BOUNTIFUL — She’s sung at the Metropolitan Opera and the Lincoln Center in New York, but Davis County residents will get the chance to hear her much closer to home.
Rebecca Pedersen, one of the youngest winners ever of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition, will be performing a fundraising concert at the Bountiful Davis Art Center on Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. Pedersen, a Bountiful native, will be heading to Juilliard to begin her Master of Music program.
“I am very scared,” said Pedersen of going to Juilliard. “All my family is here and I’m a homebody, but we have to take risks in going for our dreams. Julliard is one of the best music arts schools in the world, so I am working hard now in preparing.”
Then she laughed. “Luckily for me I’ve worked in NYC enough that I know the city, and more importantly know how the subway works.”
Pedersen, who graduated from BYU in 2016 with a degree in Vocal Performance, said she was first drawn to singing and opera by a Renee Fleming CD her mother bought her when she was 15. Though she didn’t open it at first, eventually she got sick of the Hilary Duff CD she’d been listening to and put Fleming in.
“It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and I just sang with her over and over on the CD even though I didn’t know what language she was singing in,” said Pedersen. “I’m sure I annoyed my siblings because at that point I couldn’t hit the high notes.”
In 2013, Pedersen auditioned and won through district, regional and semi-final auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Eventually, she was chosen one of six winners in the entire U.S. Of her performance in the finals, the New York Times described her as a “precociously polished 21-year-old soprano who sounded particularly alluring.”
“My favorite thing about singing is the physicality of it,” she said. “It takes a great deal of strength to sing opera, muscles have to be strong yet fluid. It’s a wonderful feeling to pour all your emotions out onto the stage like that.”
In 2014, Pedersen won the Licia-Albanese Puccini Vocal Competition in New York City, where the first prize included cash and the opportunity to perform in the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. She’s also the time winner of the Utah Symphony Salute to Youth Competition, the third place winner of the International Gerda Lissner Competition, and a grant winner in the prestigious George London Competition.
Despite these successes, there have been plenty of challenges as well.
“The hardest part is not feeling good enough,” she said. “As a result, for me, it has made me make mistakes both musically and professionally because the fear of not being good enough is where my mental focus would go. I was so scared of making a mistake that I would make the mistake just because that’s where my focus was. Right now, I’m learning to stay focused and just tell a story through song.”
She’s also looking toward the future.
“I’ve had an interesting ride as a musician,” she said. “I had success very early, and I got burnt out and nearly quit singing. Right now I am rekindling the dream of being an opera star. I want to touch and help people’s lives, and I’m open to whatever destiny has in store.”
Tickets to the concert are $20, and can be purchased online at eventbrite.com/e/rebecca-pedersen-juilliard-benefit-concert-tickets-36845191961. The Bountiful Davis Art Center is located at 90 N. Main Street in Bountiful.