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Winners Named in New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera's 30th Annual International Vocal Competition

January 16, 2019 | By Luhrs & Associates


Media Contact: Luhrs & Associates, press[at]                           

Lucine Amara Names Winners in New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera's

30th Annual International Vocal Competition

(Fort Lee, New Jersey. U.S.A.; January 16, 2019) – Opera legend Lucine Amara, Artistic Director of the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, announces the winners and the finalists selected in the company's 30th Annual International Vocal Competition. Baritone Gerardo de la Torre from Mexico and soprano Joowon Chae from New York tied for first place and will share a $3,000 award. Tenor Tianchi Zhang of New Jersey was awarded third place and a $500 prize. In May 2018, the international competition opened to singers of all ages worldwide.

            The finalists were: soprano Samarie Alicea (New York), soprano Joowon Chae, tenor Hyunho Cho (New York), baritone Gerardo de la Torre (Mexico), soprano Holly Flack (Midland, New Jersey), baritone Joseph Gansert (Bronxville, New York), soprano Hayan Kim (New York), bass Seunghee Lee (Austin, Texas), soprano Hyeree Shin (New York), and tenor Tianchi Zhang (Jersey City, New Jersey).

            "The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera's Annual International Vocal Competition displayed some amazing young talent.  Although the judges noted many of the contestants had not yet mastered the proper belly breathing technique, this issue was addressed to great success in the free master classes we provided to the singers. It's always a thrill to see the young people master a new concept so quickly.  Bravi to all! We wish them great success in their future careers," said Amara.

            An illustrious panel of judges adjudicated the final round of the competition. They include prominent vocal coach Tamie Laurence, voice teacher and audition coach Dillon McCartney, and Lucy Arner, Principal Conductor/Music Director with the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera.      

Training Singers

            The finalists attended two free four-hour master classes taught by international soprano, teacher/coach, and stage director/general manager of the Verismo Opera Evelyn La Quaif, culminating with finals conducted at Shetler Studios in New York City. They received critical feedback; extensive free coaching on language, style and presentation; and the prospect to perform in Verismo Opera's fully staged productions. All finalists received the judges' comments.

About New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera

            For 30 years, the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization headquartered in Fort Lee, New Jersey, has been an integral part of the region’s classical music culture. Led by Metropolitan Opera luminary Lucine Amara, Verismo Opera provides performing opportunities for artists through semi-annual productions and concerts, directs an international vocal competition drawing artists worldwide, and organizes opera workshops and master classes.

            For information, visit Verismo Opera's web site,; follow the company on Facebook,, or Twitter @NJVerismoOpera; or contact





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