UK singer wins encouragement award at Met regionals

University of Kentucky senior Rachel Sterrenberg won the encouragement award at Saturday’s Mid-South Regional round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Rachel Sterrenberg as Juliette in the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre's production of Romeo et Juliette in October 2011. © Herald-Leader staff photo by Rich Copley.

The soprano from Madison, Ga., has had quite a year as an undergraduate in a program that usually shines its brightest spotlight on graduate students including performing the title female role in Charles Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette in October and following that up with a win at the Kentucky District round of the Met Auditions in November at Memorial Hall.

The winner of the Mid-South Regional was baritone Anthony Clarke Evans, apparently channeling some of the winning mojo of the men’s basketball team at his alma mater, Murray State. According to Amanda Balltrip of Lexington-based United Artists and Authors Agency, the Elizabethtown-based singer has not been taking voice lessons since 2008 and has been working as a car salesman. He’ll need to make time for a trip to New York for the national semi-final round and possibly the finals.

The runners up, who do not advance, were soprano Vanessa Isiguen from Charlotte, N.C., in second place and baritone Thomas Gunther of Cincinnati in third. Gunther was also a Kentucky District winner.

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