A former car salesman from Kentucky won first place and $10,000 Sunday night at the 27th annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition.
To advance from semi-finals, Anthony Clark Evans sang Zurga’s aria, “L’orage s’est calmé” from Georges Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles followed by “Si può? Si può?” from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. For the finals Sunday night, he performed “O du, mein holder Abendstern” from Wagner’s Tannhäuse.
It’s hardly Evans’ first big win. The young baritone first attracted attention in the opera world in 2012, when he won the Grand Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He went on to win more top prizes: the 2013 Gerda Lissner Vocal Competition, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition, and a 2014 Sullivan Award.
Evans studied at Murray State University, but dropped out for financial reasons, he told the Louisville Courier-Journal in 2014. He kept singing and studying on his own after marrying and taking a job at a Toyota dealership. These days, car sales are taking a back seat to big roles. Evans is in his second year at the Ryan Opera Center in Chicago. He also debuted in Otello at Lyric Opera in Chicago and has had several additional roles with the company, as well as debuts with Ravinia Festival and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
This year’s vocal competition began with 362 applicants from all over the U.S. Other top prize winners included: J’Nai Bridges, a mezzo-soprano, who won the $5,000 Second Place Prize and the $1,000 People’s Choice Award and Sarah Mesko, a mezzo soprano, who took the Third Prize of $2,500.