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Los Angeles District Winner, 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition

Western Regional Winner, 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition

National Grand Finals Winner, 2016 Metrpolitan Opera Nattional Council Audition

Yelena Dyachek ’13

Biography provided by Yelena Dyachek

Soprano Yelena Dyachek on March 13 won the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, becoming just one of five winners out of 1,500 or so emerging opera singers to start the competition about a year ago.

"Also memorable was the soprano Yelena Dyachek from California, who demonstrated impressive range, depth and power in 'Come scoglio' from Mozart's 'Così Fan Tutte' before delivering an emotionally captivating Letter Scene from Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin,"' according to a review in The New York Times.

Dyachek, a teaching assistant at the USC Thornton School of Music where she completed her Master of Music degree in vocal arts and is pursuing a graduate certificate, grew up in Antelope and El Dorado Hills. Her family continues to live in the Sacramento area. 

Dyachek's first voice teacher, Alina Ilchuk, introduced her to opera and "Aida" by Sacramento Opera was the first live opera performance she saw.

"Despite playing the violin since very early childhood, I started realizing that opera began to take precedence in my life and heart," said Dyachek. "My sincerest gratitude goes out to Alina Ilchuk, because she inspired me to pursue an operatic career and introduced me to Daniel Ebbers, whom I studied with throughout my time at Pacific."

Dyachek won several prizes before attending Pacific, including the Vocal Prize in the Mondavi Young Artist Competition in 2009, and a first place in the 2009 National Association of Teachers of Singing competition and second place the year before. It was during these competitions that she met Hannah Ludwig, who also would attend Pacific and was also in this year's Metropolitan National Council Regional Auditions, but did not advance to the semifinals. A total of four Pacific alumni began the competition - besides Dyachek and Ludwig, Andrew Dwan and Ted Pickell started the competition, but did not continue.

Commended by Opera News for her "impeccably focused singing," last spring Dyachek performed the title role of USC's production of "Iphigénie en Tauride," for which the Los Angeles Times noted her commanding portrayal of the title character.

Her other recent engagements include the roles of Fiordiligi in "Così fan tutte," Tatiana in "Eugene Onegin," both with the Aspen Opera Theatre Center, as well as Madama Cortese in USC's "Il Viaggio a Reims."   While completing her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance at University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music, Dyachek appeared as Mrs. Ford in "The Merry Wives of Windsor," which took first place National Opera Association's 2013 Opera Production Competition. She also appeared as Pamina in "The Magic Flute" and Mrs. Peachum in "The Threepenny Opera."

Dyachek's most notable prizes include those received from the National Mondavi Young Artist's Competition and the Pacific Musical Society Competition. In November 2015, Dyachek also won first place in the Metropolitan National Council Regional Auditions in Los Angeles. She will be one of 20 semifinalists contending for the main prize in New York in March. Dyachek will be a finalist in the Palm Springs Opera Guild of the Desert's 32nd annual Vocal Competition on Dec. 6.

Forthcoming operatic engagements include Vitellia in Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito," Frau Von Daubek in Thomas Morse's concert premiere of "Frau Schindler," and Der Komponist in "Ariadne auf Naxos," all with the USC Thornton Opera. Dyachek is a member of the prestigious music honor society Pi Kappa Lambda.

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