September 20, 1997


The centenary year Rosa Ponselle Biennial INTERNATIONAL Competition for the Vocal Arts will open its 9th presentment at Lincoln Center Plaza's Alice Tully Hall to young vocal artists between the ages of 17 to 24 years. The contestants will arrive in New York City from countries around the world and throughout the United States to vie for the coveted Ponselle prize awards.

The awards include Gold, Silver and Bronze Medallion presentations along with respective cash awards of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000. Finalists are to receive $3,000 cash awards, Semifinalists $2,000 and Quarter-Finalists $1,000 each in cash awards.

The jury consists of famed opera and concert artists, Mesdames Irina Arkbipova of Russia, Fedora Barbieri of Italy, Regine Crespin of France and Dr. William Warfield of the U.S.A.; Doublebass player, Gary Karr, of Canada, opera company impresarios, Janice Mancini del Sesto and Pelham G. Pearce Jr.; The Rosa Ponselle Foundation's Music Director, Maestro Igor Chichagov and Administrative Director and Coordinator of Educational and Competition Programs, Miss Elayne Duke.

The INTERNATIONAL Competition will run from November 2 to 10 and will feature within its scope, two audio visual features by famed biographer and media personality, John Ardoin, on the lives and careers of Irina Arkhipova and William Warfield. Each artist will be present at their respective events of November 4 at 8 P.M., and November 8 at 2 P.M., at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. The artists will attend the programs for chats with John Ardoin and will perform mini vocal interludes for the audience. Rosa Ponselle's very own accompanist, Igor Chichagov, will be at the piano.

A "Showcase" Concert featuring Irina Arkhipova, William Warfield, Gary Karr, former Ponselle Gold Medalist Marina Shaguch of the Kirov Opera, Russian doublebassist Alexander Khaindrava and former Laureates of the Rosa Ponselle "YOUNG NEW YORKERS'" Competition will appear in a centenary year "Showcase" Concert at Alice Tully Hall on Sunday, November 9 at 8 P.M.

Concluding the centenary year competition programs will be a special seminar in celebration of the 79th anniversary of Ponselle's Metropolitan Opera debut on Saturday, November 15 at 2 P.M. at the Weill Recital Hall. Ponselle was the first American born artist to make a debut at the Met in a major role without the benefit of European training or experience, and is credited with opening the doors of the Met to the American-trained singer.

George Jellinek, well known for his weekly WQXR program, The Vocal Scene, will moderate the program, which includes NEW YORK magazine's Peter G. Davis; Opera News' John W. Freeman; Pulitzer Prize awardee of The Washington Post, Tim Page; London music critic, author and radio personality of the BBC, John Steane and specialist in the recording transfers of our operatic greats to CDs, Ward Marston.

The program will cover Ponselle's career with slides, film and recordings beginning with her historic debut opposite Enrico Caruso at age 21 as Leonora in LA FORZA DEL DESTINO to her last publicly acclaimed role as Carmen in 1937. It was her CARMEN which created such popular demand and was billed as the "hottest ticket in town" that caused the Met to produce four live radio broadcasts of her CARMEN during a two-consecutive year period between 1935 and 1937.

Tickets to the Alice Tully Hall "Showcase" Concert may be acquired at $10 and $5 each through the Alice Tully Hall box office by telephoning (212) 875-5050.

The tickets to the John Ardoin and George Jellinek programs may be purchased at $10 and $5 each at the Carnegie Hall box office, telephone (212) 247-7800.

For further inquiries contact:

Miss Elayne Duke
The Rosa Ponselle Foundation
Telephone: (410) 486-4616
Fax: (410) 486-0495
E-mail: Website:

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Updated: 12/13/97
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