Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year Competition 


This year's competition was held on Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, 2020, at First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport. From an applicant pool of 150+, 26 young opera singers from across the U.S. were invited to compete for the title of Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year. The total prizes awarded total over $20,000, with the contestant awarded the Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year title taking home the $10,000 grand prize! 


Due to Covid-19, the 2021 Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year competition is currently on hold. Please continue to check this website or for updated information.

If you need additional information, please email our General & Artistic Director, Steve Aiken  at

After two days of competition in 2020, Leia Lensing, mezzo-soprano, walked away with the grand prize and title,

2020 Singer of the Year. 

For a complete list of winners and photographs, click here.


Leia Lensing, mezzo-soprano, is the 2020 Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year! Mary's daughter Mary N. Smith was unable to attend this year's ceremony, but friend Ginger Flournoy presented the award on her behalf. 

All finalists for 2020 Singer of the Year with the judges and pianists 

About Singer of the Year

Annually, Shreveport Opera hosts The Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year Competition, Shreveport's only national singing competition. Opera singers from across the country travel to Shreveport seeking the title of Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year, as well as the financial award that accompanies the title. Over the years, competitors have been seen and heard on some of the most famous opera houses in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Chicago Lyric, Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera.


Roughly 150 singers go through the preliminary application process of the competition.  After careful review and adjudication of each and every applicant,  which is based on submitted recordings from each applicant, between 20-30 singers are selected to participate in the semifinals in Shreveport. Judges, who are invited to participate from opera companies across the country, hear all of the remaining applicants on Saturday and determine the finalists. Those finalists then compete in the Finalists' Competition and Concert on Sunday.