Iowa City artist wins national opera award

Jessica Faselt

Opera winner

Iowa City
Jessica Faselt Opera winner Iowa City

Jessica Faselt of Iowa City is one of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition winners, announced April 29. This is one of the most prestigious voice competitions in the world, offering singers the chance to be heard by leading industry professionals and to launch their international careers.

The event’s Grand Final Concert was held on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center in New York. The nine finalists performed with Maestro Bertrand de Billy leading the Met Orchestra for two arias per contestant.

For months leading up to the Grand Final Concert, the audition process begins with about 1,500 vocalists singing at the District level. With 42 Districts across the United States and Canada, the winners at each advance to 12 Regional Auditions. From there, 25 singers were sent to New York for the semifinals. Nine singers were then chosen to compete in the Grand Final Concert, where five were chosen as the Grand Prize Winners, including Faselt, who received the $15,000 Birgit Nilsson Award of the American-Scandinavian Foundation.

Faselt competed five consecutive times, moving up a rank up in the competition each year. In her first year singing for the auditions in January 2015, she advanced from the Iowa District to the Upper Midwest Regional, where she received an Encouragement Award. In October 2015, she competed in the Cincinnati District and moved on to receive the third place award at the Chicago Regional. In February 2016, she competed in the Mid/East Tennessee District and moved on as a finalist for the Mid-South Regional, receiving the second place award.

She competed at the Minnesota District in 2017 and advanced to the Upper Midwest Regional, where she was captured first-place honors and a trip to New York City, advancing to the semifinal round of the competition. This year, she brought it all home by again competing with the Minnesota District and Upper-Midwest Regional, advanced to the semifinals, then the finals, becoming one of the winners.

Faselt most recently was a Studio Artist with the Florida Grand Opera in Miami for the 2017/2018 season and covered the title roles in “Salome” and “Florencia en el Amazonas.” She was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of St. Louis in the summer of 2015 and returned in the summer of 2016 covering the title role in “Ariadne auf Naxos.” She was also an apprentice artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera in 2014. She also has sung with the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices in Reno, Nev., for two summers, studying with world-renowned mezzo-soprano, Dolora Zajick.

Among her other awards, are being a semifinalist in the Elizabeth Connell Prize International Vocal Competition; second place the Opera Columbus Cooper-Bing International Voice Competition in 2017; Encouragement Award at the Marcello Giordanni International Voice Competition in 2017; and was a semifinalist at the Eleanor McCollum Voice Competition with the Houston Grand Opera in February 2016.


Faselt earned a Masters of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2016, a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Iowa in 2014, and studies extensively with vocal coach Shari Rhoads of Coralville.


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