CCM alumna Raven McMillon named Grand Finals winner of Met Opera's 2021 National Council Auditions

Watch Brittany Logan, Murrella Parton and Raven McMillon perform in the Grand Finals Concert

Three out of the 10 singers who competed in the Grand Finals Concert of Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions trained in the Opera and Voice programs at UC's College-Conservatory of Music. The final round of the competition was held on Sunday, May 16 and is available for viewing online

photo of Raven McMillon

Grand Finals Winner Raven McMillon. Photo/Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Recent graduate Raven McMillon (MM Voice, '20), soprano, is one of five winners of this year's competition. Cincinnati audiences who wish to see this Met star in person can enjoy her performance as Frasquita in the Cincinnati Opera's outdoor presentation of Carmen on July 17, 22, 26 and 30, 2021. 

First-year Artist Diploma Opera student Brittany Olivia Logan, soprano, and alumna Murrella Parton (MM Voice, '17), soprano, also competed in the Grand Finals concert of the MONC auditions. 

photo of Brittany Olivia Logan

National Finalist Brittany Olivia Logan. Photo/Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

photo of Murrella Parton

National Finalist Murrella Parton. Photo/Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

CCM alumni and students frequently advance to the final rounds of the Met’s National Council Auditions, which is widely considered to be the nation’s most prestigious vocal competition. In 2019, student Elena Villalón was a Grand Finals Winner, and fellow CCM-trained singers Joshua Wheeker (CCM Voice 2007-2012) and Parton also advanced to the Met’s National Council semifinals that year. In 2018, alumna Jessica Faselt (MM Voice, '16) was one of five singers who won the Met National Council Auditions. In 2017, four CCM alumni competed in the semifinals, including Faselt; Summer Hassan, soprano (MM Voice, 2014); Andrew Manea, baritone (MM Voice, 2016); and Cody Quattlebaum, bass-baritone (BM Voice, 2015) — who was chosen as a finalist during that year’s national competition.

Soprano Raven McMillon is a native of Baltimore. She is currently a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio (HGO).

In the summer of 2021, McMillon will join Cincinnati Opera as Frasquita in the company's outdoor presentation of Carmen. She will then return to Houston Grand Opera as a second year studio artist for their 2021-2022 season as Frasquita (Carmen), Peter (The Snowy Day), and Papagena (The Magic Flute).

Earlier in the 2020-2021 season she made her HGO debut in scenes from Carmen (Frasquita) and L'elisir d'amore (Adina) in the Studio Showcase. She was contracted to perform Frasquita (Carmen), Peter (The Snowy Day), 1st Blumenmadchen (Parsifal) and Sister Margaretta (The Sound of Music) with HGO, all of which were cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She can be seen in the HGO Digital season as Rona Richards (The Impresario), Peter (The Making of The Snowy Day Documentary), and Gretel (Hansel and Gretel). McMillon also performed as a soloist in the Giving Voice concert as well as the HGO Studio Recitals. 

In 2020, McMillon also collaborated with Lyric Opera of the North as Trish in the company's chapter in The Decameron Coalition's "Tales from a Safe Distance."

In the summer of 2020, McMillon was to join Cincinnati Opera in two new works as Morgan (FIERCE) , Ruthie (Castor and Patience) and cover Wilhelmina (Castor and Patience). These premieres have been postponed. McMillon's role debut of Papagena (Die Zauberflöte) was also cancelled due to the pandemic.

Other opera credits include La Princesse in L’enfant et les sortilèges (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra); Adele in Die Fledermaus (Carnegie Mellon); Goldie in Goldie B. Locks and the Three Singing Bears (Pittsburgh Festival Opera); and Linfea in La Calisto (CCM). McMillion has also workshopped new roles such as Mary in Chiao’s The Secret Codes of Mary Bowser and Lucy in Picker’s Awakenings.

McMillon is a Metropolitan Opera National Council Finalist (2021). She was awarded Third Place in the Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition (2021) and Second Place and Audience Favorite in the Tri-State College Vocal Competition (2019).

McMillon received her MM Vocal Performance at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music (CCM) and her BFA in Vocal Performance at Carnegie Mellon University.

About the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions

Following the creation of the Met’s National Council in the 1952-53 season, the first Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions took place in 1954 in the Twin Cities. For over 60 years, the annual competition has helped launch the careers of countless young singers, including some of opera’s greatest stars. Every season, over 100 former participants in the National Council Auditions appear on the Met roster.

The district-level and regional auditions, held across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, are sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council and administered by National Council members and hundreds of volunteers from across the country. Currently in its 65th year, the program has launched the careers of such well-known stars as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt, Lawrence Brownlee, Thomas Hampson, Eric Owens, Angela Meade, Nadine Sierra, Jamie Barton and Ryan Speedo Green. The competition garnered international attention with the release of the 2008 feature-length documentary The Audition, directed by award-winning filmmaker Susan Froemke, which chronicled the 2007 National Council Auditions season and Grand Finals Concert.

Featured image at the top: Raven McMillon (center). Photo/