Singing the Story: The Lotte Lenya Competition

Sun, 03/23/2014 - 3:30pm

Credit: kwf.org

Singing the Story explores the demands and rewards of the Lotte Lenya Competition as several exceptionally talented young performers wend their way through the 2013 contest, aiming to win the $15,000 First Prize.

Singing the Story: The Lotte Lenya Competition premieres on WXXI-TV on Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. The film spotlights the prestigious international contest for singer-actors that took place at Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music in April 2013. Produced by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., and directed, filmed, and edited by Granny Cart Productions, Singing the Story traces the journey of the Competition, on stage and off, through the semi-finals, finals, and a 15th anniversary celebration concert at New York's Symphony Space. 

Through live footage and interviews, Singing the Story reveals the rigorous and unique nature of the Lenya Competition, which challenges singers to go beyond the usual "stand and sing" approach of vocal competitions by requiring them to present fully acted performances of wide-ranging theater repertoire, from opera to Broadway.

Singing the Story explores the demands and rewards of the Lotte Lenya Competition as several exceptionally talented young performers wend their way through the 2013 contest, aiming to win the $15,000 First Prize. Dynamic live footage provides an intimate view of the process, as semi-finals judges Rebecca Luker and Jeanine Tesori offer contestants valuable insights during coaching sessions; finalists take their programs to new heights in a packed concert hall at the Eastman School of Music; Finals judges Ted Chapin, James Holmes, and Patricia Racette deliberate over the winners; and the First Prize winner is announced.

Spotlights on past winners demonstrate the lasting impact of the Competition, and an anniversary concert at Symphony Space celebrates its legacy as eight winners perform an all-Weill program alongside Broadway veterans. Interviews with 2013 judges and contestants, Kurt Weill Foundation President and Founder of the Competition Kim Kowalke, past judges Rob Berman and Victoria Clark, and past winners Zachary James, Justin Hopkins, Analisa Leaming, Erik Liberman, and Lauren Worsham, reveal the significance of this one-of-a-kind contest, whose winners are just as likely to appear in a major opera house as on Broadway. As Kim Kowalke sums it up in the film, "You can't come up with a template for the winner. They're all very different. The one thing that they have in common is that they have to show that they can pretty much do it all."

This documentary will also air Saturday, April 5 at 6 p.m. on WXXI-TV.