Bravo! BYU student claims prestigious opera victory

A returned missionary from Saratoga Springs, Utah, is adding a monumental accomplishment to his already impressive performance resume: 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Winner.

Jonah Hoskins, a 23-year-old tenor and a lifelong Latter-day Saint, was one of five singers who claimed top honors Sunday following months of competitions at the district, regional and national levels.

Hoskins and his eight fellow finalists competed Sunday at New York City’s storied Metropolitan Opera.

He and the other four winners each received a $20,000 cash award “and the prestige and exposure that come with winning the competition that launched the career of many of opera’s biggest stars”, according to Broadway World.

This year’s victors were chosen from more than 1,000 singers who participated in auditions held in 40 districts throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, and who then competed in the 12 regional finals. These auditions are sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council and administered by National Council members and hundreds of volunteers from across the country, Broadway World reported.

Siblings Mary and Jonah Hoskins are both pursuing professional opera careers following full-time missionary service.
Siblings Mary and Jonah Hoskins are both pursuing professional opera careers following full-time missionary service.

The 66-year-old annual auditions have been claimed by some of opera’s biggest stars — including Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson and Eric Owens.

The Church News profiled Hoskins and his older sister and fellow opera performer, Mary Hoskins, last April.

Many of Jonah’s relatives, including big sister Mary, were on hand Sunday to enjoy the final day of the competition after the family attended Latter-day Saint Sabbath services in New York City.

“We are thrilled — it’s incredible,” Jonah’s father, Todd Hoskins, told the Church News following Sunday’s event.

Despite the magnitude of the competition, Todd Hoskins said his son was not particularly nervous prior to his performance. “He was on top of the world. Jonah just loves to perform.”

Jonah Hoskins sang two numbers for the judges on Sunday — the vibrant  “Ah! Mes amis” followed by “Si ritrovarla.”

The two arias “gave Jonah a chance to show what he can really do,” said Todd Hoskins.

Youth tenor Jonah Hoskins performs Una Furtiva Lagrima," from a Donizeti opera.
Youth tenor Jonah Hoskins performs Una Furtiva Lagrima,” from a Donizeti opera. Credit: Jason Swensen

After Jonah survived an ultra-competitive semi-final round, his family was “cautiously optimistic” that he could be counted among the final audition winners. But ultimately, the results are decided by the judges.

Todd Hoskins said his son is already in discussions with agents and is looking forward to the next step in his promising professional development. 

“Winning this today will do huge things for his career,” he said.

But first, it’s back to Brigham Young University for the Utah County resident. Jonah is expected to finish his bachelor’s degree in the summer. Mary Hoskins, meanwhile, will complete her graduate studies at BYU this spring.

Both siblings will perform at BYU’s student recital on April 3.