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THE SCOOP | Toronto Tenor Matthew Cairns Snags Met Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition Win

By Anya Wassenberg on May 2, 2022

Matthew Cairns (Image courtesy of the artist)
Matthew Cairns (Image courtesy of the artist)

Toronto tenor Matthew Cairns has emerged as a winner in the 2022 Met Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition.

Announced May 1, six singers in total were declared winners after a series of competitions that have run all season long at the district, regional, and national levels.

All the winners receive a $20,000 cash prize along with the international exposure. Here’s the full winner’s list, along with the district they represent.

  • Matthew Cairns, 27, tenor (Great Lakes Region: Toronto, Canada)
  • Le Bu, 26, bass-baritone (Midwest Region: Yan Cheng, China)
  • Alexandra Razskazoff, 30, soprano (Southeast Region: New Brighton, Minnesota)
  • Julie Roset, 25, soprano (Central Region: Avignon, France)
  • Anne Marie Stanley, 30, mezzo-soprano (Upper Midwest Region: Princeton, New Jersey)
  • Esther Tonea, 28, soprano (Western Region: Buford, Georgia)

The final competition included ten finalists. Along with the six winners, the remaining four finalists receive a $10,000 cash prize.

  • Rachel Blaustein, 30, soprano (Eastern Region: Olney, Maryland)
  • Jonas Jud, 25, bass (New England Region: Trogen, Switzerland)
  • Daniel O’Hearn, 26, tenor (Rocky Mountain Region: Chicago, Illinois)
  • Maggie Reneé, 23, mezzo-soprano (Eastern Region: New York, New York)

The winners were culled from a field of more than 1,100 applicants who auditioned. That number was reduced to 800 who qualified for the 39 district auditions, five of which were held in a virtual format. From 126 regional winners, 21 became semifinalists, cut to the ten who sang in the final competition.

Winners of the 2022 Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition, L to R: Esther Tonea, Alexandra Razskazoff, Matthew Cairns, Le Bu, Julie Roset, Anne Marie Stanley (Photo: Natalie Powers / Met Opera)
Winners of the 2022 Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition, L to R: Esther Tonea, Alexandra Razskazoff, Matthew Cairns, Le Bu, Julie Roset, Anne Marie Stanley (Photo: Natalie Powers / Met Opera)

The Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition

The Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition, formerly known as the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, was founded in 1954 as a career-building opportunity for aspiring singers. Including prizes given out at the district and regional level, the competition doles out nearly $500,000 to young opera singers.

Former winners have included opera world luminaries such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Eric Owens, Stephanie Blythe, Hei-Kyung Hong, Sondra Radvanovsky, Lawrence Brownlee, Michael Fabiano, Latonia Moore, Lisette Oropesa, Jamie Barton, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Ryan Speedo Green, and Nadine Sierra.

The competition was showcased in the 2008 feature-length documentary The Audition, directed by filmmaker Susan Froemke.

About Matthew Cairns

A current member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, tenor Matthew Cairn has been steadily building a reputation in the opera world since earning his master’s degree in opera performance from the University of Toronto. Here’s a look at some of his career highlights so far.

  • First Prize winner of the 2018 Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Competition;
  • Winner of the CBC Music Young Artist Development Prize;
  • Sang the role of Detlef in Romberg’s The Student Prince at Chautauqua Institution, where he placed first in its Sigma Alpha Iota Competition;
  • He was a finalist in the 2022 Neue Stimmen Competition;
  • Recent roles include the Prince of Persia in Turandot, the Witch in Hänsel und Gretel, and the Gamekeeper in Rusalka, and covers Alfredo in La Traviata;
  • Other appearances include Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi with the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, and Liberto in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

Bravo to Matthew and all the winners.


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