The 2001-Marjorie Lawrence International Vocal Competition gets under way today in Washington. Nearly three dozen singers from around the world (including baritone Christopher Austin and tenor James Bailey from Baltimore) will compete for the $5,000 top prize; there is a student division and an artist division for advanced singers.
The event, chaired by Baltimore Opera Company board member Alan Schrum, has attracted several opera luminaries, from honorary chairmen Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge to Evelyn Lear, Thomas Stewart and Ryan Edwards. In addition to Lear, Stewart and Edwards, who will give public master classes today, starting at 2 p.m., the competition jury includes two other Metropolitan Opera stars, Mattiwilda Dobbs and Dominic Cossa.
The semifinals will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow, the finals from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday. A black-tie awards ceremony and winner's concert will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday. At 7 p.m. tomorrow, there will be a showing of the 1955 film "Interrupted Melody," with Eleanor Parker starring as the competition's namesake, soprano Marjorie Lawrence, who battled polio during her remarkable career.
All events are at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. N.W., Washington. For ticket information, call 866-468-7619 (toll-free) or visit the Web site, www.omti.org.