Jessica Faselt of Iowa City, granddaughter of Marilyn Raasch Woltmann originally from Bridgewater, was announced as one of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council audition winners April 29. The Metropolitan Opera National Council (MONC) auditions is one of the most prestigious voice competitions in the world and offers singers a chance to be heard by leading industry professionals and a chance to launch their international careers.
The MONC Auditions Grand Final Concert was held on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center. The nine finalists performed with Maestro Bertrand de Billy leading the world-renowned Met Orchestra for two arias per contestant.
For months leading up to the Grand Final Concert, the process of the MONC auditions begins with around 1,500 singers that sing at the district level. The met has 42 districts across the United States and Canada, the winners of which feed into 12 regional auditions. This year, the 12 regional auditions sent 25 singers to New York for the semi-finals. From the 25 semi-finalists, nine singers were chosen to compete in the Grand Final Concert. Of these nine finalists, five were chosen as the grand prize winners. Faselt was the recipient of the $15,000 Birgit Nilsson Award of the American-Scandinavian Foundation.
Faselt has had quite an amazing trajectory with the MONC auditions showing incredible determination, competing five consecutive times and moving a rank up in the competition each year. In her first year singing for the MONC auditions in January 2015, Faselt advanced from the Iowa District to the Upper Midwest Regional where she received an Encouragement Award. In October 2015, Faselt competed in the Cincinnati District and moved on to receive third place at Chicago Regional. In February 2016, Faselt competed in the Mid-East Tennessee District and moved on as a finalist for the Mid-South Regional receiving second place. Faselt competed at the Minnesota District in 2017, and advanced to the Upper Midwest Regional where she was awarded first place and a trip to New York City, and made it as far as the semi-final round of the competition. This year, Faselt brought it all home by again competing with the Minnesota District and Upper-Midwest Regional where she advanced to the semi-finals, finals and became a winner of the 2018 MONC auditions.
Faselt was most recently a studio artist with the Florida Grand Opera in Miami for their 2017-18 season, and covered the roles of Salome in Richard Strauss’s Salome and Florencia in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas. Faselt was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in the summer of 2015 and was again engaged with the company for the summer of 2016, covering the title role of Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos. She was also an apprentice artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera in 2014. On May 19, 2014, she performed locally at Warren Cultural Center in Greenfield, singing a variety of opera arias and art songs. Jessica has sung with the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices in Reno, Nevada, for two summers studying with world-renowned mezzo-soprano, Dolora Zajick.
Faselt was a semi-finalist in the Elizabeth Connell Prize International Vocal Competition. She received second place at the Opera Columbus Cooper-Bing International Voice Competition in 2017. She received an Encouragement Award at the Marcello Giordanni International Voice Competition in 2017. She was also a semi-finalist of the Eleanor McCollum Voice Competition with the Houston Grand Opera in February 2016.
Faselt received her Masters of music degree from University of Cincinnati with Professor Amy Johnson in 2016 and her Bachelor of music degree from University of Iowa with Dr. John Muriello in 2014. Faselt also studies extensively with her vocal coach Shari Rhoads of Coralville.