NACOGDOCHES, Texas – SFA music alumna and soprano Amanda Sheriff was awarded first prize in the 24th Lotte Lenya Competition in New York City. Sheriff earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education in 2016 and Master of Music in Vocal Performance in 2018 from Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music.
The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music announced the competition winners. The final round took place at Merkin Hall on May 6, the first time the competition has been presented publicly before a New York City audience.
As first-prize winner, Sheriff was awarded $20,000. Reflecting on her first-place performance, the judges stated that “she did it all,” citing her “sensual, funny and heartbreaking” realization of a program that showed her willingness to embrace “risky repertory and acting choices.” The 2022 competition drew 259 applicants from 39 U.S. states and 21 countries.
Later this year, Sheriff will perform concerted works with Penn Square Music Festival, Clifford Brown Jazz Festival and Wilmington Concert Opera.
In 2021, Sheriff made her debut at Opera Delaware as Norina in “Don Pasquale” and Monica in “The Medium” with Baltimore Concert Opera. She was also an aprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera where she performed Miss Lightfoot in “Fellow Travelers” and covered Clarine and L’amour in “Platée.” She was a studio artist at Florida Grand Opera and performed the roles Beatrice in “Three Decembers,” 1st Trio member in “Trouble in Tahiti,” and Célie in “Signor Deluso’ and Babs in “New York Stories.”
During 2020, Sheriff sang Pamina in “Die Zauberflöte” and Little Red in “Little Red’s Most Unusual Day” with Opera Iowa and participated in DMMO’s virtual season due to COVID. In 2019, she was an emerging artist at the Seagle Festival and sang Susanna in “Le Nozze di Figaro.”
At SFA, Sheriff sang Lauretta in “Gianni Schicchi,” Rosabella in “The Most Happy Fella,” Marenka in “The Bartered Bride,” Anne in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and Pamina in “The Magic Flute.” She was named Recitalist of the Year in 2016 and 2018 and Alumnus of the Year in 2019. She studied with soprano and vocal coach Debbie Berry while attending SFA.
For more information about Sheriff, visit amandasheriff-soprano.com.
In 1998, to honor the centenary of the birth of Lotte Lenya (1898-1981), singer/actress and one of the foremost interpreters of the music of her husband, Kurt Weill (1900-1950), the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music established an annual Lotte Lenya Competition. The competition recognizes talented singer/actors of all nationalities, ages 19 to 32, who are “dramatically and musically convincing in repertoire” ranging from contemporary Broadway scores to opera/operetta, including the works of Weill. More information about the Lotte Lenya Competition is available at kwf.org/2022Finals.