Actor Abraham Shaw won the first-place prize of $2,000 in the Chapter competition. Abraham attended the McKinley Classical Leadership Academy in St. Louis and the Webster University Conservatory of Theater Arts. He has performed with the Union Avenue Opera, Mustard Seed Theater, Stray Dog Theater, and the Hawthorn Players. Mr. Shaw will represent the NSAL St. Louis Chapter in the National Competition in Washington, DC.
Actor Cameron O'Neil won the second-place prize of $1,000 in the Chapter competition. Cameron is currently a student at the Webster Conservatory of Theater Arts, and is originally from Houston, Texas, where he attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Michaela Wolz, co-winner and recipient of a $250 Chapter award, is a mezzo-soprano who grew up in Eureka, Missouri. After attending an opera camp offered by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis at the age of 17, she was hooked on opera. She completed her Bachelor of Music degree in 2017 and is now completing her Master’s of Music, both programs at the Boston Conservatory. This summer she will be a Gaddes Festival Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, singing the part of Amore in The Coronation of Poppea. Recently she was named as a winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions in New York City.
Armando Contreras, co-winner, received a $250 Chapter award. A baritone from Arizona, he completed his bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music. In 2016, he received his masters degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has participated in the Young Artist Program at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Central City Studio Artist, Aspen Music Festival and Caroga Lake Music Festival as resident artist. He has won a number of awards, including Washington National Opera Young Artist Program finalist and Encouragement Award District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2019.
Bridget Polach is completing her studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. Her major is Vocal Performance and her minor is Marketing. After participating in a summer opera/performing arts program this summer, she plans to earn an MBA. The next step will be earning an artist’s diploma in opera directing or entering a directing program to reach her goal of becoming an opera director.