My fellow jurors Nancy Gustafson and Samuel Ramey
For some years I have served on the three person Jury for the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation's Rose M Grundman Scholarships. This is a competition for singers resident in Chicago and tends to be won by members of the Lyric Opera's Ryan Center team of top class young singers.
This year, for the first time during the eight years or more that I have been doing this, neither winner was from the Ryan Center. Our unanimous choices were Siân Davies who sang Elcia in COT's Mose in Egitto in 2010 and also covered Antonia in Lyric's Hoffmann last season, and Andrew Harris, a former member of COT's young artist program who will be in Santa Fe this summer and will be at the Deutsche Oper Berlin next season. Each of these talented young people will receive a not inconsiderable award of $15,000. But we heard some fine singing from the other excellent competitors and the result was a close run thing. We were prohibited from splitting the prize between two singers......so that meant we had to take a decision!
It was a delight to have Nancy Gustafson and Samuel Ramey with me this afternoon. They are old pals, Sam having sung Mefistofeles when Nancy made her Lyric Opera debut in Faust. And they both sang often at Glyndebourne of course during my years there.
It has been a gorgeous day in Chicago. We started our half day Friday system in the office last week and this will continue until July 4 after which the company will be going full speed ahead in preparation for the September production of the Magic Flute. Meanwhile some brief respite is provided by having a slightly lengthened weekend after the round the clock activities of the last few months.