Round Top, New York. August 24 – Competition, definition: A test of skill or ability; a contest, as for a profit or prize.

Adhering to the theme, “Jealousy in Opera,” 18 young singers from around the world competed for prestige and cash prizes before a sold-out audience of opera devotees, music lovers and a renowned jury at the Altamura/Caruso International Voice Competition in Round Top, New York. On Sunday afternoon, baritone Jordan Shanahan captured the 2nd place, $4,500 prize after his arias by Donizetti and Mascagni warmed the audience.

A native of Honolulu, Mr. Shanahan studied composition for 3 years at the University of Hawaii and pursued voice and opera studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. He was in the prestigious Residency Program at Lyric Opera of Chicago Center for American Artists, and was selected to be in the 2005 Apprentice Singer Program at the Santa Fe Opera.

Having recently performed in Lo Bohème, La Traviata and Dr. Atomic (composer John Adams) at Chicago Lyric Opera, he is also preparing a covering role for Phillip Glass’ Satyagraha.

Where would he like to be in five years? “I would like to perform major roles in regional opera.” And if coming events cast their shadows, he is well on his way.

Members of the competition’s internationally-renowned jury were Carmela Altamura, competition founder and soprano recitalist; Mark Sforzini, Artistic Director and Conductor, St. Petersburg Opera; Camille Coppola, stage director and founder, New Rochelle (New York) Opera; and Anton Coppola (no relation), conductor, composer of opera and film, and director of Tampa Opera. Maestro Coppola, who is the uncle of famed Academy Award-winning film directors Francis Ford Coppola and Sophia Coppola, composed the film scores for the Godfather III and Dracula, among others.

Reflecting on the international scope and growth of the competition in its 20th anniversary year, founder and soprano Carmela Altamura said, “I was an immigrant to this country when I was 8 years old. Later, as a winner of a Metropolitan Opera Guild Award, I was given an opportunity. Others helped me and now it’s my turn to help others. In this competition, we’ve had some of the finest young talents in the world. They’ve come from Moscow and Rome, Hawaii and the Ukraine, Israel and Canada and beyond. They are the crème de la crème, and it is our honor and privilege to help them.”

In a delightful asterisk to his performance at the Altamura Competition, Mr. Shanahan performed a duet there with his bride, soprano and guest artist Audrey Luna, who was a winner in the 2006 Altamura Competition. When asked if he would have liked to have pursued any other profession, one that would be more financially solid, for example, the young baritone replied, “I’m grateful to be a musician.”

The jury seconds that.