Vocal Competition Semi Finalist Judges

Our semi final round judges …

Rick Christman
Clinical Assistant Professor, Tenor, The Catholic University of America

Rick Christman has performed in every venue at New York’s Lincoln Center and his performances have thrilled audiences throughout Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. Of his singing of the murderish role of Arnoldo in Rossini’s “William Tell”the Salzburger Nachtrichten wrote, “Rick Christman’s singing rose to mesmerizing and in the famous final act aria, he blazed forth the numerous high C’s of the cabaletta singing with full, round, and flowing tones.”

Mr. Christman studied under the tutelage of famed tenors Enrico Di Giuseppe, John Alexander, and Franco Corelli. Early engagements included New York’s Bel Canto Opera and the Bronx Opera, before being engaged by the New York City Opera, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Metropolitan Opera.Subsequently he was engaged by the Opernhaus Zurich in Zurich Switzerland to understudy Salvatore Fisichella in the role of Arnoldo in Rossini’s “William Tell.” It was in that capacity that he made his European opera debut on one hour’s notice, singing under the baton of conductor Nello Santi, with La Scala artists Maria Chiara and Giorgio Zancanaro in the title role. Due to the success of that performance, he went on to sing Arnoldo in several European opera houses.

Before returning to the United States, the tenor had performed over 50 roles including Romeo, Rodolfo, Caramello, Alphonse, Alfredo, Fenton, Tamino, Almaviva, and had established himself as a concert artist throughout Austria with the Bruckner Orchestra.

He has studied and/or sung under the baton of such conductors as James Levine, Nello Santi, Nikolaus Hanoncourt, Georg Solti, Antonio Pappano, and Ignace Strasfogel. He has worked with many prominent stage directors including Tito Copobianco, Andrew Porter, Frank Corsaro, August Everding, Hal Prince, Peter Sellars, Daniel Schmid, and Franco Zeffirelli and sung with such famous singing artists as Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Alfredo Kraus, Jon Vickers, Carlo Bergonzi, Joan Sutherland, Maria Chiara, Kiri Te Kanawa, Monserrat Caballe, Margaret Price, Michele Crider, Sherrill Milnes, and Giorgio Zancanaro.

Mr. Christman has been recorded by Condor Features singing the role of Arnoldo in “Guglielmo Tell” and can be heard singing in ZDF’s Television Production recording of the world premiere of “Kohlhaas”, Vestron Motion Picture’s “China Girl.”

Mr. Christman is in very high demand as a voice teacher and maintains a voice studio in New York City while on the Voice faculty at the Catholic University of America’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music. His students perform throughout North America and Europe and continue to win major vocal competitions.

Justina Lee
Principal Coach, University of Maryland, College Park Opera

American collaborative artist Justina Lee has served as assistant conductor, pianist, and coach for such companies as the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the Castleton Festival, and the Wolf Trap Opera Company. Lee is a frequent recitalist with acclaimed tenor Lawrence Brownlee. She can also be seen with him on the National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Concert series. Other artist recitals include Alyson Cambridge, Lisette Oropesa, Dimitri Pittas, Alex Richardson and Gordon Hawkins. She has appeared under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation residency program, and on such recital series as On Wings of Song at Carnegie Hall, the Harriman-Jewell Series, the Washington Performing Arts Series at the Kennedy Center and most recently, with Brownlee on Renée Fleming’s VOICES recital series. She can also be seen on medici tv as part of Carnegie Hall’s masterclass sessions with Joyce DiDonato.
Lee is an alumna of the distinguished Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera and holds degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Manhattan School of Music. She joined the faculty of the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2008 and currently serves as principal coach of the Maryland Opera Studio.

Myra Merrit

Professor of Voice at Bowling Green State University, Ohio

Myra Merritt received her bachelor’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and master’s degree from the Catholic University of America; made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1982 as the Shepherd Boy in Wagner’s Tannhauser; other roles at the Met include Musetta in La Boheme, Bess in Porgy and Bess and Zerlina in Don Giovanni; featured on the 1983 Metropolitan Opera Centennial Gala performance; has performed with the Houston Grand Opera, Summer Opera Theater Company in Washington, D.C., National Opera of Finland, Theatre des Westens in Berlin, Budapest National Opera; has sung in Moscow, Ekaterinburg and Italy; performed at Wolf Trap Farm, Ford’s Theater, the Smithsonian Museum Concert Series; presented her debut recital at the Kennedy Center with the Washington Performing Arts Society; can be heard on the Grammy Award-winning RCA recording of Porgy and Bess and Deutsche Grammaphon’s live from the Metropolitan Opera video recording of Carmen; awards include grants from the National Opera Institute, Sullivan Foundation and the D.C. Commission of the Arts and Humanities; winner in the Beethoven Society Competition for Opera Singers and the Catholic University of America’s Alumni Achievement Award in Music; featured in publications such as Glamour Magazine, Washington View Magazine, Famous African American’s Encyclopedia and Metropolitan Opera Encyclopedia.