Opera student wins competition awards en route to Met auditions

Brittany Olivia Logan triumphs in Houston, Cincinnati and Met National Council Auditions

A first-year Artist Diploma student studying Opera at UC's College-Conservatory of Music, Brittany Olivia Logan has found success at three recent vocal competitions hosted by Houston Grand Opera, CCM and the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions.

Logan, a soprano, studies with CCM Voice Professor Gwendolyn Coleman, and has appeared in several productions with the Cincinnati Opera, CCM Opera as well as appearances as a soloist with the CCM Philharmonia. During CCM's virtual Moveable Feast: From Coast to Coast event Logan performed Gustave Charpentier's "Depuis le jour" from Louise with the CCM Philharmonia. The full Moveable Feast broadcast is available to watch online.

Houston Grand Opera recently named Logan as the Audience Choice winner of the 33rd annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers. OperaWire spotlighted her success, which came with a cash prize of $1,000. Watch her interview and performance in the video below; Logan's feature begins at 23:31.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/aSr7Oaqar4Y?t=1413?rel=0
Brittany Olivia Logan

Brittany Olivia Logan. Photo/Provided.

In addition to the Houston Grand Opera prize, Logan also won the Seybold-Russell Award during CCM's 2021 Opera Scholarship Competition. This award includes a full-tuition scholarship and $8,000, supported by the Seybold-Russell Scholarship Fund in cooperation with CCM.

In May, the soprano will compete as a semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions (MONC). Logan recieved $3,500 as winner in the New England Region auditions of MONC. Twenty-three semifinalists will progress to the next round of MONC Auditions, which will be streamed online on May 9, 2021. 

CCM Arts Administration graduate student Kelly Barefield connected with the well-decorated soprano to talk about her experience with the Houston Grand Opera competition.

How do you feel CCM prepared you to compete in this competition?

My professors here at CCM helped to prepare me in many ways. My voice teacher Gwendolyn Coleman and I spent many lessons finessing the repertoire I was presenting and making sure my voice was in the best shape possible going into the competition. My coach Professor Kathleen Kelly helped me to communicate my characters through my voice and helped me to get my languages in shape. Lastly, my acting teacher Professor Greg Eldridge helped me to break down my characters and build them from the bottom up, really digging deep into the text of not only the arias but the operas as a whole. Although almost all of this work took place over Zoom/FaceTime, I’m grateful for the work we were able to accomplish.

How did you begin to love Opera?

My love for opera wasn’t an instant thing, it definitely grew on me over time. It wasn’t until I had the opportunities to get out and see more of it that I grew to love this art form.

Can you tell us about this competition process?

Out of hundreds of applications from all over the world, Houston Grand Opera narrowed it down to nine finalists. We were invited to Houston for a week-long audition which ends with the "Concert of Arias." Because of COVID, there were lots of rules to follow and safety protocols put into place so that everyone could stay healthy. The week included COVID testing, coachings with the HGO music staff, interviews on/off camera and a house audition in the Wortham Theater. For the competition, each finalist performed two arias.

Have you performed much during the pandemic? How did you prepare for the competition?

I was actually very lucky to have been able to keep performing throughout the ongoing pandemic. Whether it was pre-recorded from my apartment, livestreamed or performed socially distanced; I never stopped.

For this competition in particular, because it was so high stakes, I focused mostly on mentally preparing myself. I personally believe that being in good mental shape helps to achieve the performance you want. So on top of practicing every day I journaled, meditated and said positive affirmations to myself so that when I got to Houston I was calm, collected and ready to slay.

What has been your favorite performance at CCM?

I’ve done so many, It’s hard to choose! One of my favorite performances at CCM has to be the Fall Gala we had. It was the first time since the pandemic started that I was able to come together with my classmates and make music in person with them. It felt surreal to stand on stage in the Corbett Auditorium with the CCM Philharmonia and listen to them bring the music to life. Though socially distanced and masked you could tell that everyone was so happy to be making music again.

Featured image at the top: Brittany Olivia Logan (center) in CCM's production of The Bartered Bride. Photo by Mark Lyons Photography.

Headshot of Kelly Barefield

Kelly Barefield

CCM Graduate Assistant, Marketing + Communications

Kelly Barefield is pursuing her degree in Arts Administration at CCM. She currently interns at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and hopes to continue to work at influential arts organizations in the future, where she can apply her passion for music.

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