Operalia 2014 Winners Announced
Last night, after a week of competition that brought 40 young singers from 17 nations to Los Angeles, Plácido Domingo announced that Rachel Willis-Sørensen, an American soprano, and Mario Chang, a Guatemalan tenor, took the top prizes tonight in the 22nd edition of Operalia, the World Opera Competition. Hosted by LA Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the weeklong contest culminated tonight in a Gala Finals Concert-featuring the LA Opera Orchestra conducted by Mr. Domingo at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion-which was streamed live on Medici TV.
The complete competition results of Operalia 2014:
Two first prizes of $30,000: Rachel Willis-Sørensen and Mario Chang
Two second prizes of $20,000: Amanda Woodbury and Joshua Guerrero
Four third prizes of $10,000: Anaïs Constans and Mariangela Sicilia (tie);
John Holiday and Andrey Nemzer (tie)
The Birgit Nilsson Prize (for Wagner/Strauss repertoire): Rachel Willis-Sørensen
The Pepita Embil Domingo Zarzuela Prize of $10,000: Rachel Willis-Sørensen
The Don Placido Domingo, Sr., Zarzuela Prize of $10,000: Mario Chang
Two Audience Prizes, watches offered by Rolex: Amanda Woodbury and Mario Chang
The CulturArte Prize of $10,000: Joshua Guerrero
Soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen has appeared with the Semperoper Dresden in roles including Mimi in La Bohème, Hanna in The Merry Widow and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. She has appeared with Covent Garden as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro and Gutrune in Götterdämmerung and with Houston Grand Opera as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She debuted with the LA Phil in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. She is an alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program. Future engagements include leading roles at Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera and the Vienna State Opera.
Tenor Mario Chang recently completed his third year with the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera, where his roles include the Italian Singer in Der Rosenkavalier. Recent highlights include a concert in Puerto Rico with Teatro de la Opera, the Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites with the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, his Carnegie Hall debut with the Musical Olympus Foundation, and his debut with the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne. Other recent operatic performances include Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Teatro Lirico d'Europa and Fritz in L'Amico Fritz with Miami Lyric Opera.
Tonight's competition included the following program performed by the finalists:
Rachel Willis-Sørensen (soprano, USA, 30)
"Dich, teure Halle" from Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser
Andrey Nemzer (countertenor, Russia, 31)
"Chudny son zhivoy lubvi" from Mikhail Glinka's Ruslan and Lyudmila
Anaïs Constans (soprano, France, 26)
"O quante volte ti chiedo" from Vincenzo Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi
Yi Li (tenor, China, 30)
"Pourquoi me réveiller" from Jules Massenet's Werther
Alisa Kolosova (mezzo-soprano, Russia, 27)
"Cruda sorte" from Gioachino Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri
Mario Chang (tenor, Guatemala, 28)
"Ella mi fu rapita" from Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto
Mariangela Sicilia (soprano, Italy, 28)
"Amour, ranime mon courage" from Charles Gounod's Roméo et Juliette
Christina Poulitsi (soprano, Greece, 31) "Ah, non credea mirarti" from Vincenzo Bellini's La Sonnambula
Abdellah Lasri (tenor, Morocco, 32) "Ah ! Fuyez, douce image" from Jules Massenet's Manon
Carol Garcia (mezzo-soprano, Spain, 30) "Nacqui all'affanno" from Gioachino Rossini's La Cenerentola
Joshua Guerrero (tenor, USA/Mexico, 31) "Torna ai felici di" from Giacomo Puccini's Le Villi
Amanda Woodbury (soprano, USA, 26) "A vos jeux, mes amis" from Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet
John Holiday (countertenor, USA, 29) "Crude furie" from George Frideric Händel's Serse
Five finalists also performed the following selections for the Operalia zarzuela competition:
Abdellah Lasri (tenor, Morocco, 32) "Por el humo se sabe donde está el fuego" from Amadeo Vives' Doña Francisquita
Anaïs Constans (soprano, France, 26) "De España vengo" from Pablo Luna's El niño judío
Mario Chang (tenor, Guatemala, 28) "No puede ser" from Pablo Sorozábal's La tabernera del puerto
Rachel Willis-Sørensen (soprano, USA, 30) "Tres horas antes del día" from Frederico Moreno Torroba's La marchenera
Joshua Guerrero (tenor, USA/Mexico, 31) "De este apacible rincón de Madrid" from Frederico Moreno Torroba's Luisa Fernanda
Operalia 2014 Contestants and Jury
For a complete list of the 40 singers chosen to compete in Operalia and the 14 jury members who judged the competition, please click here for a Word document or here for a PDF.
Each year, the competition receives close to 1,000 applications. Of these, 40 young international competitors of all voice ranges are selected to be flown to the host city. After two days of preliminary rounds, 20 are chosen to continue in the semifinals. Only ten singers reach the final round, which is presented as a Gala Finals Concert with orchestra conducted by Plácido Domingo. Supervised by Mr. Domingo as a non-voting member, an international panel of judges-including managers and casting directors from the world's great opera houses-selects the winners of the competition.
Operalia was founded by Plácido Domingo in 1993. His goal is to attract singers from every corner of the world and have them audition for a very significant group of well-established international opera impresarios and casting directors in the utmost prestigious and competitive showcase in the world. Although he does not vote himself, he oversees the proceedings and is committed to offering artistic and career advice to all of the participants. Participating or even winning a prize in this competition is only the beginning of a singer's relationship with Mr. Domingo and Operalia. Since the distinguished jury is primarily comprised of general directors or casting directors from important international opera houses, some singers frequently also depart with potential engagements and contracts to perform in some of these opera houses' productions.
Previous winners include many stars currently appearing on opera stages around the world: René Barbera, Joseph Calleja, José Cura, Joyce DiDonato, Elizabeth Futral, He Hui, Ana María Martínez, Ryan McKinny, Lisette Oropesa, Eric Owens, Ailyn Perez, Erwin Schrott, Nina Stemme, Rolando Villazón, Pretty Yende and Sonya Yoncheva, among many others.
Committed to excellence, elegance and consistency, Rolex is once again proud to present Plácido Domingo's Operalia, the World Opera Competition, marking its 13th consecutive collaboration this year.
For more information about Operalia, please visit www.OperaliaCompetition.org.
Operalia Photo Gallery
For press photos of the competition, please click here. (Photos will be added as they become available.)
Rolex is the Presenting Sponsor of Operalia and the Official Timepiece of LA Opera