International vocal competition results round-up
12 September 2013
Russian soprano Aida Garifullina and Chinese bass-baritone Ao Li© Photo Ennevi
Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition takes place in a different country each year. In 2013 it was Verona’s turn, coinciding not only with Verdi’s birth bicentenary but also the centenary of the city’s summer opera festival, with Domingo at the helm for the celebrations.
The joint first prize winners of Operalia 2013 are Russian soprano Aida Garifullina and Chinese bass-baritone Ao Li. Each took home US$30,000 in prize money, and will receive future opportunities to perform worldwide through recommendations made personally by Domingo.
Oslo’s Queen Sonja International Music Competition has also been won by a Russian soprano. Kristina Mkhitaryan, who is a graduate of Moscow’s Galina Vishnevskaya Theatre Studio and the Russian Gnesin Academy of Music, came out top in a field of 211 singers from 47 countries. The competition’s international jury, chaired by Sophie de Lint of Zurich Opera, included singers Dame Felicity Palmer, Carol Vaness and Wolfgang Holzmair, plus key industry figures from the UK and Scandinavia.
The first-prize in this year’s Les Azuriales Young Singers’ Competition was awarded last month to the American-Korean countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim. Kim impressed the judges with a unique voice that is vibrant and resonant throughout its countertenor range. With his striking stage presence and an especially beautiful, well-controlled high register, Kim has been earmarked for a big career on the international opera stage. Aged just 24, Kim was born in Chicago and is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Now in its third year, NI Opera’s Festival of Voice is held in the charming village of Glenarm on the Northern Irish coast. The Festival includes a competition for Irish singers, presented by BBC Radio 3’s Sean Rafferty. The winner of this year’s competition has been named as Sinéad O’Kelly, a Belfast-born soprano who is currently studying at London’s Royal College of Music. Her winning programme featured arias and songs by Donizetti, Bizet, Monteverdi, Fauré and Barber.