SAVE THE DATE: January 13, 2024

The North Dakota-Manitoba District Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition welcomes young aspiring opera singers usually to Grand Forks, ND on the University of North Dakota campus each spring. Come for an aria or come for the day; it's free!

Visit the Met Opera Laffont Competition website for eligibility information, district and region dates, and to apply. Online applications are accepted through the posted deadline. 

About the Laffont Competition

In recognition of a generous gift from the Laffont family, the Met’s nationwide vocal competition—known since its founding in 1954 as the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions—begins a new chapter as the Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition. Mrs. Laffont, an Advisory Director on the Met Board, has spent many hours volunteering with the auditions over the last 20 years, and she and her late husband, Eric, have long been among the program’s most dedicated supporters.

The Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition is a program designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers. The competition is held annually in twelve Regions of the United States and Canada. There are approximately forty Districts within these Regions, each providing an opportunity for talented singers to enter the competition at the local level. The competition is administered by local members and volunteers in each region. Winners of our district competition advance to the Upper Midwest Region Finals where they compete to win a trip to New York to participate in the National Semi-Finals, a competition held on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera. In 2021, our winners advanced to the Northwest Region Finals when we had an online, joint district with the Idaho/Montana district.

Approximately ten of the Semi-Finalists are selected as National Finalists and compete the following Sunday in a public concert, the Grand Finals Concert, accompanied by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. The jury awards approximately five Grand Winner awards of $15,000 each. The concert is broadcast nationwide on the Metropolitan Opera Radio Network. The remaining National Finalists receive $5,000 each, and those singers who were National Semi-Finalists but did not advance to the National Finals will be given $2,500 to further their studies. 

Many of the world’s foremost singers, among them Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, Jessye Norman, Samuel Ramey, Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt and Dolora Zajick have received awards from the National Council. Annually, approximately 100 former auditioners appear in Metropolitan Opera productions.  

Winners of the North Dakota-Manitoba District include a National Winner, National Finalists, Regional Winners, and recipients of additional awards at the National and Regional level.  District Winner Maria Williams-Kennedy advanced to the National Finals twice, and past District Winners and Regional Finalists Tammy Hensrud and Korliss Uecker both went on to appear in Metropolitan Opera productions. 2013-2014 District Winner Lida Szkwarek, soprano, won the Upper Midwest Regional Finals and was a National Semi-Finalist, and Anne-Marie McIntosh and Elsa Swanson received regional awards.  In 2020-2021, we produced a joint district audition with the Montana/Idaho district and four of the district winners were selected for encouragement awards in the Northwest Region: Rachel Blaustein, Alice Chung, Annie Chester, and Imara Miles!