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Cedar Rapids Opera presents a first-in-Iowa and a signature Cedar Rapids Opera event.


This Competition will award prizes totaling over $50,000 to nine finalists, positioning it as one of the top vocal competitions in the United States in 2024. 

Be there for the unmissable excitement!


First Prize: $20,000

Second Prize: $12,000

Third Prize: $6,000

Fourth Prize: $4,000

Fifth Prize: $2,000

Other Finalists: $1500

Musical Theater Audience Favorite Award: $1750

Saturday, August 31
Semi-Final Round: 2pm-4pm
Final Round: 7pm-9:30pm



The Paramount Theatre
123 3rd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401


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Edward Brennan
New Lenox, Illinois

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Gemma Nha
Chicago, Illinois

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Jana McIntyre
Tulsa, Oklahoma


Jeremiah Sanders

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Brian James Myer
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Emily Secor
Decorah, Iowa

These 50 singers have advanced to Round 2 of the competition.


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February 1, 2024: Round One (Virtual) application and materials due.
-Fifty singers that advance will be notified by March 15, 2024.

May 15, 2024: Round Two (Virtual) application and materials due.
-Nine singers that advance to the in-person semi-final and final rounds will be notified by June 30, 2024.

August 31, 2024: Semi-final and Final Round (In person, live, and open to the public) at The Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


Applicants must be available for and perform in the Semi-final and Final rounds in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on August 31, 2024 to be considered for an award.
Rehearsal with the pianist for the Final rounds will be in Cedar Rapids on August 30, 2024.



Round One Requirements (Virtual):
Completed Application that includes one page pdf resume, color headshot, two video recordings, repertoire list, copy of a driver's license, passport, or birth certificate, and a $5 application fee.

Round Two Requirements (Virtual):
-Unedited, full body, single camera angle, video recording of three arias in one continuous take with live piano accompaniment. These three arias should represent at least two different languages, and not exceed 16 minutes in length shared as a viewable YouTube link.
-Three References including their phone number and email address.
-Final repertoire list of five arias in at least two different languages and one musical theater selection. This list will be provided to the Semi-final and Final round judges to call from in competition. This list cannot be changed after June 30, 2024.

Semi-final Round (In-person):
Includes all nine participants singing one aria of their choosing and at least one aria requested live by the panel of judges.

Final Round (In-person):
Includes five participants singing two additional arias of the judges' choosing. The four remaining artists will compete during the Final round for the Musical Theater Audience Favorite Award.


A pianist will be provided for the in-person Semi-final and Final rounds. Singers may not bring their own pianist. There is no fee for the provided pianist.


All questions about the competition may be directed to



The purpose of the Esther and Myron Wilson Vocal Competition at Cedar Rapids Opera is to encourage, recognize, and reward exceptional operatic singing. Nine singers will be invited to Cedar Rapids to compete in the Semi-final and Final rounds on August 31, 2024. All nine singers who complete the Semi-final and Final rounds will be awarded one of the nine available prizes. This competition is meant to celebrate the talents and achievements of the future of opera!

The first two rounds will be adjudicated by a group of three judges including CRO Artistic Director and CRO founder, Maestro Daniel Kleinknecht.


The Semi-final and Final rounds will be adjudicated by: Steven White, Julia Faulkner, and Peter Randsman.

The mission of the Cedar Rapids Opera is to advance opera as a vital, living American art form and to develop the artists who create it, as well as the audience that appreciates and supports it.


$50,250 in prizes available: All nine singers who complete the in-person rounds be awarded one of the following nine prizes.

First Prize: $20,000
Second Prize: $12,000
Third Prize: $6,000
Fourth Prize: $4,000
Fifth Prize: $2,000

Audience Musical Theater Favorite: $1,750 (cannot be one of the 1-5 prize winners)
Runner Up: $1,500
Runner Up: $1,500
Runner Up: $1,500

Monetary prizes will be awarded immediately following the final round at the award ceremony on August 31, 2024. Taxes will be deducted according to United States tax law.

Travel, Lodging, and Transportation are the responsibility of the invited artists. Each artist that completes the in-person rounds is guaranteed to win one of the nine prizes listed above on August 31, 2024. 

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