The 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition, sponsored annually by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, featured a new award honoring the legacy of Marc Blitzstein. The award recognizes an outstanding performance of a selection from a “Golden Age” musical. The inaugural award went to bass-baritone Bradley Smoak of Cary, NC, for his performance of “Pass the Football” from Wonderful Town. Smoak, whose career to this point has primarily been in the world of opera, exhibited his crossover appeal with what the judges described as a “spectacular performance” of this classic Bernstein/Comden and Green number.
The Lenya Competition, founded 1998 in honor of singer/actress (and wife of Kurt Weill) Lotte Lenya, recognizes talented young singer/actors who are dramatically and musically convincing in repertoire ranging from opera/operetta to contemporary Broadway scores, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. The addition of the Marc Blitzstein award to the competition further highlights the artistic connection between Weill, Lenya and Blitzstein and their shared aesthetic philosophies.