by Miriam Minger
At 21, Gregory J. Turay is taking the operatic world by storm. The senior vocal music major at the University of Kentucky recently placed first in the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions held in Indianapolis in November. An incredible feat, considering Turay competed against singers from powerhouse music institutions like Indiana University and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. From here, he goes to the National Auditions in New York City this spring, competing with the seventeen other regional first-place winners to receive one of ten $10,000 scholarships and perhaps be offered an apprenticeship in the Metropolitan Opera’s young artist development program. The top ten winners will remain in New York to perform in April on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House with full orchestral accompaniment in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Winners Concert. The concert will e broadcast on the radio, garnering the winners important exposure.
Incredibly heady stuff for anyone aspiring to an operatic career. But even more amazing is Turay’s singing schedule for the coming year. He performs in Carmen at the West Palm Beach Opera in December as Remondado (a role he won by entering his first international opera competition last April) then returns to UK after the holidays to sing the tenor role of Tamino in Mozart’s the Magic Flute at the Singletary Center in January.
In February, Turay heads to the Eugene Opera in Oregon to play the role of Frederic in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. Then it’s back to Lexington in March to perform in a Brahms concert under the direction of Professor Emeritus Lucien Stark. The rest of March will find Turay preparing for his senior recital March 22. Then he travels to New York in April to participate in special coaching sessions with the world renowned Metropolitan Opera staff. Dizzy yet? Keep in mind that we’re talking about a young man who has managed to work professionally in the operatic arena while still an undergraduate in college.
Regardless of the outcome of the Metropolitan National Auditions in April, Turay will head to St. Louis in May to perform in Haydn’s Armida, an assignment that will keep him in Missouri seven to eight weeks. Since the UK school term ends in early May, Turay is looking at the real possibility of graduating during the summer since he’ll miss finals. But that’s all in a day’s work for a young man who unequivocally states he “wants to enjoy a career as an opera singer.” Clearly, he’s well on his way.
This appears on page 20 of the January 1995 print edition of ace.