Cullen Gandy was one of our first winners, passing on to the Region Finals in November 2011. The tenor, originally from Atlanta, Georgia has been part of several young artist programs since then. He has been a young artist at Virginia Opera (where he sang Ralph Jackstraw) and twice at Santa Fe Opera (in 2013 and 2015). He recently also made his LA Opera debut in a small role singing opposite Renee Fleming in A Streetcar Named Desire.
If you want to see Cullen perform next, you will have to head to Wichita, KS in October. Cullen will be playing the leading role, Fritz, in Wichita Grand Opera's production of The Grande Duchess of Gerolstein. After that, he will be singing a Beethoven's 9th in Iowa.
Opera Idols: How has participating in the National Council Auditions influenced your career?
Cullen Gandy: Winning the New York District gave me a sense of validation that I had needed for quite a long time; this helped bolster me to continue working and refining my methods, it has added a great accolade which has gone towards consideration for a number of better auditions.
OI: What advice would you give to this year's singers?
CG: Just do your best and learn from the process. Competing puts all of the work that you have done into practice; it’s a wonderful opportunity to be seen and heard by a community in the know.