The Connecticut Alliance and the Westport Arts Center will sponsor the 41st annual Heida Hermanns International Voice Competition on Saturday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 2. The two-day event, featuring young musicians from around the world, will take place at Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Ave.

The bi-annual competition is named for the late Heida Hermanns, a concert pianist and music lover who lived in Westport for more than 40 years, according to a release. It offers vocalists, ages 19 to 35, an opportunity to compete for cash prizes -- first prize, $5,000; second prize, $2,500; third prize, $1,500, and honorable mention, $500.

Audition CDs for the contest are received from students and alumni from music schools worldwide, the release states. A jury of professional musicians will select about 15 semifinalists from the applicants to compete in the competition.

The semifinals, free and open to the public, are slated for 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, during which competitors will give 20-minute performances before a panel of professional judges. At the end of the day, judges will select those who will move on to the finals concert from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. Finalists will each perform a program selected by the judges to demonstrate musical virtuosity and skill. After the performances, the audience will be invited to a reception while the judges determine the top three winners.

The panel of judges will be comprised of Bruno Amato, Anton Coppola, Ronald Naldi and Olga Sambuco.

Amato received a bachelor of music degree from Hartt College of Music, a master's of music from Manhattan School of Music, and a doctorate from Princeton University, the release states. He has taught at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

Coppola has conducted many of the major opera companies in the United States and Canada, including the New York City Opera. He was the director of both the symphony and opera departments at the Manhattan School of Music and is the recipient of two honorary doctorates.

Naldi, a lyric tenor, has brought his art to the Metropolitan Opera as well as many other opera companies, festivals and symphony orchestras. He has bachelor's of music and master's of music degrees in voice from Indiana University and was a Fulbright scholar in Rome, the release states.

Sambuco, soprano, was a scholarship student at the Juilliard School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, and received a doctorate at Indiana University. She teaches and performs throughout Connecticut and the East Coast.

Tickets to the Sunday finals are $20 for adults, free for ages 18 and younger.

For information and tickets, call the Westport Arts Center at 203-222-7070, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday or visit