Anthony León ’21 MM wins 2023 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition

Anthony Leon sings on Jordan Hall stage with the orchestra in the background
Anthony León ’21 MM performs during a dress rehearsal on the Jordan Hall stage at NEC.
Tenor Anthony Leon puts his hand on his jawbone while NEC voice faculty Bradley Williams looks on and smiles
Anthony Léon in a studio lesson with NEC Voice department chair Bradley Williams.

Tenor Anthony León ’21 MM has won the 2023 Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition.

Anthony was named one of six first prize winners after performing on the Met Opera stage as the culmination of a full season of competitions at the district, regional, and national levels. Each winner receives a $20,000 cash prize. León specifically received the Alton E. Peters Award from the Metropolitan Opera Guild.

The Laffont Competition — known previously as the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions — is now in its 69th year, and is designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers.

While earning his Master of Music at NEC and an additional year of Artist Diploma study, Anthony studied with Voice Department Chair Bradley Williams and won the noted Wendy Shattuck ’75 Presidential Scholarship Fund for Vocal Studies.

The teacher-student relationship Anthony and Bradley shared was pivotal to Anthony’s career as a rising tenor.

I realized that the best teacher and the best program with the people that cared for me the most was going to be at NEC. Not only do we get amazing training—perhaps the best training around—but the teachers really care. They’re thinking about you as the artist; you as the artist in training. I’m so grateful for how generous they’ve been with me,” said León.

Williams added, “Anthony is going to go on and have a very long, fruitful, and lucrative international career singing opera, concerts, and crossover. He’s the quintessential 21st-century artist who has developed the skill sets to leverage technology to his advantage and adapt to ever-changing conditions in the industry. Anthony is a model for how to succeed in today’s music world. He has the talent, but even more importantly, he has done the work necessary to achieve his goals, and he loves the process.” 

Opera Studies at NEC is a trailblazing program preparing young musicians for successful music careers through a rigorous, well-rounded curriculum taught by world-class faculty members and a multitude of performance opportunities.

NEC also congratulates tenor and alumnus Yuntong Han ‘21, student of MaryAnn McCormick, for advancing to the finals, and current student Hyungjin Son ’24 MM, student of Bradley Williams, for advancing to the semifinals of this year's competition.

The 2023 Laffont Competition winners are Anthony León, Tenor; Teresa Perrotta, Soprano; Natalie Lewis, Mezzo-Soprano; Sarah Saturnino, Mezzo-Soprano; Meredith Wohlgemuth, Soprano; and Christian Simmons, Bass-Baritone:

Six singers in tuxedos and gowns smile on the Met Opera stage

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Past NEC students, alumni, and faculty members to win the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition finals include:

Michelle Johnson, 2011

Claudia Huckle, 2005

Barbara Quintiliani, 1999

Lisa Saffer, 1984

Former NEC faculty, Vincent Cole, 1977

Justino Diaz, 1963

Junetta Jones, 1963

Ronald Holgate, 1959

More recently, Erica Petrocelli ’14, ’16 MM, ’18 AD was a semifinalist in 2021, Philippe R. L'Esperance, Jr. '22 AD was a District winner and regional finalist in 2022, and Allyson Bennett ’20, ’22 MM, ’24 AD was Boston District Winner in 2021 and 2022.

More about past NEC winners of the Laffont Competition