Announcing our 2019 Slate of Preliminary-Round Judges

The Jensen Foundation recruits a talented and tireless group of opera professionals who hear the 100+ singers awarded auditions for the competition each year. These folks share the exciting and difficult responsibility of choosing performers for the Finals. Meet the singers and teachers who will be our Preliminary Judges for the 2019 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition.


Kirsten Chambers, soprano, has portrayed the title role of Salome at the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Hong Kong, and Florida Grand Opera. Her Carnegie Hall debut was Maria in Richard Strauss’ Friedenstag with the American Symphony Orchestra. She joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in Tristan und Isolde and will rejoin the Metropolitan Opera roster next season for Die Walküre. She made her European debut with the Savonlinna Opera Festival as Elsa in Lohengrin, a role she also performed with Opéra de Rennes and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Upcoming in Boston is a debut of her favorite Strauss role, Die Ägyptische Helena. Ms. Chambers earned degrees from Illinois Wesleyan University and the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. Visit her website to learn more.


R. Benjamin Leaptrott, Jr. is assistant professor of music with a specialty in collaborative arts at Brenau University and also an Artist in Residence at Brenau with The Leaptrott Trio. He is an active recitalist, vocal coach, and accompanist, serving as accompanist for the district and regional Metropolitan Opera Auditions. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from East Carolina University, a Masters of Music Degree from Eastman School of Music, and a Solo Diploma from Sweelinck Academy at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Mr. Leaptrott is Vice President of the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation.


Oliver Worthington, baritone, is an assistant professor of music at Butler University and will also teach at Opera Viva in Verona, Italy in the summer of 2019. He has performed extensively as an opera singer, oratorio soloist, and recitalist, appearing with San Antonio Opera, San Antonio Symphony, Austin Opera, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, among others. Dr. Worthington maintains a full schedule as an educator and performer and serves as the President of The Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation.