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Burnsville singer among winners in national competition at Met Opera House

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A bass-baritone singer from Burnsville was one of six winners named at the National Council Auditions at the Metropolitan Opera House Sunday in New York City, The Associated Press reports.

Thomas Richards was one of nearly 1,500 singers across the country to take part in the competition.

According to The AP, Richards gave a "chilling interpretation" of Claggart's soliloquy from Britten's "Billy Budd," and then closed the competition "La calunnia" from Rossini's "Il Barbiere di Siviglia."

In an interview with Cincinnati.com before the winners were announced, Richards said he picked those selections to take his mind off of the surroundings.

"Those are two pieces I enjoy singing, so I tried to just focus on the task at hand," Richards told the publication. "I tried not to think about all the people watching and various judges from the Met."

The 24-year-old singer was selected from 10 finalists in the competition: three sopranos, one tenor and six bass-baritones.

Richards graduated from Burnsville High School in 2006 and is current a graduate student at University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music

Richards and the other winners of the National Council Auditions will each receive $15,000 grants for further studies.

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