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USC Thornton Alum Wins Met Audition

USC Thornton Alum Wins Met Audition
Kyung-Teak “Joseph” Lim performs in the USC Thornton Opera’s production of Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot in 2010.

Kyung-Teak “Joseph” Lim ’10 was one of five winners of the New York Metropolitan Opera’s 2011 National Council Auditions at the Grand Finals Concert on March 13.

In addition to a $15,000 cash prize, the baritone from South Korea won the opportunity to perform on the Metropolitan Opera’s historic stage in front of company executives, artist managers, music critics and other opinion-makers of the music world.

Due to the history, reach and tradition of the Metropolitan Opera, the auditions are considered the most prestigious in North America for singers seeking to launch an operatic career.

Past winners of the auditions include many of today’s leading operatic artists such as Stephanie Blythe, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Ben Heppner, Hei-Kyung Hong, Samuel Ramey and Deborah Voigt.

After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in music from Seoul National University, Lim came to the USC Thornton School of Music in 2008 and studied under Rod Gilfry, assistant professor of vocal arts and opera. He completed the graduate certificate in vocal performance program in May 2010.

The 28-year-old vocalist has accrued an impressive list of awards and accolades, including second place in the Metropolitan Opera National Audition Western Regional in 2009; first place in the Palm Springs Opera Guild Vocal Competition in 2008; and semifinalist in the Jose Iturbi International Music Competition. In May, he will begin a tenure at the Chicago Lyric Opera’s Ryan Opera Center.

“Joseph has a baritone voice of breathtaking beauty,” Gilfry said. “He’s a natural actor and a really sweet guy.”

During his tenure with the USC Thornton Opera program, Lim made a lasting impression performing the title role in Don Giovanni and Friedrich in Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot. He was named USC Thornton’s Marilyn Horne Scholar and was the baritone soloist in a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8.

More than 1,500 singers between the ages of 20 and 30 years old competed in this year’s Metropolitan Opera auditions. In addition to Lim, the other four winners were Joseph Barron, bass-baritone from Pittsburgh, Penn.; Ryan Speedo Green, bass-baritone from Suffolk, Va.; Michelle Johnson, soprano from Pearland, Texas; and Phillippe Sly, bass-baritone from Ottawa, Canada.

The winners were selected from eight finalists who performed arias with the Met Orchestra, conducted by Patrick Summers. The Grand Finals Concert was taped for later broadcast on public radio across the country.

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USC Thornton Alum Wins Met Audition

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