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Young soprano chosen to sing with symphony

Christie Hagemen, 30, of Denver was selected Sunday from four finalists in the Young Artist Competition in Recital Hall at the Moss Performing Arts Center at Colorado Mesa University. She will perform next season with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra. Pianist Susan Ellinger, left, of Paonia accompanied all four finalists.



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Christie Hagemen, 30, of Denver was selected Sunday from four finalists in the Young Artist Competition in Recital Hall at the Moss Performing Arts Center at Colorado Mesa University. She will perform next season with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra. Pianist Susan Ellinger, left, of Paonia accompanied all four finalists.

Amy Maples, originally from Tennessee, recently made her debut with Opera Colorado.



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Amy Maples, originally from Tennessee, recently made her debut with Opera Colorado.

Baritone Benjamin Wood maintains a private voice studio in Westminster and teaches at the Hartley School of Music.



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Baritone Benjamin Wood maintains a private voice studio in Westminster and teaches at the Hartley School of Music.

Abigail Levis was runner-up in the Young Artist Competition. She is a resident artist with the Utah Opera.



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Abigail Levis was runner-up in the Young Artist Competition. She is a resident artist with the Utah Opera.

By MELINDA MAWDSLEY

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Fifty applied. Five were selected, and, on Sunday, one woman was named the winner of the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition, giving her the chance to perform with the local symphony next season.

Christie Hageman, 30, was selected from four finalists — the fifth finalist was unable to travel to Grand Junction — for her superior “color of voice, presentation, diction and musicianship,” said judge Kelly Anderson, the executive director of the Grand Junction Symphony and operatic baritone.

Hageman, a soprano, performed, in German, “Nun eilt herbei” from Otto Nicolai’s “Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor,” before the three judges asked her to sing, in Italian, “Tu che di gel sei cinta” from Giacomo Puccini’s “Turandot.”

Hageman said the judges selected the Italian piece to gauge her ability to sing a slower number — the first German song was upbeat — with “more intense” higher notes.

Hageman’s powerful voice and commanding stage presence cut through the language differences because several people approached her with compliments. One woman said the performance gave her chills. One woman said she cried.

That’s the power of opera, Hageman said.

A singer all her life, however, Hageman wasn’t really interested in opera until she saw the Italian opera “Otello,” based on William Shakespeare’s play “Othello,” while she was an undergrad at San Jose State University.

Now, Hageman, who lives in Denver, is a resident artist for the Minnesota Opera through April and has a future show with the Grand Junction Symphony.

This was the first year the Young Artist Competition was opened to vocalists, and Anderson was thrilled with the results.

“I thought we brought in four great, wonderful singers for this final,” he told the audience. 

The other three finalists Sunday were runner-up Abigail Levis, and Benjamin Wood and Amy Maples.



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