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New York City, New York – May 2, 2023 The Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs kicked off a week in New York City by welcoming young contestants from around the country to compete in the 17th annual Opera Idol competition. This sponsor exclusive event continued the tradition of a Chicago based scholarship program and was enjoyed in a private salon by patrons of the Gala.  The 2023 Opera Idol winner, Seungchan Hong, a South Korean baritone, was awarded this prestigious scholarship.  Hong has performed Gianni Schicchi at the Canto Vocal Program in Louisville, Kentucky. He is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at Montclair State University under the study of Karen Driscoll having received his master’s degree in Voice Performance at Manhattan School of Music. Hong’s recently performed operas include Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro Count Almaviva, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and Ching’s Buoso’s Ghost. Hong also won the 1st prize at the Cali School of Music Voice Competition.  

Opera Idol, an interactive Master Class Competition with Sherill Milnes was sponsored by The Tom Lysaught Scholarship Fund.  Four singers competed in a Master Class format with Sherrill Milnes for a full scholarship plus airfare to Savannah, Georgia, to attend the Milnes VOICE Studio in August, valued at $5,000. The 2023 Judges panel selected the winner and in addition to Milnes included James Morris, Howard Watkins and 2023 VOICE Awardee and Renowned Tenor, George Shirley. 

Opera Idol was conceived by Milnes and Co-Founder of the Milnes VOICE Programs, Maria Zouves, as part of their non-profit vocal training organization, and aims to showcase and encourage budding opera stars in a format that emulates popular television shows featuring talent searches.   Zouves said “This fantastic competition really captured the essence of passing the baton of excellence in vocal arts to the next generation and upholds the 2023 VOICE Programs theme of Lasting Legacy.” 

To learn more about OPERA Idol and the Milnes VOICE Programs or to support young artists, please visit or   

The mission of the Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs is to pass on the traditions of great singing and develop new audiences for opera.  Founded in 2001 as the VOICExperience Foundation, the programs now operate under the umbrella of the 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit organization in the state of Georgia, the Savannah VOICE Festival.  The programs are dedicated to the quality, integrity and perpetuation of the vocal arts through life-changing intensives, performances, and community-enriching outreach events across the nation and throughout the year.  The Savannah VOICE Festival was founded in 2013 and takes place every August with a two-week celebration of concerts, events and educational presentations. Focusing on arts awareness and audience development in the performing arts, it offers music from opera, musical theatre and popular song.  

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