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Yelena Dyachek ’13 advanced to the March 13 finals of the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the largest and most prestigious such competition in the opera world.

Yelena Dyachek ’13 advanced to the March 13 finals of the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the largest and most prestigious such competition in the opera world.

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Pacific News

Dyachek ’13 sings way to finals of national opera competition

Mar 6, 2016

Yelena Dyachek '13 is making her dream come true.

The soprano on Sunday became one of just nine emerging opera singers from throughout North America to advance to the finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the largest and most prestigious such competition in the opera world. Her monthslong journey toward opera history continues on March 13 when she and the other finalists will perform in a ticketed event. Five will receive a grand prize of $15,000 and the remainder will receive $5,000.

"The opportunity to perform with the Met orchestra is a dream come true," Dyachek said from New York City where she is preparing for the March 13 finals. "It feels surreal, very unexpected, and absolutely wonderful."

Dyachek, a teaching assistant at the USC Thornton School of Music where she completed her Master of Music degree in vocal arts and is pursuing a graduate certificate, grew up in Antelope and El Dorado Hills. Her family continues to live in the Sacramento area.

She won several prizes before attending Pacific, including the Vocal Prize in the Mondavi Young Artist Competition in 2009, and a first place in the 2009 National Association of Teachers of Singing competition and second place the year before.

"Despite playing the violin since very early childhood, I started realizing that opera began to take precedence in my life and heart," Dyachek said before the semifinals. "My sincerest gratitude goes out to Alina Ilchuk, because she inspired me to pursue an operatic career and introduced me to Daniel Ebbers, whom I studied with throughout my time at Pacific."

She was in several Pacific Opera Theatre productions while at Pacific, including the "Merry Wives of Windsor," which took first place in the 2013 Opera Production Competition sponsored by the National Opera Association.

Also in that production were Hannah Ludwig '14, Andrew Dwan '13 and Ted Pickell '14, who each competed in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. While they did not continue to the semifinals, each was given an Encouragement Award.

For a distinctive opera program such as the Conservatory of Music's to have one recent graduate in the 80-year-old competition would be rare, but to have four advance as far as they did in a single year is considered extraordinary.

"To have four Pacific-trained artists recognized in four different districts as winners so early in their careers is phenomenal," said Daniel Ebbers, interim dean of the Conservatory of Music and a professor of voice. "Moreover, to have all this level of success so soon after their experience at Pacific further augments the significance of the accomplishment. You have to understand that this is the equivalent of our student-athletes going to the NCAA tournament finals in their sport. This is the most prestigious voice competition in the world and this competition has been the defining step in the careers of some of the greatest opera stars."

Related story: "Fantastic four sing their way to The Metropolitan Opera stage," Dec. 4, 2016

Media contact:
Keith Michaud | 209.946.3275 (office) | 209.470.3206 (cell) | kmichaud@pacific.edu

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