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Operalia, Placido Domingo's World Opera Competition, Comes To Portugal For The First Time


OPERALIA, the international Opera competition founded by Plácido Domingo in 1993, will be presented in Portugal for the very first time this summer. The competition will take place at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, which is located in the historical center of Lisbon's Chiado District since its inauguration in 1793. A theatre of extraordinary architectural value and beauty, São Carlos has enjoyed a long prestigious history interrupted only by the Portuguese Civil War of the 19th Century and the repairs it sustained in the 1930s. It has welcomed numerous notable International Artists, including Maria Callas, Alfredo Kraus, Monserrat Caballé and Plácido Domingo, who made his debut in Lisbon in the title role of Verdi's Otello in 1989. The Teatro Nacional de São Carlos now welcomes the 26th Edition of the prestigious OPERALIA competition from August 27th to September 2nd, 2018. The competition will feature 40 competitors from 24 different countries, including two Portuguese singers.

OPERALIA has been searching for the new generations of young talented opera singers for more that 25 years. The first Edition was held in Paris in 1993, and has since traveled across the globe to cities like Mexico City, Madrid, Bordeaux, Tokyo, Hamburg, Quebec, Budapest, Milan, Moscow, Beijing, Verona, Los Angeles, London and Guadalajara, among others. Last year, OPERALIA was hosted by the magnificent Astana Opera in Kazakhstan, one of the youngest Opera houses in the world with only a 3 year history.

The worldwide competition has already served as a launching platform for many world-renowned artists. The long list of artists who have won OPERALIA awards undoubtedly attests to its success in discovering, nurturing and launching the careers of great and talented artists. Some of the winners who have firmly established themselves in the world of opera include the great Swedish soprano Nina Stemme, the enchanting mezzo-soprano from the United States, Joyce DiDonato, the Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja, Puerto-Rican soprano Ana María Martínez, the Mexican tenors Rolando Villazón and Arturo Chacón-Cruz and of course, one of today's most sought-after soprano from Bulgaria, Sonya Yoncheva.

Operalia draws singers from around the world, ranging in ages from 18 to 32, in all the voice categories; so they may be heard by a panel of judges formed by distinguished international opera artistic administrators and casting directors. Hundreds of eager applicants submit their applications every year, out of which only 40 are chosen to compete before a jury of 13 industry professionals, such as Jonathan Friend, Peter Katona and Joan Matabosch, Artistic Administrator of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, Casting Director of the Royal Opera House in London, and the Artistic Director of the Teatro Real in Madrid, respectively. (British Stage Director and current Artistic Director of the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos Patrick Dickie will join the Jury on this Edition.)

The 40 contestants this year come from 24 different countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Germany, Portugal, South Africa and the US. The group is prominently formed by mezzo-sopranos and tenors, with a solid representation of sopranos and baritones. Two basses and two bass-baritones complete the roster.

The Jury, presided by Plácido Domingo as a non-voting mediator, will gather in Lisbon to listen to the 40 singers during the two days of the quarterfinals, followed by a semifinal of the passing 20 contestants. The number will then be reduced to ten finalists who will compete at the Finals Concert held at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, accompanied by the Portuguese Symphonic Orchestra on what will be a fitting celebration of its 25th anniversary. The Finals Concert will be held on September 2nd and will be conducted by Maestro Plácido Domingo.

Rolex is once again proud to present OPERALIA, the World Opera Competition, for the 17th consecutive year, perpetuating its commitment to the arts. Plácido Domingo has been a Rolex Testimonee since 1982, and Rolex is delighted to extend its support to the exceptionally gifted young performers who share its quest for excellence and perfection.

Tickets to the Finals Concert will be put on sale at 1pm GMT on Thursday 7 June. They will be available online at and at Teatro Nacional de São Carlos's Box Office.

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