25-year-old Redding Singer Wins “the American Idol of Opera”


Sydney Mancasola, a Redding soprano, can be heard in a live webcast today – March 11 – at 4 p.m. (7 p.m. Eastern time).

 NEW YORK: Sydney Mancasola, 25, of Redding, was selected as one of six 2013  Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions winners. In the world of opera, this is a very big deal.

Often referred to as the “American Idol” of opera, the National Council Auditions is considered the most prestigious contest in opera, giving singers ages 20 to 30 a chance to perform in front of some of the nation’s top managers and talent scouts. Finalists are chosen from a field of 1,500 from across the U.S., auditioned at the district and regional levels.

Monday at 4 p.m. (7 p.m. Eastern time) – Mancasola, a soprano, joined her fellow 2013 winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions at The Greene Space at WQXR in New York. The event, which was featured in a webcast on WQXR’s webpage, marked the winners’ first New York performance following the grand finals. They were joined by bass baritone Eric Owens as the group performed a varied program of operatic selections.


National Council Audition winners (left to right) Brandon Cedel, Sydney Mancasola, Michael Brandenburg, Rebecca Pedersen, Musa Ngqungwana, Thomas Richards Photo courtesy of: Rebecca Fay/Metropolitan Opera

Those interested in hearing the opera singers clicked here to hear the live performance Monday, March 11 at 4 p.m. (7 p.m. Eastern time). 

In addition to Mancasola, the 2013 winners include four other Americans: Michael Brandenburg, a 26-year-old tenor from Austin, Ind.; Brandon Cedel, a 25-year-old bass-baritone from Hershey, Pa.; Rebecca Pedersen, a 21-year-old soprano from Bountiful, Utah; and Thomas Richards, a 24-year-old bass-baritone from Burnsville, Minn., and one South African, Musa Ngqungwana, a 28-year-old bass-baritone from Port Elizabeth, South Africa.


Redding native Sydney Mancasola, second from the left, joins the other opera winners. – by Rebecca Fay Photography

Each of the winners will receive $15,000. And each of the four semifinalists will receive $5,000.

Sunday anewscafe.com contacted Sydney Mancasola for a comment about her award.

“One of the most wonderful things about today was hearing the audience’s reaction to my singing,” she said.

“I could feel the support of the audience, and win or lose, that is my first priority. If I can touch an audience, I have achieved my goal of communicating what these incredible composers have intended. As I get ready to go to bed tonight I have on my mind the people who have supported me and helped me get this far, my family, my amazing teachers William Stone and Daune Mahy, and many other amazing mentors.  This certainly wouldn’t have been possible without their constant encouragement.”

Sydney Mancasola is the daughter of John and Molly Mancasola of Redding.

The Mancasola family joined Sydney at The Met in New York. From left, Matteo Giovanni Mancasola, Sydney Mancasola, John Mancasola, Molly Mancasola and Kiira Mancasola. (Photo courtesy of Sydney Mancasola)

_ Adapted from a WQXR article

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments