June 27, 2017
The fourth annual James Toland Vocal Arts Competition ended on Saturday in victory for soprano Julie Adams in Tier One. It’s another feather in the cap for Adams, who has been admired in the Bay Area in numerous roles, from Blanche in the Merola Opera’s Streetcar Named Desire, Mimi in S.F. Opera’s recent La boheme, SF Opera Lab’s Chamberworks Concerts, to Rose in Street Scene at Oakland East Bay Symphony. She has been a winner in the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, and of the 2015 George London Award, so perhaps this newest award should not be surprising. Adams is certainly a nascent star.
Maya Kherani, another soprano, won the Tier Two competition. Kherani also needs no introduction to Bay Area audiences, who have seen her in West Bay Opera’s Marriage of Figaro, Opera Parallele’s Ainadamar, Savitri and River of Light at Festival Opera, Rigoletto and Daughter of the Regiment at Pocket Opera, and much more. Kherani also took home the Audience Favorite award.
Mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey and baritone Andrew Manea were second and third place winners respectively in Tier One, and sopranos Emilie Faiella and Erin O’Meally won second and third place in Tier Two. Soprano Sandra Hamaoui received the Audience Favorite award for Tier One.
Adams receives $5,000 for her victory as well as a performance opportunity with the Oakland Symphony next season. All Tier One performers also participated in a masterclass with dramatic soprano Deborah Voigt.