BYU student wins prestigious opera award


A BYU vocal performance major sang her way to the top in a nationwide competition with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

Rebecca Pedersen, a sophomore from Bountiful, entered into the competition with high hopes but no expectations. Pedersen had been working on her arias for months in preparation for the event. After four rounds, her hard work paid off.

The first round took place in Salt Lake City in January. From there, Pedersen won the Denver Regionals. She, along with 19 other finalists, were invited to New York City for the semi-finals at The Met where 10 finalists competed in the final round. Pederson and five other contestants won the final prize and were awarded $15,000.

1303-21 005Winning such a prestigious award was a surprised to Pedersen as she has only taken vocal lessons for about three years. BYU played a big role in her decision to pursue a career in opera. Pedersen and her mother came to a performance at BYU where she was first introduced to classical music.

“That is when I realized that I wanted to do this as a career,” Pedersen said. “I remember leaning over to my mom–who dragged me to this concert–and said, ‘I want to try that.'”

Her mother did not take the statement lightly and provided opportunities for her to prove her desire to pursue music.

“My mom made me prove it by listening to classical music and studying theory,” Pedersen said.

Pedersen mentioned that school took a back seat during the competition.

“During the weeks of the competition, I was basically in hyper drive trying to cram in every bit of feedback from the judges,” she said. “It was a lot of work so school did get neglected.”

After this accomplishment, Pedersen is positive this is the career path for her.

“I’m going to finish my degree in the next two years and then I plan to audition for the Met in two years along with various other opera houses. I have worked hard to stay in contact with my friends at the Met so when I come back in two years, I won’t be forgotten.”

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