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Met Opera Auditions Winners Named

March 16, 1987

NEW YORK (AP) _ One is a soprano married to a fire-eater and juggler. Another is a mezzo- soprano who wanted to be Julie Andrews until she heard ″Die Fledermaus.″

They were among 11 singers who were named finalists at Sunday’s Metropolitan Opera Auditions for Young Singers. The yearlong auditions for hopeful opera singers in 15 regions of the United States plus Australia were held by the Metropolitan Opera National Council.

Ned Barth, 28, of Washington, was the only baritone among the winners.

Tenor winners included Steven Tharp, 29, of Springfield, Mo., and Frederic Kalt, 31, who lives in Anchorage.

The only mezzo-soprano winner was Mary Burt Keller, 29, a graduate of Indiana University who lives in Minneapolis. She heard Johann Strauss’ operetta ″Die Fledermaus″ at 7 and later performed it in her living room, enlisting her brother.

Soprano finalists were: Deborah Lynn Cole, 25, of Boston; Blythe Walker, 33, of Bellevue, Ky; Nikki Li Hartliep, 31, who was born in Naha, Okinawa, and grew up in Alaska.

Also Janet Hall Folta, 27, who lives in New York and whose husband works for a corporation and on the side performs as a juggler, fire-eater and gymnast; Amanda Halgrimson, 30, of Naperville, Ill.; Mi-Hae Park, 26, from Seoul, Korea; and Celeste Tavera, 28, from Orange, Calif.

Each of the 11 will sing in a winners’ concert March 29 at the Met and receive $5,000 for study.

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