From Development server
25 July 2016

French Soprano Elsa Dreisig and South Korean Tenor Keonwoo Kim Win Top Prizes in Plácido Domingo's Operalia Competition 

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Brownlee, Ryan, Volkov, Kulchynska, Costa-Jackson, Stikhina, Plácido Domingo, Dreisig, Kim, Lahaj and Heredia at the twenty-fourth edition of Operalia in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

FRENCH SOPRANO Elsa Dreisig and South Korean tenor Keonwoo Kim have both won first prizes in Operalia, Plácido Domingo’s annual opera competition, which had its final round at Guadalajara, Mexico’s Teatro Degollado on Sunday night.

Dreisig and Kim, who each won $30,000 prizes, were two of twelve singers to enter the competition’s final round, which featured singers’ performing alongside the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Plácido Domingo. American-Italian soprano Marina Costa-Jackson and Russian tenor Bogdan Volkov both took $20,000 second prizes; Ukranian soprano Olga Kulchynska and Kosovar tenor Rame Lahaj took the competition’s $10,000 third prizes. 

American tenor Brenton Ryan, who sang Loge’s monologue from Das Rheingold in the competition’s semi-finals round, was the only singer to be awarded Operalia’s $15,000 Birgit Nilsson prize, which annually goes to a singer who performs repertoire by Richard Strauss or Wagner. Russian soprano Elena Stikhina was awarded the $10,000 CulturArte prize, chosen and offered by Bertita and Guillermo Martinez from CulturArte de Puerto Rico.

Operalia’s audience prizes—two Rolex watches conferred to singers by the audience in attendance—went to Kim and Stikhina. The competition’s Zarzuela prizes—named in honor of Plácido Domingo’s parents—went to three singers instead of the usual two: both Mexican baritone Juan Carlos Heredia and American bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee took home Don Plácido Domingo Ferrer prizes, which carry $10,000 awards; soprano Marina Costa-Jackson received the $10,000 Pepita Embil prize. 

The competition portion of Sunday’s finals concert was preceded by a performance of Lucia di Lammermoor’s mad scene sung by South Korean soprano Hyesang Park, who received the second prize and the Zarzuela prize at Operalia in 2015. Park’s performance was in tribute to Mexican soprano Angela Peralta (1845-83), who sang Lucia in the inaugural performance of the Teatro Alarcon (now the Teatro Degollado) in 1866.

Founded in 1993 by Domingo to discover and launch the careers of young singers of every voice type from every country, Operalia annually receives some 1,000 applications. A jury of three opera professionals assesses every recording, and the top forty singers are invited to participate in the competition, which annually takes place in a different international host city. This year’s Operalia—the twenty-fourth edition of the annual competition—was adjudicated by a jury of ten opera experts.

Sunday’s finals concert was live streamed by and was shown in selected movie theaters in Mexico. spacer 

More information can be found at Operalia.

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